Goodyear’s Wingfoot Express celebrates 90th anniversary

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Goodyear’s pioneering interstate Wingfoot Express truck line celebrated its 90th birthday on Monday, April 9. In 1917, a five-ton Packard with a 10-foot-high, specially-built body established the first interstate trucking route with regular nonstop runs from the company’s tire factory in Akron, Ohio, to its tire fabric mill in Connecticut. The one truck eventually blossomed into a fleet of trucks, complete with the industry’s first sleeper cab.

Steve McClellan, vice president of Goodyear commercial tire systems, says he appreciates the company’s history in trucking, but “is especially proud of our kinship with America’s truck drivers. Back then, we viewed truck drivers as heroes for making the perilous journeys that kept the flow of goods and raw materials moving. Our perception hasn’t changed a bit.”

The company still considers truck drivers as heroes of the highway, and for the past 24 years has recognized drivers who help others in a time of need. California FedEx Freight truck driver Ed Regener, the 2006 Goodyear North America Highway Hero, recently was honored for saving two men in a fiery crash on Interstate 10 near Phoenix.

McClellan says much has changed in the past 90 years, as the company has focused on driver needs and fleet operating costs with tire technology. For example, the company’s new line of Fuel Max Technology tires features ride comfort, steering response and fuel efficiency to ensure driver satisfaction as well as lower costs of operation, McClellan says.

“The Wingfoot Express always has been about the customer, and today, it symbolizes 90 years of delivering business solutions for our customers from the time the original tire is placed on a new truck and through its lifecycle,” McClellan says.

A 1917 Packard Model E 3-ton truck – similar to the models used in the first fleet – symbolizes the original truck fleet. Housed in Fort Smith, Ark., at the headquarters of Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, the Wingfoot Express truck will celebrate the 90th anniversary this year with stops at Wingfoot Tire Center grand openings nationwide. The nation’s largest commercial tire retailer and retreader has been aggressively adding truck tire service centers to better serve truck drivers and their fleets, McClellan says.

Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems, a subsidiary of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, operates more than 173 commercial tire centers in North America. It is part of a national network of tire service centers that serve large nationwide fleets as well as regional and local transport companies.