You know that is going to stur things up because you are questioning what others are doing! Using plus size wheels is not a new thing, I have had 17" wheels for about 8 years and it was common years before that. I'll add a major point that has to be concidered and that is fewer and fewer factory tire size choices are being offered outside of speciality tire manufactures. It use to be you only had to pay excessive prices for old school bias-ply redlines that came on our old cars but now even a BFG TA is falling into the same status and in very limited sizes... Goodyear, BF Goodrich, Firestone have all but bailed on the classic car market.
Of course there is the fact that 17" wheels and short sidewalls out perform 14" and 15" wheels with 60 and 70 series sidewalls too...
Not really "questioning what others are doing"...just wanted to know the why
, Ryan pointed this out, as his car came with "LS discs and the original wheels were gone" when he got the car.
I know that the bigger wheel trend trend is not a new one, as pointed out by you, but was interested in what the allure was
in having them put on, and I guess the bigger ratio tire tends to better fill in the wheel cavities of the cars?
However your remark of the bigger tires "out perform the smaller wheels" comes at a cost.
There is a fair bit of discussion on the net, that explain... that with the bigger tires, you end up with a greater rotation mass, which can result in a decrease of acceleration. Some also felt that with the lower profiles there was increased spin, since there was less flex in the tire...something that dragsters know is a necessity.
Bigger wheels mean more weight, and some engineers felt that the stopping power would be adversely effected.
And as some had mentioned in their comments in the different sites, the further away from the centre of the axle can result in a poorer response in the steering, understeering for the most part... but this being more so in the +17" sizes.
It is true that with the shorter profiles, there will be less flex in a tire causing less lean, but the shorter profile results in a harsher ride, which if you have a stiff suspension already...you will really feel the bumps. A trade off for being able to corner better, but if keeping within the speed limits, does this really matter?
The wider width (footprint) will also mean increased contact with the pavement, but this again may affect milelage and not in a good way, and rubber compound/tread design seem to overhadow this variable.
I can see the advantages that you pointed out, but like most things in life, there's trade offs, eh?