Uniroyal Giant Tire
|Uniroyal Giant Tire|
The US Royal Giant Tire Ferris Wheel at the 1964 New York World's Fair
|Location||1964–65: New York World's Fair
since 1966: Allen Park, Michigan
|Owner||since 1990: Michelin|
The Uniroyal Giant Tire was created by the Uniroyal Tire Company for the 1964 New York World's Fair, where it functioned as a Ferris wheel. Since 1966 it has served as a static display at Allen Park, Michigan, alongside Interstate 94, near Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
The exterior tire tread is 6 inches (15 cm) deep, with an interior volume of 120,576 cubic feet (3,414.3 m3). It is not made of rubber, but of a Uniroyal-developed polyester resin reinforced with glass fiber, which makes it flame resistant.
The Giant Tire was first created as a Ferris wheel for the 1964 New York World's Fair in Flushing, Queens, NY. Located on Grand Central Parkway next to the Transportation and Travel Pavillion ( ) and now part of the Queens Zoo, it was originally emblazoned "U S ROYAL TIRES". Designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, the same architectural firm that designed the Empire State Building, the wheel carried over 2 million people, including prominent passengers such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Telly Savalas, and the Shah of Iran. It had 24 barrel-shaped gondolas, each carrying up to 4 people, and could carry up to 96 passengers. It was driven by a 100 hp engine.
When the fair ended in 1965, the tire was disassembled and shipped by rail to Detroit, where it was reassembled in 1966 as a static display without its passenger gondolas outside a Uniroyal sales office. Later, the sales office moved but the tire remained, becoming an icon of Detroit's industrial power. Today it still stands tall as a symbol of Uniroyal's heritage and a Detroit landmark.
Michelin completed its purchase of the Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Company in 1990, and in 1994 announced plans to renovate the landmark, including a new hubcap and the addition of neon lights for the UNIROYAL lettering. The tire's fiberglass cover was cleaned, painted, and modernized with a new sleek look.
In 1998, a giant 11-foot (3.4 m) nail weighing 250 pounds (110 kg). was placed in its tread as a promotion for Uniroyal's new NailGard puncture resistant tire. The nail was removed in 2003 and was donated to the city of Allen Park, to be auctioned on eBay to raise funds for the Allen Park Historical Society programs and facilities.
In 2003 the Giant Tire was renovated as part of Detroit's I-94 corridor revitalization project. The US$1,000,000 work included the replacement of 30 interior steel beams, asphalt and storm drain installation, and the replacement of the neon lettering with reflective lettering.
- "About the Uniroyal Giant Tire" (PDF). Uniroyal Tires.
- "Renovations Begin on Uniroyal Giant Tire". Modern Tire Dealer. August 12, 2003. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- Baulch, Vivian M.; Zacharias, Patricia (February 26, 1997). "Detroit's giant stove and tire". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on March 6, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
- "Giant Tire". Uniroyal Tires. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- "Detroit's Giant Tire Getting a Facelift". WDIV-TV. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- "The Uniroyal Tire – Its Giant". WOMC-FM. March 28, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
- "Uniroyal Factsheet on Renovation" (PDF). Uniroyal Tires. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- Jones, Melissa (2005). Superlatives USA: The Largest, Smallest, Longest, Shortest, and Wackiest Sites in America. Capital Travels Books. Sterling, VA: Capital Books. ISBN 9781931868853.
- "Giant Uniroyal Tire Nail Up For Auction". WDIV-TV. October 20, 2003. Archived from the original on February 11, 2008.