Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A look at Autopia in print - 1955

By all accounts Autopia was an instant hit from the day Disneyland opened. Today’s post will feature two car enthusiast magazine’s from 1955 that demonstrate how popular the attraction became and how quickly it happened.

First up from October 1955 it's “Hot Rod” magazine. Hot Rod still arrives in my mailbox every month; it’s the grand daddy of car magazines. A classic cover, those little “Tailgate Torpedoes” look ready to take Peggy Sue to the Hop!

This article is fairly short at just two pages. However, this is just a few months after Disneyland opened. I bet this made every kid who read this magazine beg their parents to go to Disneyland.

Neat that Robert (Bob) Gurr gets proper credit for being in charge of the project.

Our second car magazine today is “Rod & Custom” from November 1955, this is a smaller sized magazine, about the size of the old TV Guides.

Rod & Custom dedicated more space for their Autopia article. In fact, there is a TON of information on the first generation cars in here, specs and all. There are some great rare photos too, they are Black & White and faded, but still fun to look at. Bob Gurr gets credit in this one too! As does Johnny Hartman and Hartman Engineering.

This last page has just the last two paragraphs of the Autopia article. Check out the “Christy’s Corner” article about fuel injection. It predicts the 1956 Ford Thunderbird and Cadillac El Dorado will have Fuel Injection, “The two are almost positive bets”, then it goes on to claim a “fair bet” that the Corvette will get Fuel Injection also for 1956. None of those came true in 1956. The Corvette did get optional Fuel Injection in 1957 and the 1957 Pontiac Bonneville got Standard Fuel Injection (I want one! Link), but the Eldorado would not get F.I. until 1976 (it was optional) and the Thunderbird would not get F.I. until the 1980’s!

******** UPDATE ******************

This just in from Major of at Gorilla’s Don’t Blog, from "Road and Track" September 1955. A single page article on the two month old Autopia! Thanks Major!


mr wiggins said...

VDT, this post is the most! Absolutely awesome. I was a total Autopia addict when I was a kid, in the years before the guide rail was added. I can't tell you what a blast it was to read these articles. Seeing the pictures, I can remember the distinctive WHANG that those wraparound bumpers made when you nailed the car ahead of you at the bottom of that downhill grade!

Viewliner Ltd. said...

How cool do these posts get? This is awesome. You have reach a new high Tim. Thank you for all the coolness.

Progressland said...

Thanks for posting that second article especially! I had found it in a Google Books search, but it didn't display all the pages!

Major Pepperidge said...

Yep, that second magazine article is especially nice, chock full of info and great photos.

Jeff Pepper said...

Great, great stuff!

Thanks as always for so generously sharing!

jedblau said...

Nice post!

outsidetheberm said...

How great is this? Thanks, Tim.

By the way, be watching your mailbox!