Uniroyal Giant Tire
|Uniroyal Giant Tire|
|Location||Allen Park, Michigan|
The Uniroyal Giant Tire was constructed by the Uniroyal Tire Company, and is the largest non-production tire scale model ever built. The tire resides on the list of the world's largest roadside attractions.
The giant tire serves as an iconic symbol in Michigan, and pays homage to the rich automotive heritage of Detroit. The tire is located in Allen Park along the Interstate 94 (I-94) corridor, near Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW).
The tire was first created as a Ferris wheel for the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair and was originally emblazoned "U S ROYAL TIRES". Designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, the same architectural firm that designed the Empire State Building, it 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 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. The tire is anchored in 24 feet (7.3 m) feet of concrete and steel and can withstand hurricane force winds. The tire is not made of actual rubber, but instead uses a Uniroyal-developed polyester resin reinforced with glass fiber, which makes the tire flame resistant. Today this tire still stands tall as an essential symbol of Uniroyal's heritage and to the city of Detroit.
In 1994, after Michelin bought Uniroyal-Goodrich, the company 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 thereby modernized with its 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 by Michelin, to be auctioned on eBay to raise funds for the Allen Park Historical Society programs and facilities.
In 2003, Uniroyal renovated the Giant Tire as part of Detroit's I-94 corridor revitalization project. The US$1,000,000 renovation 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. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- "Giant Tire". Uniroyal Tires. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- "Detroit's Giant Tire Getting a Facelift". Detroit: WDIV-TV. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- "The Uniroyal Tire – Its Giant". Detroit: 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". Detroit: WDIV-TV. October 20, 2003. Archived from the original on February 11, 2008.