Tech Tips: Wheels and Tires

Original steel wheels


  • Rims: 5×14”
  • Lug pattern (PCD): 5×5.5” / 5×139,7 mm
  • Center bore: 108 mm


  • All the same, but with wider 5½J×14” rims, ET 6 and no nubs for the dog dish style hubcaps (this model came with full wheel covers)

Original steel wheels are very tough and almost indestructible, no matter how bad they look, chances are very high that they still can be restored to “like new” condition by cold rolling (find a shop that works with truck wheels) and sandblasting. I recommend powder coating for the finish. Almost any shade of light beige would by historically correct (the original color could be described as “dirty white” and varied a lot); my personal preference is RAL 1013 Oyster White / Light Ivory. Some of the prototypes had black wheels (either with or without whitewall tires).

Be warned that the Volga wheels are Lug Centric (explanation) and are centered by the torque of the lug nuts, rather than the center bore of the wheel. In fact, you’ll find that the center bore is not even circular on some of the wheels, it can have an almost pentagonal shape ! That is because it is not designed to fit tightly on the wheel hub flange, and, therefore, does not need to be manufactured with precision.

These wheels cannot be accurately balanced with the center cone system (which has led to a myth that they cannot be accurately balanced at all, but that is not true), you’ll have to use the Lug Centric Mounting on the wheel balancer. The lug pattern is standard American 5×5.5″, as used on some older Ford, Jeep and Dodge trucks, so finding the suitable equipment should not be a problem.

In addition to the steel wheels, original GAZ alloy wheels existed, which look very much like the Lincoln “turbine-style” wheels. They have been produced in the 1990s and are a rarity today, but still can be found.

Original tires

  • GAZ-24: 7,35×14”, bias-ply; models I-146, ID-195, AID-23 (668 mm o/a diameter)
  • GAZ-24-10: 205/70 14″, radial; model ID-220 (643 mm o/a diameter)

Possible alternative tires (all radials)


  • 195/80 14″ – very similar to the original tires in size, but somewhat hard to find
  • 185/80 14″ – slightly smaller o/d than the original tires, but still ok
  • 195/75 14″ – similar to the previous
  • 205/70 14″ – may rub front suspension parts on some cars if mounted on wider 5.5″ rims, spacers required


  • 215/65 14″

The use of tubeless tires is strongly not recommended on the original wheels because the rims are not designed to properly keep such a tire in position (have no humps). Use a tube in a tubeless tire instead. Or, at least, sand-blast and properly paint the wheels to remove all rust and provide smooth rims for the tubeless tires to be mounted on.

Low profile 15 inch tires may be used together with GAZ-21 wheels which have the same bolt pattern.

Some US Ford and Dodge trucks also use wheels with the same bolt pattern, but these are not always compatible because of width, center bore diameter or offset. E.g., Cragar 315 & 330 style 14 & 15 inch chromed steel wheels originally made for GMC / Chevy trucks are known to fit the Volga suspension just perfectly.

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