What else would you expect as a roadside attraction in Detroit? Yes we have a 80 ft tire. I guess nobody got around to building the 200 ft car to go with it.
The Giant Tire was originally created by U.S. Rubber (now Uniroyal Tire) as a Ferris wheel attraction for the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair. The two sides looked like a tire but in between the sides there was the ferris wheel. Over two million fairgoers at the New York Worlds Fair rode the tire. Jacqueline Kennedy, Caroline, and John also took the ride at the World’s fair. It held about 87 riders and another famous rider was the Shah or Iran. It weighs about 8 tons.
When the New York World’s Fair ended in 1965, U. S. Rubber decided to move the tire to it’s present location in Allen Park, Michigan near it’s sales office. The Ferris wheel was taken apart in 188 sections and transported by train to Detroit. Since then, the tire has become one of the nation’s most recognizable roadside icons and featured in items ranging from maps and artwork to town Christmas ornaments.
They took the 80 ft tire apart in 188 sections and transported by train to Detroit. Then they reassembled it on it’s current site.
I grew up less than a 1/4 mile from the tire. We used to spend hours in the woods there. (We called them Ford woods) There was a swampy woods area right near the tire that would freeze over. We would skate through the trees and play tag on ice skates in the winter. (Things kids do) Even then the tire had a fence around it to protect it from vandalism and graffiti.
In 1998, to demonstrate how their NailGard® self-sealing passenger tire worked, Uniroyal placed an 11-foot high, 500-pound nail into the tread of the Giant Uniroyal Tire.
In the fall of 2003 Michelin Uniroyal’s parent company renovated the tire as part of a Interstate 94 renovation project. They spent about a $1,000,000 to renovate the tire. They added the company website, took down the neon lighting, added new structural beams, repainted the wheel, and added reflective lettering. Michelin, Uniroyal’s parent company, donated the Big Nail to the city of Allen Park, Michigan.
The City of Allen Park put the Big Nail up for auction on eBay, and a short time later, Ralph Roberts of Ralph Roberts Realty placed the winning bid of $3,000, which ultimately helped the Allen Park Historical Society’s programs and facilities.
The Uniroyal tire roadside attraction is located on I-94 just east of the Southfield Rd exit just minutes from Detroit’s Metro Airport.
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