Topic: Non-LeMons question about cramming wide tires on narrow rims
In addition to my 1964 Dodge Dart Racecar, I have a 1964 Dodge Dart parts car that has been reanimated as an "art car." One of the events where the Art Dart sees service requires some mild off-road driving, so I'm looking into getting some all-terrains or winter/snow tires just to make sure I don't get stuck in the mud.
The problem? The bolt pattern is old-fashioned Mopar 5 x 4", and I have no desire to spend significant time or money changing that fact. The biggest wheels I could get cheaply are 14 x 4.5". I also have no desire to spend real money on new wheels for this stupid project. (The same goes for adding a sure-grip rear end, obviously.)
Now, there are some A/T tires in 14", but nothing that is recommended for such a narrow wheel. Tire Rack appears to recommend nothing wider than a 185 section width for this wheel size. (The original tire size for this car with 14" wheels was a bias ply approximately equivalent to 185-70-14.) Winter tires are more available in narrower sizes, but even if I go with winter tires I'd like to get them as wide as possible to reduce the chances of having to dig this thing out while shuttling drunk hippies around.
So the question is how wide should I go before I start running into problems? If I can convince a tire shop to mount 205s on these wheels, how bad an idea is that? This car is not going to see any kind of cornering action, but am I risking a tire coming off the wheel on the highway if I go too wide? What about 195s? I figure if Tire Rack says they fit on a 5" wide wheel, a 4.5" wide wheel can't be too bad. So what's a reasonable cutoff?
Am I being stupid? Should I just get some 185-70 Firestone Winterforces and not worry about trying to optimize further?