Wheels and tires – the sizes, the way they look, the way they fit – have always been key to car-style subcultures. Just look at Donks, stance, jacked-up monster trucks, etc. That's why I think this coming year will finally see the biggest stylistic wheel-and-tire leap of all: the subculturization of the tweel.
Today Michelin dedicated a new South Carolina factory to making the Tweel; a "tire/wheel" that uses flexible spindles where a conventional tire holds air. The Tweel can never go flat and never be punctured, and after talking about it for a decade Michelin is finally going to start making it in quantities.
Since Michelin's been dragging its wheels forever on the Tweel project, Resilient Technologies announced a competitor called, unimaginatively, the Non-Pneumatic Tire (NPT), which is being developed with US Military cooperation with planned prototype delivery scheduled for late 2011.
I was all set last night at the MGM Grand Casino in beautifully wet n' cold downtown Detroit — all of us auto writers were finished with our gun-slingin' and were getting hammered on Martinis and learning to play the confounding and confusing game of Bacarat, a game which I think may be akin to nuclear physics in…