The Pirelli Collezione
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Pirelli’s desire in creating the Collezione is to provide the perfect tyres for vintage vehicles. The exact timeframe is not fixed as it remains flexible to cover not only the iconic supercars and those with which Pirelli has a rich historical working relationship, but also those sizes that permit the vast majority of enthusiasts to maintain or restore their cars and enjoy the thrills of the original driving performance. Pirelli is proud to be associated with FIVA and shares completely its fundamental aim “to support and encourage the preservation and responsible use of historic vehicles”, developing the products contained within the Collezione to achieve this goal.
The creation of these products starts with the identification of the exact tyre size and pattern that was either fitted or available at the specific historical period for the model of car being considered. To facilitate this, Pirelli engineers have access to an incredible Historic Archive contained within the Pirelli Foundation. Here all the original data concerning vehicle size fitments,factory specifications, materials, mould designs and even advertising material plus a lot more are available. Pirelli’s heritage of having been a supplier to the major vehicle manufacturers for over a century also permits us access to the historical data of our partners whenever necessary.
Definition of the size and pattern is the first step in developing these specialized products. However understanding how to produce them, using the right processes and materials within a modern factory environment, remains the most difficult and complex challenge for Pirelli’s engineers. The size, shape, construction techniques and most significantly materials have all evolved dramatically over recent decades making it very easy to over-engineer the original performance characteristics. This would result in a tyre that completely changes the car’s road handling as the tyres would no longer be compatible with the vehicles original suspension geometry. Another very important feature that the Pirelli Collezione can offer is the original aesthetic appearance of the tyres, since many were fitted as original equipment at the time. This is a fundamental feature in preserving the original design features of these vehicles.
The second step in this long and complicated development process is prototype testing, initially performed on an indoor test rig to ensure compliance with today’s rigorous quality performance standards and obtain legal markings as required. This is then followed by outdoor verification using the original target vehicle. Pirelli is fortunate to have supplied most of the “World’s Finest” over the years, therefore, has frequent access to vehicles provided by their heritage departments, or directly by passionate owners keen to get their treasured conservation or restoration projects back on the road.
How this is transformed into the final product is fully described in the Pirelli Master Class 2019.