Tire Ads, Tire Prices, and Memories of an Old Friend

Bob Ulrich
Posted on December 8, 2016

How’s this for a blast from the past: While cleaning out my filing cabinets at home, I ran across an August 1995 edition of Motor Trend.

That magazine brought back plenty of memories for different reasons. Let’s start with the fun-part: advertising.

1. Yokohama Tire Corp. ran a full-page ad on its new flagship ultra-high performance tire, the Z-rated Nexus. Why Nexus? “Because ‘Thrill-A-Minute wouldn’t fit on the sidewall,” wrote the company.

2. When a Porsche owner decides to get serious, what tire does he or she buy? Why, the BFGoodrich T/A, of course, specifically the T/A ZR, according to the ad. “Probably there’s a car somewhere that you can’t improve on,” wrote Michelin North America Inc., which had purchased the brand in 1989. “But we haven’t found one yet that WE can’t improve on.” So much for the claim by today’s vehicle manufacturers that the original equipment tires on their cars are the best for their vehicles. Score one for the replacement market.

3. The Tire Rack ran three full pages of tire prices. I chose to look at comparative pricing for size 205/55ZR16 -- the first size listed -- and came up with these prices:

* The new-at-the-time Bridgestone Potenza S-02, $227.

* Dunlop SP Sport 8000, $152.

* Sumitomo HTR Z, $122.

* New Pirelli P6000 (W-rated), $192.

* Goodyear Eagle GS-C, $167.

* Michelin MXX 3, $215 (SX) and $222 (SXN1).

* Continental Sport Contact CZ91, $144.

4. Discount Tire Direct was still relatively new in 1995 (according to the book about Discount Tire CEO Bruce Halle, “Six Tires, No Plan,” by Michael Rosenbaum , the company’s telemarketing business, born of a failed buying club, had morphed into Discount Tire Direct by 1994). It advertised Pirelli pricing in its two-page spread, but only sold a few sizes of the new P6000, five to Tire Rack’s 22. The prices for the Goodyear Eagle GS-C and Dunlop SP Sport 8000 in size 205/55ZR16 were the same as in the Tire Rack ad.

5. The famous Pirelli “Power is nothing without control” tagline ran with a full-page photo of Olympic gold medal winner Carl Lewis. He wasn’t wearing the famous red pumps to enforce the tagline, but he was severely angled on the road in bare feet with the words “Pirelli Tires corner in ways you’ve never imagined.”

6. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. promoted its new Eagle Aquatred, a high performance adaption of its three-year-old Aquatred. It still featured two AquaChannel grooves, but had “broad shoulders for aggressive cornering and handling” and was H-rated.

Now a personal memory. In February 1995, I flew to Lisbon, Portugal, for the introduction of the Pirelli P6000. "A lot is riding on the P6000, a third-generation, ultra-high performance tire set to eventually replace the P600," I wrote. (As an aside, Pirelli & Cie SpA claims as a result of the success of the P6000, it increased its tire sales in the H-, V- and Z-rated segment by 35% from 1994 through 1998.)

I also got to know a young Jeff Bartlett (he was younger than me), who was representing Eurosport Car magazine on the trip and could think of little else but writing about cars.

I remember he really wanted to write for one of the bigger car magazines, like Road & Track, Car and Driver or Petersen Publishing’s Motor Trend, which were all represented at the event.

The reason I had the issue of Motor Trend is by August, Jeff was listed among the editorial staff in the magazine’s masthead as research editor. I think EuroSport Car had folded by then.

I wondered what he was doing, and checked LinkedIn. He worked at Motor Trend until 2005. Since then he has been Deputy Editor/ Autos at Consumer Reports, no doubt working with Gene Petersen, Jennifer Stockburger and Ryan Pszczolkowski.

Once a car guy, always a car guy.

Related Topics: Bruce Halle, Consumer Reports, Discount Tire Direct, Gene Petersen, Goodyear Aquatred, Jeff Bartlett, Jennifer Stockburger, Motor Trend, tire prices, Tire Rack

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Vitaly

     | about 3 months ago

    Where those Tire Rack prices per tire or a set?

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