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The Pirelli Cinturato belted tyre, an icon of Italy in motion

Three international designers for a tyre that has made history

Home road The Pirelli Cinturato belted tyre, an icon of Italy in motion
The Pirelli Cinturato belted tyre, an icon of Italy in motion

“After five long years of studies, we have produced and placed a new tyre on the market, called the Cinturato. The vital detail that characterises its structure is a robust fabric belt situated between the tread and the carcass; the latter features a level of solidity such that it can withstand normal wear and tear in an enhanced manner”. This is how, in 1952, Pirelli announced the launch of its Cinturato belted tyre, which was set to revolutionise the world of road transport means. Patented in 1951 according to the studies of engineer Luigi Emanueli, the Cinturato established itself on the international market as a genuine icon of the economic boom and of Italy in motion during the Sixties. The fame of the first Pirelli radial tyre was also achieved thanks to the lucky major advertising campaigns which, between the Fifties and the Sixties, the brand entrusted to the creativity of well-established designers, the likes of Ezio Bonini, Riccardo Manzi, Alessandro Mendini, Pino Tovaglia, Bob Noorda.

Born in the Netherlands in 1927, Noorda became the Art Director of the Pirelli group in 1961. His graphic design is essential and makes communication clear and immediate, as in the poster for the Pirelli Cinturato in 1959, “built” with just 3 elements: the stylised sketch of the tyre, the logo and the name of the product. 

Dedicated to another Cinturato belted tyre, the CN336T model, is “Ad Occhi Chiusi” (literally, with your eyes closed) (1961), the most iconic advertising campaign by Riccardo Manzi; in the advert, the driver’s eyes are shaded by a tyre, which impairs his vision and only the use of Pirelli tyres guarantees total driving safety. The style is ironic and caricature-like, with a quick and instinctive penmanship: all these characteristics make the author’s signature immediately recognisable. 

In 1966 Arrigo Castellani, at the time head of the Pirelli Advertising Management, designs together with graphic designer Pino Tovaglia an advertising campaign characterised by the slogan «Un viaggio sul sicuro - Cinturato Pirelli» (A safe journey - on the Pirelli Cinturato belted tyre): it was a kind of experiment based on the interaction between plays on words and pictures.

In 1968, it was once again Pino Tovaglia who signed the new advertising campaign, on the subject specifically of the popularity of the Cinturato abroad: a series of coloured boards, whose dominating pattern consists of the stylised flags of a variety of countries, with a headline translated in the same number of languages which states “in France too (or in England, in Ireland, in the Netherlands or in each of the countries where the tyre proved popular) they call it a Cinturato”.

The Pirelli Cinturato is now international, and it is not only graphic designers and designers who “tell it” all over the world. Its advertising campaigns have in time also been commissioned to great photographers such as Ugo Mulas, or entrusted to the camera and to exceptional testimonials such as the driver Juan Manuel Fangio, the star of a series of carosello advertising shows produced by Gamma Film. Because the Pirelli Cinturato “truly is different from the rest. Extraordinary!”


All the materials form part of the company's historical heritage which is now preserved in the Historical Archive of the Pirelli Foundation www.fondazionepirelli.org

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