Known for their stylish sunglasses and sports eyewear, the Carrera brand has become synonymous with a fusion of performance and fun. But Carrera is not all colorful, retro aviators; the brand has a history that is rich in technology and rooted in practicality. The original products from Carrera were protective eyewear (sports goggles) and the founder, Wilhelm Anger, was inspired by motor racing.
Carrera was founded in Austria in 1956, and Mr. Anger, with his lust for life (a little on the edge,) named his company after La Carrera Panamericana, The Mexican Road Race. La Carrera Panamericana attracted the world's greatest drivers to experience top speeds on public highways, mostly through the mountains of central Mexico. It was canceled in 1955 because of concerns about safety, but revived in 1988.
Searching for a better material for his products, in 1964, Wilhelm Anger developed and patented ‘Optyl’ plastic, a cutting-edge material weighing 20% less than acetate. Optyl causes less allergic reaction, and has improved fit (because it adapts to the wearer’s face.) This invention was so meaningful he even briefly changed the company's name to Optyl International. At this time they were still specializing in ski helmets and motorcycle goggles.
In 1974, the company returned to the Carrera International name. It was also in 1974 that Carerra engineered the first interchangeable lenses for ski goggles. The late seventies were a pivotal time for Carrera, because they launched a new line of sports sunglasses that would appeal not only to the skiers and the drivers, bu also to the fashion set. In 1979, Carrera fulfilled their brand destiny by partnering with automobile designer Ferdinand Alexander. Together, they developed the Carrera Porsche Design Collection, which also utilized interchangeable lens and folding technology.
Now that Carrera was on the radar of everyday consumers, not just athletes, they started releasing a more varied product line - including eyeglasses. The 80's saw Carerra getting more involved in sponsorship of sport and their products were popping up everywhere - from the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary to the Formula One racetrack.
In the 90's Carrera brought a focus to cycling, developing a range of helmets and glasses meant to perform symbiotically. And on the business side, Carrera moves away from their Austrian roots when they are acquired by the Safilo Group In 1996. Under the umbrella of Safilo, Carrera continues to be highly revered in the world of sport - primarily cycling, skiing and motocross.
But by the time Carrera is celebrating their 50th anniversary, in 2006, they see an opportunity. The retro looks of their original styles are now appealing to a whole new audience. Reissuing heritage models, like the popular Champion and Safari styles take Carrera from the slopes to the streets.
FramesDirect.com are an authorized dealer of Carrera eyewear.
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