Uniroyal Giant Tire

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Uniroyal Giant Tire
Uniroyal Giant Tire
The US Royal Giant Tire Ferris Wheel at the 1964 New York World's Fair
General information
Location1964–1965: New York World's Fair
since 1966: Allen Park, Michigan
CountryUnited States
Coordinates1964–1965: 40°44′42″N 73°50′53″W / 40.74500°N 73.84808°W / 40.74500; -73.84808
since 1966: 42°16′14″N 83°12′33″W / 42.27055°N 83.20905°W / 42.27055; -83.20905Coordinates: 42°16′14″N 83°12′33″W / 42.27055°N 83.20905°W / 42.27055; -83.20905
Owner1964–1990: United States Rubber Company
1990–present: Michelin

The Uniroyal Giant Tire was created by the United States Rubber 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 in Allen Park, Michigan, alongside Interstate 94, between the Southfield Freeway interchange and Outer Drive overpass.


Along Interstate 94 in Allen Park, Michigan, early 2000s

Conflicting reports credit the structure as being 80 feet (24.4 m),[1] 83 feet (25.3 m),[2] and 86 feet (26.2 m) tall.[3]

It weighs 12 short tons (11 t),[1] is anchored in 24 feet (7.3 m) of concrete and steel, and can withstand hurricane-force winds.[2]

The exterior tire tread is 6 inches (15 cm) deep, with an interior volume of 120,576 cubic feet (3,414.3 m3).[1] It is not made of rubber, but of a Uniroyal-developed polyester resin reinforced with glass fiber, which makes it flame resistant.[2]

It is the largest non-production tire scale model ever built, and one of the world's largest roadside attractions.[1]


The Big 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 Pavilion[4] 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.[3] It had 24 barrel-shaped gondolas, each carrying up to 4 people,[5] and could carry up to 96 passengers. It was driven by a 100 hp engine.[6]

When the fair ended in 1965, the tire was disassembled and shipped to Detroit via 22 trucks[7], where it was reassembled without its passenger gondolas in 1966 as a static display 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.[2][3]

On May 20, 2015, Uniroyal staged an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the tire for members of the Automotive Press Association and other guests, who toured its interior.[5]


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.[8] The tire's fiberglass cover was cleaned, painted, and modernized with a new sleek look.[3]

In 1998, a giant 11-foot (3.4 m) nail weighing 250 pounds (110 kg).[9] was placed in its tread as a promotion for Uniroyal's new NailGard puncture resistant tire.[10] 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.[11]

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.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d "About the Uniroyal Giant Tire" (PDF). Uniroyal Tires. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 30, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Renovations Begin on Uniroyal Giant Tire". Modern Tire Dealer. August 12, 2003. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d 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.
  4. ^ Transportation and Travel Pavilion
  5. ^ a b "Giant Tire". Uniroyal Tires. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  6. ^ "Detroit's Giant Tire Getting a Facelift". WDIV-TV. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
  7. ^ "Detroit Free Press".
  8. ^ "Photo Of The Day – The Uniroyal Tire – It's Giant". WOMC-FM. March 28, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  9. ^ a b "Uniroyal Factsheet on Renovation" (PDF). Uniroyal Tires. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  10. ^ Jones, Melissa (2005). Superlatives USA: The Largest, Smallest, Longest, Shortest, and Wackiest Sites in America. Capital Travels Books. Sterling, VA: Capital Books. ISBN 9781931868853.
  11. ^ "Giant Uniroyal Tire Nail Up For Auction". WDIV-TV. October 20, 2003. Archived from the original on February 11, 2008.