A Royal Legacy

SOURCE: Postcards of the Allen Park (Michigan) Uniroyal Giant Tire, circa early 1970s

Postcard c. 1970s - Daytime
Interstate Highway I-94, Allen Park, Mich.
Originally constructed for the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, the spectacular 80-foot-high tire is the newest landmark on the main highway from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to the city center. The largest tire ever built, it weighs over 100 tons. The exterior sides are fabricated from Uniroyal's flame resistant Vibrin polyester resin reinforced with glass fiber, and can resist hurricane force winds. Special cantilevered construction eliminates need for exposed support wires.
Postcard - c. 1970s - Nighttime

Following the close of the World's Fair in 1965, U.S. Rubber's giant tire was shipped to the company's sales office in Allen Park, Michigan. It has become one of the Fair's most enduring legacies. According to Uniroyal, U.S. Rubber's predecessor ...

  • Standing eight stories tall, the Giant Tire is the largest tire model ever built. It is 80-feet high and weighs 12 tons. The interior is 120,576 cubic feet, and the tread is half a foot deep.
  • The tire was originally a Ferris wheel with 24 barrel-shaped gondolas -- each carrying four people -- that were rotated around the circumference of the tire by a 100-horsepower motor. It was designed by the architectural firm of Shreve, Lamb and Harmon -- designers of the Empire State Building.
  • Each ride cost 25 cents and lasted about 10 minutes.
  • When the Fair ended in 1965, the tire was shipped by rail in 188 sections to Detroit. It was reassembled in four months and anchored in concrete and steel off I-94 at the tire company's Allen Park, Michigan sales office.
  • In 1994, the Giant Tire was remodeled. Neon lighting and a new hubcap were added to give it a more sleeker, modern appearance.
  • In 1998, the Giant Tire received another new look when Uniroyal launched it's NailGuard® self-sealing passenger tire. The tire acquired a giant nail protruding from the tread to dramatically demonstrate the product's ability to withstand most tread punctures.
  • In August 2003, the Giant Tire underwent renovation once again. The tire's main structure was repaired and the exterior painted. The various structural improvements will ensure the longevity of the Giant Tire for many years to come.

SOURCE: Photographs courtesy Mary Ellen Coughlan, © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Approaching the Giant Tire
The tire as it appears today in Allen Park, Michigan.
Giant Tire Today