In a tire manufacturing landscape thick with companies that are over a century old, the world's biggest tire maker is a relative upstart with just fifty years under its belt. The Lego Group, yes, Lego, makes more rolling stock than anyone, molding 381 million wheels each year, with sizes as small as a half inch and going up to 4.2 inches in diameter.
It turns out tires are an integral part of the Lego success story. Lego had been producing kits for more than a decade before the 1962 debut of set #400. That kit included the first version of the now-familiar Lego tire and quickly became a best-seller, accounting for 820,400 sales all on its own in 1967. Before the Lego wheel arrived on the scene and kicked off its revolution, cars in the Lego realm were pre-molded affairs, and some clever children created 8-bit-looking wheels with the Lego bricks themselves.
With such a long history of building beloved toys, you'd think Lego would tie up with a manufacturer of car tires and put the Lego brand on tires we can put on our daily drivers. Make ours Z-Rated, please.