A Choice of Rubber!

The tyre trade is one of significant proportions, as is obvious when the quantity required to supply car makers’ demands and for the replacement market is realised. If the choice of make is far less than in the vintage years, the publicity pressure has increased rather than diminished. Pirelli are back in F1 Grand Prix racing, in which field Goodyear had a monopoly, and proudly announce that Pirelli tyres are now fitted as original equipment to 340 different makes and models of cars made in Europe and Japan. The most popular Pirelli is now the P600, which dislodged the P6 which was a top-seller until it was replaced by the P600 over a year ago.

Pirelli also state that the demand for their low and ultra-low-profile radial-ply tyres has increased by 28% of all car models using these tyres as standard equipment, since 1989. New orders include a mix of P2000 and P4000 radials for the revised Alfa Romeo 33 range, the Rover 214 and 216 and the Lancia Dedra, while the Mazda RX-7, the first Japanese car to adopt Pirelli’s road-going ‘F1 ‘ tyres as original equipment, uses the P Zero and three Toyota models the P600.

Another tyre item is that World Sportscar Champion Derek Bell had BF Goodrich tyres on his Porsche 962C at Silverstone for the first time since he used this make of tyre to win, with Andretti and Wollek, last year’s Daytona 24-hour race. In case there is any confusion over Goodrich and Goodyear tyres, let it be said that in the days when there was an enormous choice of rubber available, say 70 years ago, both makes were well known in Great Britain, along with such tyres as Ajax, ARM, Avon — which remains an excellent choice for those who like to buy British — Bedlam, Bergougnan, Clincher, Dominion, Collier, Dunlop — still, of course, a factor to be reckoned with — Firestone, which for so many years had the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race monopoly, Gofa, Grimston, Henley, Hutchinson, Jeff, Kempshall, Keystone, Macintosh, Michelin, for so long the choice of discerning motorists and on which many prefer to motor in the 1990s, Midlands, Miller, Moseley, Palmer, whose cord tyres were favoured by many racing drivers in the early days at Brooklands, Partridge, Pirelli, Rapson, that unique double-tread tyre invented by Lionel Rapson and used in racing by Sunbeam, Parry Thomas, etc., Ripley, ROM, which in 1914 claimed to have helped a Warren Lambert to climb the notorious 1-in-2.5 Naileworth Ladder on its “Combination Non-Skid” tyres, Shrewsbury, Spencer-Moulton, Stepney, made by the get-you-home bolt-on spare wheel people, Victor and Wood-Milne. Choice indeed!