Goodyear's New Off-Road Tire Wins Popular Mechanics Award
4 November 1999Goodyear's New Off-Road Tire Wins Popular Mechanics Award
LAS VEGAS, Nov. 3 -- Goodyear's most aggressive off-road tire ever received Tuesday night one of Popular Mechanics Editor's Choice Awards for New Products. Popular Mechanics editors selected the Wrangler MT/R off-road tire from more than 9,000 displays and too many new products to count at the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week here. The ultra-durable off-road tire took top billing at the Goodyear display, a first for a Wrangler tire. Wrangler MT/R will be available at retailers in the spring; however, the tire's already gaining rave reviews. Legendary off-road racer Walker Evans used Wrangler MT/R off-road tires last weekend to clinch the Championship Off Road Racing championship in his final CORR race in Las Vegas. Evans raced this season on 17-inch Wrangler MT/R off-road tires, which he called "the toughest tires I've ever raced on." The 60-year-old racer notched two wins this season at Joliet, Ill., and Crandon, Wis. The tires also are winning at a slower pace. Two Arizona off-road drivers used the Goodyear tire in late September to climb atop the Goodyear Extreme Rock Crawling Championship in Farmington, N.M. Only five of the 12 vehicles in the finals were equipped with the new Wrangler, yet it was on four of the top five finishers. The secret to the tire's winning ways? Try a new Durawall puncture resistant technology that uses high-tech silica compounds, three polyester plies and tread elements that extend down the sidewall to resist tire sidewall punctures, a common problem in off-road travel. Ron Wells, marketing manager for Goodyear light-truck tires, said the tiremaker has employed state-of-the-art technology in a normally low-tech segment -- in tires designed to travel through mud and over rocks. Wells said the biggest test for the Wrangler MT/R will come in the marketplace this spring. If early reactions are any indication, the tire should be a winner. Wells accepted Popular Mechanics' award from publisher Jay McGill and Joe Oldham, editor-in-chief. First impressions are vital in the tire industry, and Wells already is predicting that reactions to the Wrangler MT/R tire will rival the popular Aquatred II passenger car tire. "Everyone who has seen it has gone 'ga-ga' over it," Wells said. By the way, Webster's defines "ga-ga" as wildly enthusiastic. "Wrangler MT/R's aggressive tread design and notched sidewalls convey unbridled traction. Performance notwithstanding, people will be attracted to this tire based solely on its raw, brute looks. "I've had people clamoring for this tire, even before it won the rock- crawling championship. They like the tire's looks. I believe Wrangler MT/R strikes a responsive chord among consumers with a radically different appearance and its ability to maneuver on slippery surfaces," he said. The tire initially will be available in early 2000 in nine sizes, including: 30x9.50R15, 31x10.50R15, 32x11.50R15, 33x12.50R15, 35x12.50R15, LT235/75R15, LT245/75R16 E, LT285/75R16 D and LT235/85R16 E.