Founded by the legendary Mickey Thompson and friend Gene McMannis in 1963, Mickey Thompson Performance Tires & Wheels is celebrating 50 years of innovation and product excellence in 2013.
Thompson and McMannis started with a visionary way to design, manufacture and test high-performance tires a legacy that remains the backbone of the company today.
“This is an incredible milestone for our company,” said Ken Warner, vice president of sales & marketing, Mickey Thompson. “We want to celebrate this achievement and commemorate this anniversary by honoring both our history and the future of our company.”
In 1963, the company began with the development of a new open-wheel racing tire that had a softer compound and a lower profile, giving racers a lower center of gravity and greater stability, and then offered a 12-inch wheel to complement the tire. The following year, a 15-inch tire and wheel combination were added and Mickey Thompson became the first tire company to offer 50-, 60- and 70-series “Indy Profile” tires.
In the ‘70s, the ET Drag tires for the strip were introduced and the company expanded research and development efforts to include tires for the Thompson-founded SCORE off-road and Mickey Thompson stadium short-course racing series. Thompson used the specially designed truck tires in 1982 to win the Baja 1000 and set a new record time for the event.
The company introduced the Sportsman tire in 1982, the widest high-performance street legal tire ever made, and in 1991, the Sportsman Pro tire was launched. With its specially designed tread, unique “hot and sticky” drag tire compound and flexible wrinkle wall construction, the Sportsman Pro provided Pro Street racers with a street legal tire that could be used for drag racing. The tire was inducted into the Hot Rod Magazine Speed Parts Hall of Fame in 2011.
In the early 2000s, product development continued with the introduction of a diverse group of truck and off-road radial tires, as well as a full range of wheels. In 2008, the company introduced the Pro-5 Drag wheel offering the lightest practical weight and the greatest strength available from any aluminum wheel today. In the past several years alone, Mickey Thompson has introduced numerous new tires and wheels for street, strip, truck, off-road and motorcycle including several award winners.
Today, Mickey Thompson has product distributors in more than 60 countries and thousands of dealer locations worldwide. The company also supports dozens of racing sanctioning bodies representing drag racing, short-course off-road racing, vintage funny car and motorcycle drag racing categories. Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.’s purchase of the company in 2003 has enhanced product innovation and growth opportunities.