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.
Click the image below
to watch video of the
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.