I just saw this from a Twitter link earlier today… it’s awesome! Check out this old school JDM television commercial from the late 1980s for the Falken MC tire… pronounced Faruken Macu taiyah if you have your Japanese pronunciation skills on point! This is a fun little commercial – I wish Falken still made cool clay-mation videos like this! Come on Falken! How about it? The Return of the Mac!
Can you believe it? Back in 1989, Falken was a sub-brand tire. Back then, the Falken brand wasn’t perceived as being cool at all. Back then, Yokohama, Dunlop, and Toyo were the ish. Falken certainly didn’t have much brand awareness in the United States. Falken’s sister company, Ohtsu, which is better known for making truck tires, was considered a much, much bigger brand in the SRI Group (Sumitomo Rubber Industries), which included Ohtsu, Sumitomo, Dunlop and Falken.
It’s funny how things have changed. I remember back at SEMA about 10 years ago, I was at the Falken booth talking to someone named Jim Stobie, and he told me that he was hoping that Falken would bring the Azenis tire to the USA. At that point, they were only talking about doing it… maybe.
When the Falken Azenis RT215 tire came out, everyone loved it because reputable aftermarket performance magazines like Grassroots Motorsports and Sport Compact Car endorsed it after making it go through several tire tests. Those tires were dope back then – they were pretty grippy (it had grip because of the RT215’s big tread blocks, not because of a soft rubber compound) and they were pretty cheap. (I think I paid like $35 per tire for 195/60/14 size?) In fact, we thought the RT215 was pretty cool, because the fact that it used a harder rubber compound meant that the tire would actually last a long time! That was a great selling point for broke canyon runners and weekend autocrossers who also drove on the same tires daily.
The only bad thing about the RT215 was the fact that they were kind of dangerous in the rain. The big tread blocks that were an advantage in the dry months became a huge disadvantage in the rain – they made you hydroplane a lot if you ran them in wet weather! This is probably why Falken redesigned the Azenis in favor of the newer RT615 tires, which have big grooves in the middle for channeling water and siping down the sides for water dispersion. Anyway, I should stop rambling.
By the way… this is not an ad for Falken. They don’t pay to advertise on our site, and MotorMavens doesn’t get free tires from Falken. I’m just saying… this old Japanese TV ad made me remember the way things were… before Nick Fousekis and his original Falken Motorsports Team (which consisted of Mickey Andrade, Kelvin Tohar, Greg Hatton, Joyce Lex, Courtney Day, MJ Castillo, Calvin Wan, JR Gittin and everyone else who I forgot to name drop) began hitting the road and doing all sorts of events, connecting with motorsports fans to make Falken’s image cool. The team would get up early, set up at events, work really hard at promoting the brand, and we would all go and party after the events! Everything was so grassroots back then. Sometimes I wish we could take it back to those days.
Man, those were some good times.
:: Antonio Alvendia