Nitto shows off second generation NT555 at SEMA
Nitto Tire has given muscle car fans and the tire industry their first close-up look at the second generation of its popular NT555.
The completely re-engineered NT555 G2 is on the floor at the SEMA Show, currently under way in Las Vegas.
Nitto Tire U.S.A. staff engineer Andy Frank said the new tire stayed true to the roots of the original NT555, which was launched in 1996 and became popular with the sport compact racing scene before becoming the go-to tire of the American muscle car community.
Improved performance, no reduction in tread life
“We have literally changed everything,” Mr Frank said.
“It’s a new compound, new construction, it stops 20-feet shorter in the wet, it pulls over 1G on a skid pad for the new Ford Mustang GT and it gets the exact same mileage.”
“So we did not sacrifice tread life but we improved performance across the board.”
“We’ve taken all the latest greatest technology that we have available to us and applied it to that tire.”
The NT555 G2 comes in 17, 18, 19 and 20 inch sizes and features a large tapered block to increase grip and more stable cornering, twin center ribs for improved dry traction and straight-line stability, four circumferential groves to aid water evacuation and wet handling and reinforced shoulder tread blocks. More sizes will be made available next year.
Nitto’s completely re-engineered NT555 G2 on a Mustang at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas
New NT555 true to the original’s roots
Mr Frank said Nitto had deliberately chosen to keep the new generation NT555 a directional tire.
“A lot of companies are going to asymmetrical in high performance all-season tires but we wanted to stay true to our roots and make an aggressive looking tire that compliments the vehicle,” he said.
The original 555 was one of Nitto’s best sellers in the high performance category in late 90s and early 2000s but Mr Frank said the advances in vehicle technology in the past 20 years meant fans of the tire were demanding more performance from it.
Not just a muscle car tire
“After a couple of years of really diving into what people like and what they don’t like we made the decision to come out with the new NT555 G2,” Mr Frank said.
“The whole purpose of the NT555 G2 is to take the original recipe that made the original NT555 so successful with the fanbase — the sizes, the way it compliments the car as a bolt-on performance piece — but to do that for the new-age vehicles, like the new Mustangs, Camaro’s, any Japanese imports, the European brands.”
“We don’t want to pigeonhole it as just as a muscle car tire but we want to use those roots to get the tire out there and then expand it to performance cars in general.”
The new NT555 G2 will be available for pre-order from December.