Bridgestone South Africa

1980s Firestone Prize Keeps on Giving

Feb 06, 2015
In what may be a record for the duration of a prize, one of the winners of a 1987 Firestone competition received his latest set of new tyres last week. 28 years after the Firestone 'Tyres for Life' competition was run, winner André Wentzel had a set of Bridgestone Duelers fitted to his current vehicle, a Toyota Fortuner.

"Back when Andre won his prize, Firestone and Bridgestone were separate companies," explained Bridgestone PR Manager, Desirée van Niekerk. "It was only in 1997 that Firestone South Africa became a member of the Bridgestone group, and the original prize was free Firestone S211 tyres for life," she explained.

However, with Firestone becoming part of Bridgestone, and the S211 tyre being discontinued in favour of newer designs, Bridgestone has allowed Wentzel to choose any tyres from the Bridgestone or Firestone ranges whenever he needs a replacement.

Wentzel's winning entry in 1987 was one of over 63 000 and was drawn by Firestone's then-MD, Bill Taylor, as well as Kepler Wessels who would go on to captain the South African cricket team. Wentzel was a sub-accountant in a bank at the time and over the past 28 years has continued his career in banking, specialising in investigating financial crime.

"I was driving a Volkswagen Fox in 1987, and this is the ninth set of tyres I've received from the competition," said Wentzel. "The previous sets were all for sedans - this is the first set of SUV tyres I've received," he explained. Wentzel's Fortuner came factory-fitted with Bridgestone tyres which lasted for 60 000km including numerous off-road trips without a puncture. "The tyres were still good for probably 10 000 Km of tar road travelling, but I accepted the new set of ‘competition' tyres in order to be ready for the next off-road adventure!" Wentzel said.

Bridgestone CEO, Mike Halforty, was on hand to present the new set of tyres, after which they were fitted to Wentzel's vehicle in one of the tyre company's fitment bays at its Isando head office.

"We wish André many safe and enjoyable journeys on his new tyres," said Halforty , "And we also look forward to welcoming him back in the future for the next instalment of his prize!" he concluded.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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