An Original Park Attraction



One of the first attractions planned for Great Adventure was an Antique Car ride, a staple of theme parks throughout the country.    Most parks chose to add gasoline powered cars and very elaborate tracks with overpasses and a true road experience, while Great Adventure went the route of adding electric powered cars which quietly glided through a heavily wooded area.

     
     
     






Like most theme parks of the 1970's, Great Adventure planned to include a car ride as part of the mix of attractions.  Originally plans called for a "Grand Prix" style car ride much like the popular car rides at the Disney parks, with multiple lanes of cars "racing" each other along a course that wound over and under itself.  An Antique Car is also included in the initial sketches for Dream Streets shops and attractions.

 As the park made its way from the drawing boards to real life, the Antique Cars became part of the re-design of the Enchanted Forest which ended up being built.  Maps showed an elaborate ride entrance portal which was very fanciful like the rest of the park, but it was never built, with the ride only having a simple queue and entry.

Taking a winding course through a heavily wooded area of the park, the Antique Cars offered a scenic family ride which was quiet and peaceful as the electric cars rolled along the concrete roadway following a light gauge rail. 

While most parks featured vehicles with gasoline engines, Great Adventure's electric cars were clean and reliable.  The drawback was that the ride cars did not allow any control for drivers.   Speed was regulated by the electric control system and the vehicle steering was controlled by the guide rail alone, with a simple mock steering wheel for the driver to pretend to use. 

The cars featured an open design with simple canvas roofs, and faux curtains hanging at the back.   The cars were painted in bright red, yellow, blue and green, with bright yellow canvas roofs and matching spoked wheels.  The working headlights and taillights gave the cars a unique look at night as they traveled their course under the lights that lined the pathway through the thick woods.









     
Technical Information
Manufacturer: Thle - West Germany
Ride Model: Antique models
Opening Date: July 1, 1974
Closing Date: November 2, 1975
Total Number of Cars: 24
Car Capacity: 4 people
Number of Guests per Cycle: 96
Ride Duration: Approximately 5 minutes
Top Speed: 6 mph
Track length: Approximately 1/2 mile
Approximate Capacity: 1200 guests per hour
Direction of Travel: Winding path 
Safety Restraints: Seatbelts
 
 
     
     
Click the image below
to watch video of the

Olde Tymers
at Storybook Land

 
 
     
The cars featured guidewheels which hugged the sides of the railroad style rail.   The set of four wheels guided the vehicles steering, steering the front tires along the curves gently and smoothly.   Along both sides of the steel rail were the electric conductors which provided the power to the rear wheels which propelled the vehicles.

The course itself was left very natural, with as many trees being preserved as possible.   The ground beneath was full of green grass and flower beds.   One of the more unique features of the Antique Cars was a large inflatable lion up towards the front of the ride near the entrance at the Fountain.
     
Comparison of the ride entrance
with the current Front Gate:

 
 
     
 
     
 
For the 1976 season, the park's Front Gate was moved to its current location, meaning the Antique Cars and Ridearama area had to be removed.
 

 
Plans were made to move the ride out to the peninsula under the Log Flume track along the lake in an area that was originally planned for the International Food Fair, which was never built.   The Antique Cars never reappeared in the park despite being shown on the 1976 park maps.