Henry Ford once promoted the Model T, his affordable assembly line-built wonder, by stating buyers could have it in “any color they want, as long as it's black.” Nearly a century later, cars – even Fords – come in a rainbow of different hues but their tires still have one thing in common: they're black as the underside of an 8-ball in a dark closet at midnight.
Or should we say, they WERE... a Chinese tire company has unveiled a line of colored tires so bright they'd make a rainbow look shabby. How they'll make your car look is a matter of opinion, of course, though if you like the monotone look then Double Star Tires has got your number. Color, actually.
Colored tires aren't exactly new: motorcycles have sported them from time to time, as have bicycles both street and mountain. The main reason why they're not popular has to due with wear. Tires are black not by choice, but due to the carbon content in the rubber.
One must either assume Qingdao-based Double Star Tires has found a way around this particular bugaboo or they assume the market for colored tires (pink Ferrari owners, we're looking at you) doesn't really put much mileage on their vehicles. Then there's the military, who care little for fashion but are big on camouflage - and those big bruisers in the top photo would look right at home on China's version of the Hummer (or ours, for that matter).
According to China Car News, “Double Star have already applied for patents for its 'Rainbow Tires' and they should be on the market very soon,” so maybe they've indeed come up with something as good as carbon but without its annoying blackness.
Another thing holding back the widespread use of colored tires has to do with inventory control. Multiply every different sized tire by, say, a dozen different colors and... you're gonna need a MUCH bigger warehouse. Perhaps Double Star Tires intends to only sell their tinted offerings online.
In any case, the advent of colored tires could result in the demise of an age-old tire type: whitewalls. Don't feel too bad though, in their place we'll have blackwalls. (via The Truth About Cars and China Car Times)