Pirelli was founded by Giovanni Battista Pirelli in 1872 in Milan, Italy, and throughout its more than 125-year history has evolved as among the world’s most well-known tire companies.

In 1974, Pirelli debuted the “wide radial tire.” It was created after a request from the Lancia rally racing team for a tire strong enough to withstand the power of the new Lancia Stratos.

The new tire attracted global attention. And Pirelli tires are now synonymous with the World Rally Championships, the British Rally Championship and the Superbike World Championships, among other prestigious races and motorsports events.

Pirelli also received vast attention in 1974 for reasons it would liked to have avoided. But it’s all worked out.

After a decade in hiatus, unveiling of the annual Pirelli Calender returned in 1984, and it has become as popular as the annual swimsuit issue published by Sports Illustrated but more exclusive.The calendar, which began in 1964, has featured dozens of topless actresses and fashion models. The calendar has featured the work of the world’s most respected fashion photographers, including: Herb Ritz, Richard Avedon, Mert & Marcus, Peter Lindbergh, Annie Leibovitz and Patrick Demarchelier.

The calendar is famous for its limited availability. It’s not sold and is only given as a corporate gift to a limited group of Pirelli customers and VIPs.

Supermodels and celebrities who have appeared in the calendar include: Sienna Miller, Naomi Campbell, Gisele Bündchen, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Selma Blair, Milla Jovovich, Heidi Klum, Sophia Loren, Penélope Cruz, Brittany Murphy, Julia Stiles and Hilary Swank.

The 2010 Pirelli calendar was recently unveiled, and like every year’s offering, the images help further advance the calendar’s unparalleled legacy.

To view the calendar’s images, visit: Pirelli Calendar, 2010 on models.com.

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