PADOVA, Italy — Pirelli Tyre is reviving production of bias-ply tires for classic car owners who are after the look and feel of tires used originally on their decades-old cars but built with modern materials and techniques for enhanced performance and safety.
Urged on by manufacturers such as Ferrari S.p.A. and its renowned Classiche department, Pirelli reached into its past and resurrected the "Stella Bianca" name for a range of bias-ply tires for its "Collezione" family of vintage tires.
Pirell first used the Stella Bianca name in 1927 and continued using it into the 1950s, when it gave way to the Pirelli Stelvio line. Along the way, Pirelli said, it scored one major race win, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza with Alberto Ascari at the wheel of the Ferrari 500.
While the tread pattern of the new Stella Bianca is identical to that of the original, it features modern technology inside, Pirelli said. The compounds used reflect the best of Pirelli's technology to guarantee efficiency, safety in wet conditions and respect for the environment.
The tire construction remains bias-ply, helping to guarantee the dynamic originality of the cars it will be fitted on, Pirelli said. The decision to make it bias-ply meant workers at company's factory in Izmit, Turkey, had to re-learn the techniques of the past.
The Pirelli logo and sidewall markings also have been recreated using Pirelli archives. The tire launches in one size, 6.00-16, which is the most common size for classic sports cars, while the tread echoes that of the original Corsa variant, Pirelli said, offering optimal grip and resistance to stress.
Pirelli noted that in 1927, Europe was recovering from World War I and technical research was entering a new era, helped by the economic recovery seen throughout the "Roaring '20s."
Most of the cars operating in Europe at that tie were either luxury or sports cars, most of which are among the most collectable models today, such as the Alfa Romeo 20-30, Diatto Tipo 30, Itala 61, Lancia Lambda, OM Superba or Fiat 525SS.
The "gems" of the Italian auto industry needed tires that were capable of coping with their high performance, Pirelli said, leading to the launch of Stella Bianca. The product was still being fitted to cars such as the Ferrari 166 or Jaguar XK120 in the 1950s, reflecting its technological integrity, Pirelli said.
Pirelli launched the line at the Padova Classic car and bike show in Italy in late October.