Tuesday 4th June 1946
Michelin & Cie filed a French patent for its new radial tires. In this design, the cord plies are arranged at 90 degrees to the direction of travel, or radially (from the center of the tire). In 1951, the Lancia Aurelia B20 was the first series-produced car to be fitted with the celebrated Michelin radial tire as original equipment. Lancia and the new Michelin radials had already established their credibility, having that same year scored a notable win in the two-liter category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. To derive maximum benefit from the radial tire, it was decided to purpose-design a vehicle with running gear that would enable the tire to display its qualities. This came in 1955, with the launch of the Citroën DS, and the radial tire was well on its way to success in France. The tire’s international development gained momentum a decade later, in 1966, when the Ford Motor Company, unsatisfied with all the tires in had tested for its new Lincoln Continental Mark III, set its sights on the Michelin X as original equipment for its new model. The rest is history. To prepare adequately for the total revolution that the radial represented, Michelin extended its new technology to tires for other vehicles. In 1952, Michelin completely transformed the transport industry by introducing the first radial truck tire, followed by the first radial earthmover tire in 1959. In 1981, Michelin brought to market the first radial aircraft tire. Then, in 1984, came the first radial tire for motorcycles, initially developed for racing bikes. Michelin quickly transferred the technology to street tires, launching the A59X/M59X range in 1987. The tires set new standards in terms of road-holding performance.