The car with tyres that glow in the dark

Riley Riley

Together Goodyear and Klairmont Kollections have restored a 1950s Autonomous Concept Vehicle called the Golden Sahara II.

An iconic custom car of the 1950s and 60s, the Golden Sahara II was one of the first autonomous concepts and was fitted with glowing, see-through tyres that were developed by Goodyear.

Developed by Jim Street and legendary custom car designer George Barris (the same guy who brought us the Batmobile), the Golden Sahara II was a platform for testing new electronics systems.

It featured a control system with an aircraft-inspired control lever for acceleration, braking and steering and an automatic braking system that used sensors to detect potential objects in the car’s path.

The car’s tyres were developed by Goodyear using Neothane, a translucent form of synthetic rubber, and contained internal lighting, which allowed them to glow.

They were part of broader research by Goodyear into the feasibility of producing tyres that could help improve visibility in bad weather conditions or be wired to light up when a driver hit the brakes.

In its heyday, the Golden Sahara II toured the United States, and featured in films on television.

After this it spent the best part of 50 years sitting in a garage until Klairmont Kollections purchased the vehicle from Mecum Auctions in May, 2018.

The Golden Sahara II was restored with the help of Speakeasy Customs and Classics in Chicago and was presented at the Geneva Motor Show on four, newly-built Goodyear translucent tires.

Klairmont Kollections is a privately-owned museum in Chicago.

Recently open to the public, Klairmont Kollections boasts 9300 square metres of floor space with 300 eclectic cars on display.

The vehicles range from turn of the century autos to one-of-a-kind historic vehicles like the Golden Sahara II.

“The Golden Sahara II is a unique vehicle and a part of American motoring history. My team and I are proud to have partnered with Goodyear in bringing this iconic vehicle back to life,” Larry Klairmont, founder and owner of Klairmont Kollections, said.

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