Home Tires Why Goodyear’s Illuminated Tires Were Way Ahead of Their Time

Why Goodyear’s Illuminated Tires Were Way Ahead of Their Time


The Fifties and ’60s were time intervals that helped to persuade many Western humanities components: rapid meals, rock track, and, most significantly to us, automobiles. Americans took hobbies inside the motor as an extension ofof their character and modified them to be flashy and proper.

So while Ohio-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. started experimenting with “the tire of the day after today,” it changed into the most effective natural that intrigued the world by. William Larson, a chemist at Goodyear, labored collectively with fellow employee Anthony Finelli to create a polyurethane compound referred to as methane. This fabric allowed Goodyear to build a tubeless, cordless tire that can be dyed in a plethora of pigments.


The result changed into an expressively colored tire fitted to a wheel and providing an individuality accent. “Goodyear’s translucent tire can be produced in any shade to healthy the auto…Or perhaps the spouse’s new outfit,” Goodyear’s improvement manager John J. Hartz stated in 1962. ”Someday, a spouse may inform a husband: ‘Charlie, exit and exchange the tires. I’m wearing my blue get dressed this night.” But what, without a doubt, made the tire compound-specific became the capacity to allow light to skip through. Engineers geared up the tires with 18 mild bulbs wired into the middle of the wheel, developing an electroluminescent-like glow at the ground and inside the automobile’s wheel wells.

Goodyear paraded its tires around to seize public hobby. It positioned hard and fast purple tires on a Dodge Polara and drove it around downtown Miami. It did the equal in Manhattan with a Chrysler Silver three hundred; to Rockefeller, to Times Square, to the UN. Pedestrians were dumbfounded—after all, this was the ’60s. But the tires in no way formally went on sale. Instead, a local custom car builder who caught Goodyear’s eye changed accepting to own a hard and fast of tires. Meet Jim “Street” Skonzakes, the writer of the $ seventy-five 000 futuristic Golden Sahara II, who proudly displayed his car’s “glass tires.”

The public loved it. It changed into flashy and suited the ’50s styling sincerely flawlessly. What other automobile inside the period even had computerized braking? It changed into something out of a film…Because it turned into. 1960s comedy film Cinderfella featured the Golden Sahara II, albeit with whitewall tires. Over the years, the Golden Sahara II got here in difficult instances.

Its paint diminished, and portions of the car were held collectively with duct tape. When automobile museum Klairmont Kollections noticed that the rare commodity turned up for auction at Mecum, the $350,000 price factor felt like a dream come authentically. Eventually, the auto was despatched to Speakeasy Customs, who could repair the one-off artwork. As part of the restoration, Goodyear agreed to deliver four state-of-the-art translucent tires, and the completed undertaking made its manner to the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show.

At this point, you are possibly wondering what happened to the tires. If they had been so cool and properly received, why didn’t they appear on more cars? Aside from the price being the essential inhibitor (and, in the long run, what turned into liable for killing the mission), the tires were not precisely realistic. A few miles of road driving could render illumination useless, as avenue debris and wear might cover the artificial tires in soot. Then got here the protection troubles.

The compound no longer provided enough grip in rainy weather, nor did it preserve as much as hard braking due to the compound’s exceptionally low 250-diploma pouring temperature. Flat spots could have emerged as a massive hassle. So despite the call of the feature over the shape, the assignment did not come to fruition after ten years of development.