Puttin’ Some Rubber Down With Nitto Tires’ Wide Range Of Offerings


Here in the PAM Garage, we’re always excited to put the latest products through the ringer and test them in real world conditions and report back to our readers. For our three latest projects here in the Power Automedia stable, we’ve teamed up with Nitto Tires to show their diversity and applications with tires that will provide great performance under the rigors and tests that we’ll be putting our project builds through.

Project SSleeper

Project SSleeper is one of our most unique projects; we’ve never built an SUV for track use before and we’re steadily finding out that the Trailblazer SS is a great platform to build on. If you’re looking for an fun and quick way to cart the kids around, you really can’t go wrong with an LS2-powered, rear-wheel-drive SUV! Project SSleeper has had a few upgrades so far such as ignition system, full exhaust, and coilovers. We wanted a tire that performs great on the street and track alike, so we chose to run Nitto’s NT555R in the rear because it is a fully D.O.T. compliant competition drag radial designed with the flexibility for spirited street driving.


With increased traction at the drag strip , the NT555R combines a high-grip compound with a semi-racing construction and features a unique reinforced belt package that aids in high-speed stability as well. For the front tires, we went with the NT420S because it has a non-directional, asymmetrical tread pattern. The tread features continuous blocks to improve dry traction, while the inner shoulder channels away water for wet performance.

NT555R Features:

  • IMG_3319Race compound engineered for the demands of the drag strip.
  • High block rigidity ensures stable contact patch under hard launches.
  • The racing tread pattern is based on a modified version of the NT555 allowing staggered front and rear tire setup with matching tread patterns.

Sizing Options:

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 11.49.37 AM

For our Trailblazer, we selected 305/35R20 NT555Rs for the rear to have a large contact patch.

 NT420S Features:

Not only is the Nitto NT420S an awesome performing street tire, it's got one of the coolest tread patterns out there!

Not only is the Nitto NT420S an awesome performing street tire, it’s got one of the coolest tread patterns out there!

  • Silica-reinforced tread compound reduces tread flex for enhanced wet handling and breaking.
  • Slanted three-dimensional tread blocks reduce flex for improved handling.
  • Center tread pattern effectively channels water for better wet performance.
  • Outer edge improved for dry cornering and handling.
  • Siping was designed to provide a biting edge for all season traction.

Sizing Options:

  • We selected the 265/50R20 NT420S because it is a perfect fit for the factory wheels without compromising performance.
  • The NT420S has sizing options ranging from 17-24 inches

Project Bullzeye

Project Bullzeye is a 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger with intentions of light drag racing and light autocross capabilities, but mainly to be an all-around awesome and functional daily driver. Upgrades to the car started with the 318ci engine nestled between the fender wells. Our shop crew went right to work, installing a performance intake, carburetor, distributor, full fuel system upgrade, larger brakes, and some upgraded shocks. Of course we can’t forget about the wheel/tire package and stance, we wrapped our American Racing wheels in Nitto NT555 rubber.


We chose the NT555 in particular for this project because it is a summer-oriented high performance street tire designed with the weekend performance driver in mind. The NT555s also have a treadwear rating of 300, meaning it will be great for daily driving with longer tread life as well as mild track performance without killing the wallet. Naturally, the Dart Swinger can’t fit very large or wide wheels without extensive modification, and since we’re more after that nostalgic look and stance with a mild performance/modern upgrade, we went with 235/45R17s up front and some 255/40R17s out back.

IMG_3148NT555 Features:

  • Tread compound is engineered for dry traction and longevity.
  • Large contact patch for enhanced accelerating, braking, and cornering.
  • High rigidity of the tread blocks ensures stable contact patch under all driving conditions.

Sizing Options:

  • For this application, we went with 235/45R17s up front and 255/40R17s out back for great drivability without compromising performance.
  • The Nitto NT555 has sizing options ranging from 17-22 inches with varying widths for staggered applications.

Project ZL1Upped

Last, but certainly not least, is Project ZL1Upped – our LSXMag 5th Gen. project build. The main focus with this project is to build a daily-driven, yet fully upgraded road-racing AND drag racing 5th generation Camaro SS and continue to shave track times while improving dyno numbers with performance upgrades along the way.


With mods including a full SLP header/exhaust and ProCharger‘s new, revolutionary i-1 Supercharger on the car, we needed to mount up some tires that are more suited for these kind of horsepower numbers. This particular build will be out on the drag strip as well as road courses, so we decided to go with two different models of Nitto’s D.O.T.-compliant competition drag radials; NT555Rs and NT05Rs.

The NT05Rs are designed with the serious drag racing enthusiast in mind and feature a specialized race compound and large contact patch to promote even distribution across the tread. Another great feature of the NT05R is its enhanced sidewall construction which provides longitudinal launch traction while maintaining stability throughout the whole pass. Just like Project SSleeper, we’re using the NT555Rs, but in 275/40R20 on the factory rear wheels and also have a pair of 315/35R20 NT05Rs for use with a wider wheel coming up in the build.


NT05R Features:

  • Large center tread block provides excellent dry traction and continuous contact patch.
  • New drag-specific compound engineered for maximum traction at the starting line.
  • Sidewall construction with high-modulus bead filler and large shoulder blocks increases straight-line stability.

Sizing Options:

  • We’re using 275/40R20 NT555Rs on the factory rear wheels for current testing.
  • Stay tuned as we will be testing with the 315/35R20 NT05Rs for a wider wheel later in the build.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 2.29.50 PM

While these projects are off to a great start, there is certainly more to come, so stay tuned for more build coverage and heavy real-world testing. You can follow Project Bullzeye on StreetMuscleMag, Project ZL1Upped on LSXMag, and Project SSleeper on Chevy Hardcore as these builds unfold. For more information on Nitto tires sizing and spec options, check out their website and see which model would best suit your needs, and stay tuned as we put these bad boys to the test!

Article Sources

About the author

Josh Kirsh

Born in Van Nuys, Raised in Murrieta, Joshua Kirsh is a SoCal Native. With a love for anything on wheels since the ripe young age of two, Joshua Managed to turn his love for automobiles into a career. As Power Automedia's newest writer, he plans to bring you some of the industry's hottest news topics while he's not out in the shop wrenching on some of our badass in-house project builds.
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