If you're looking for an automotive tire with a little more pizzazz, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything but black; perhaps a streak or a logo, but the base color comes in black.
Not many people realize that tires were originally white, though. According to one history source, Joseph Binney founder of the Peekskill Chemical Company in 1864, who specialized in producing black and red colors and paints, helped change all that. (Ref: www.chevroncars.com)
The Peekskill chemists also succeeded in creating a darker color for a tire manufacturer using carbon black as an ingredient to the rubber, which not only achieved a darker tire, but one that lasted four to five times longer than white ones!
As someone might challenge that bit of history, simple fact is, the subject of tire color and customer choice has come up many times over the years. The auto industry somehow only dealt with tire color in the form of accents. For example, the entire auto industry went through the whitewall phase of tires in the 1950s. Then in the 1960s we found blue streaks, thin white streaks, even red strikes, but the those were still accents. Point is, the basic color of the tire was still black and has remained so to this very day.
According to an article in http://www.ChinaCarTimes.com , one company wondered why can’t we have red tires, pink tires, or fruity loopy colored tires. So, the board of the Qingdao based Double Star Tire Company over the past few years actually reacted to the suggestions, and now plans to make a series of colored tires.
So, think of tires in blues, red, greens, pink and yellows, plus some khaki colored ones for the military sorts or militia sorts that need to camouflage their vehicles.
Come to think of it, that makes perfect sense for the military. In fact, Double Star has already applied for patents for its Rainbow Tires, whereby they should be on the market very soon according to reports.
One comment noted that Michelin already created colored tires. Well, if they had, then they kept it out of the news, which makes another point. China is acting very American and very capitalistic with its ideas and marketing these days; actually bringing a refreshing level of “what-if” scenarios to automotive marketing in much the same way Google brings new media concepts to the world.
It was surprising that my own search on Google for colored tires did not show much beyond the original white, the carbon-black black and this China story. There were no American tire companies with colored options even mentioned. Neither was there anything obvious from Michelin.
According to another article in Autoweek dated March, 2011, Italian tiremaker Pirelli revealed the definitive identification method for its 2011 Formula One tires, with each type of tire represented by a different colored logo. That still relegates colors to logos, not the base color.
There were, however, a number of web articles on airless tires, whereby the structure of the tire negated the need. Which is more important, color or airless structure? You tell me.
UPDATE 12/07/2011: TorqueNews writer, Adam Yamada-Hanff, just added this article on the non-pneumatic tires: Bridgestone introduces airless tires
About the Reporter: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks, futures and writes articles, books and ebooks like, "Perfecting Corporate Character," "Awaken Your Speculator Mind", and "Millennial World Order" via authorfrank.com. He may be contacted here by email: [email protected] and followed in Twitter under @Authorfranks
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