A lot of the merch that automotive companies make is pretty generic. I mean, is there really anything special about a Toyota-branded water bottle or a Nissan ball-point pen? Every once in a while, though, an absolutely genius idea results in the perfect promotional item. Such is the case with Yokohama’s Advan tread-pattern erasers.
Tires are made of rubber. Erasers are made of rubber. We don’t use pencils much any more, but the idea of having this little rectangle replica of what is typically a $250 tire sitting right there on your desk is just too precious. The blocks represent the Neova AD09 performance tire, successor to the legendary AD08, and the auto-X classic, the A052.
Yokohama spent over a year testing prototypes with different compounds. Too soft and the tread patterns couldn’t be molded with enough sharpness and detail, too hard and they couldn’t function as an eraser. Some prototypes had to be scuttled because they gave off a bad odor. Even the paper sheath was thoroughly researched to reduce the space between it and the eraser as much as possible.
This isn’t the first time Yokohama has released erasers with tread patterns based on their performance tires. They’ve been cranking them out since 2013 and back in 2018 Yokohama released a special set to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Advan. That set included the original 1978 HF and the beloved HF Type D. The A052 was in there too, but with a different sheath.
These erasers even went viral in 2015 thanks to a story on Yahoo News Japan and Yokohama couldn’t keep up with the demand. Stationery fans, who often didn’t even care about cars or tires, flooded the online shop with orders. At only ¥517 ($3.50 USD), who wouldn’t want one? They even became a sort of good luck charm among high school students, who still took college entrance exams with pencil and paper, who liked their “high grip, no slip” functionality. Unfortunately, as you can probably imagine, like many of Yokohama’s most desirable tires, these are sold only in Japan.