Sunday, July 25, 2010

A New Little Buddy

Picked up this cast figure the other day out of pure nostalgia rather than necessity. Bibendum as he is called because of the noise made by thumping inner tubes is the mascot of Michelin Tires. I have a certain fondness for Bibendum as the garage around the corner from my grandparents' house in Tours, France had a huge Bibendum fixed to the roof of their tow truck. I remember the owner who was a friend of my grandfather giving me a small foam rubber version of the tire maker's mascot. I loved walking around that garage with its tools, greasy mechanics, and the smell of fuel mixed with oil.

As one of the two largest tire manufacturers in the world, Michelin based in Clermont-Ferrand, France is normally associated with motorsport with its participation in Formula 1 and MotoGP. It is fitting though to mention on the last day of the Tour de France that Michelin gained fame in 1891 by patenting a removable pneumatic bicycle tire that allowed Charles Terront to win the first long distance bicycle race- Paris-Brest-Paris.

Bibendum has been a wonderful mascot with his instant recognizability and sympathetic character. More importantly, Bibendum unifies a world of  enthusiasts regardless of the number of wheels or the powertrain that drives them.

1 comment:

  1. I love old french garages with their old oil adds and smell. Most of them have been destroyed in cities center but sometimes in little village we could see the last.

    Nice pic, this bibendum is fantastic !!!