On 24 September we celebrate the colourful heritage of this one-of-a-kind country and the many wonderful things that are uniquely South African, like biltong, boerewors, braaivleis, the name ‘bakkie’ and the best retail wheel and tyre chain in the country, Tiger Wheel & Tyre.

Like all great South African founding stories, the Tiger Wheel & Tyre story has humble beginnings. It started in 1967 in Jimmy Joannou’s dad’s backyard in Vrededorp, Johannesburg, where Jimmy started making custom wheels from scrap rims, using the trade skills he’d learned working in Canada for a time. Jimmy called the business Tiger Wheels, and soon he also opened Tiger Performance and Spares, at the front end of his dad’s house.

Dennis Cohen became a partner in the business and in 1971 the two opened Tiger Speed Den in Fordsburg. A year later, racing driver Eddie Keizan used the prize money he earned winning the Formula 5000 Championship to purchase the company for R14,000. In 1986 came the unveiling of a new name, Tiger Wheel & Tyre, and the beginnings of the polished look and feel and customer-focused philosophy that would make it South Africa’s best-loved and most awarded retail wheel and tyre brand. 

Some things have changed in the decades since this great South African brand was born, but others have stayed the same. Changes include lighter and brighter stores, the addition of more services and products, constant upgrades to more high-tech workshop equipment, the ecommerce website where customers can shop online, and the growth of the network’s footprint, which now extends throughout South Africa, into Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana. Among the things that have stayed the same, and become intrinsically Tiger Wheel & Tyre, are the great customer service, attention to detail, commitment to quality, and the eager smiling faces that greet each customer with enthusiasm and respect.

“The Tiger Wheel & Tyre story is a typical South African success story,” explained Group Marketing Executive, Joe du Plooy. “It started with little more than a dream and with hard work, perseverance and vision, it grew into a brand that can not only hold its own against the best in the world, but in many ways sets the bar for the rest of the world. There is nothing more South African than the kind of grit and determination that built this company into what it is today. Make no mistake, we are proudly South African on every day of the year, but never more so than on Heritage Day.”

To learn more about one of South Africa’s greatest homegrown treasures, visit the website or stop by your nearest Tiger Wheel & Tyre store and explore the showroom, chat to the staff, and experience that trademark customer-first philosophy firsthand.

The order of events are incorrect here. In 1971 Dennis and Jimmy joined forces and opened Tiger Speed Den and then in 1972 Eddie bought the company from them.