``I am the great Oz....'' Oops, wrong picture. In its interactive display at the recent MinExpo 1996 international trade show in Las Vegas, Bridgestone/Firestone Off Road Tire Co. (BFOR) introduced the somewhat bizarre new ``spokestire'' seen below. Meet ``Chip Treadmore,'' the unusual looking ``guy'' in the center of the cross who talked with visitors about BFOR's active tire tag. It provides real time, critical operating info for use in off-road tires (and probably can tell your fortune as well: You will buy more mining tires.)
Ever had acronym-istic fun with car nameplates? Like ``Ford,'' for example (besides being the name of some guy who liked to say of the Model-T, ``You can have any color you want, as long as it's black.'')
The ``Parting Shots'' column in Beck/Arnley Worldparts Corp.'s newsletter recently offered suggestions for some well-known industry names, including:
FORD—First on Recall Day; BMW—Born Moderately Wealthy; DODGE—Drips Oil, Drops Grease Everywhere; FIAT—Feeble Italian Attempt at Transportation; GMC—Gotta Mechanic Coming; HONDA—Hang On, Not Done Accelerating; OLDSMOBILE—Old Ladies Driving Slowly Make Others Behind Infuriatingly Late Everyday; and last but certainly not least, PONTIAC—Poor Old Nitwit Thinks It's A Cadillac.
Goodyear recently began leasing warehouse space near Memphis (Tenn.) International Airport on a thoroughfare named ``B.F. Goodrich Boulevard.''
Because the Akron-based tire maker didn't want its mail coming to a Goodrich address, the company wasted no time in changing it to ``4221 Pilot Drive.'' (Does it realize ``Pilot'' is a Michelin tire line?)
Remember when B.F. Goodrich was an Akron tire company, and people used to ask: ``Aren't you the one with the blimp?''
It appears 59-year-old Craig Breedlove has ignored that famous bit of James Dean movie advice: ``Live fast, die young—and leave a good-looking corpse.''
Back in the '60s, Mr. Breedlove drove 600 mph—faster than anyone had gone in a vehicle at the time—in his jet-propelled ``Spirit of America.'' Then in 1983, Brit driver Richard Noble set the land speed record (LSR), clocked at 633.6 mph.
Mr. Breedlove later began a successful real estate business, but obviously never stopped dreaming up ways to go faster.
Recently, in the Black Rock Desert in western Nevada, he began another assault at the LSR in his newest ``car''—running on special carbon-fiber tires and powered by a $3 million, 45,000-horsepower jet engine from a F-4 Phantom fighter.
He hopes to hit at least 700 mph and break the sound barrier—and the current LSR along the way, but has yet to succeed after several trial runs.
Meanwhile, archrival Mr. Noble, 50, has been in a Saudi Arabian desert preparing a run at a new record.
His ``car'' sports two Rolls-Royce jet engines, has four forged aluminum wheels, but no tires (or rolling resistance?).
Offset, tandem rear wheels will steer it. Disc brakes and parachutes will stop it. He hopes.
Every year Forbes magazine compiles its ``Forbes Four Hundred'' list of the rich and, consequently, somewhat famous.
But some of the largest fortunes in America are so divided among heirs or family members, the magazine noted, that sometimes no one individual qualifies for its compendium of the comfortable.
Case in point: Bandag Inc.
Forbes said company founder Roy James Carver, who died in 1981, learned about tire retreading at a wine-tasting party in Germany in 1957. He acquired the rights for the process, nearly drained the family's pump business in perfecting the Bandag method, but built Bandag into a predominant force in the field.
Mr. Carver's widow, Lucille, 79, remains treasurer. Youngest son, Martin, 48, is now president. Oldest son, Roy Jr., 53, owns the original Carver Pump business. And John, 51, raises horses.
The family, according to Forbes, controls 75 percent of Bandag's stock and has a fortune pegged at $430 million. That'll sure buy a lot of oats.
We all dream about it, but few of us ever win the big jackpot in the state lottery.
But don't tell that to Bennie Block of Texarkana, Texas.
The 72-year-old retiree from Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. snagged a cool
$20 million in winning the Texas lottery Nov. 3, according to a story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
And is he excited? ``No, just calm,'' Mr. Block told the paper a few days after learning of his good fortune.
The former Cooper employee earned his prize after buying $5 worth of lottery tickets the day before the drawing.
Not a bad payout.
From the ``God is everywhere'' department comes a National Public Radio report that a Jewish rabbi has set up shop, so to speak, in a Jiffy Lube outlet.
Apparently, he couldn't find suitable space for a temple to hold services for his small congregation, so he approached the owners of the lube operation, who agreed to let him use the outlet.
Talk about offering ``full service.''
Centered around a pugilistic theme, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. put on a rather punchy, amusing annual consumer dealer meeting in Las Vegas Nov. 6 during the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week trade shows.
Center stage was a boxing ring with company executives garbed in fighter's togs.
Here's a partial list of those who participated in the eight-round bout, and their fighter nom de plumes. You may address your Christmas cards to:
Kenji ``The Enforcer'' Shibata, BFS president; John ``The Bull'' Gamauf, Bridgestone/Firestone Tire Sales Co. (BFTS) vice president of consumer tire sales who organized the meeting; John ``The Kansas Tornado'' Lampe, BFTS president; Shu ``The Intimidator'' Ishibashi, BFTS executive director of consumer tire marketing; Al ``Mr. Indy'' Speyer, BFS motorsports manager; and Phil ``The Aggressor'' Pacsi, product marketing manager.
Any similarity between those nicknames and their personalities is (probably) coincidental.