Monday, June 10, 2013

Autopia, 1959

As far as I am aware, the venerable Autopia did not change much in spite of the major additions added to Tomorrowland (other than the fact that there was now a Monorail track overhead) in 1959. One thing that definitely didn't change was the way that kids loved it - at last, the chance to drive a car! What are mom and dad always complaining about? It's super fun! Of course, even in the future machines can fail, which is why we always need specially trained (and genetically modified) technicians. White coveralls are cool.

Steering wheel on the right.... ooookay. Did this have something to do with it being easier to get in and out of the car on the left side if there was no steering wheel in the way? Meanwhile the kid in the car dreams of being an Autopia repair man someday.


Nanook said...

The right-hand steering wheel vehicles appeared following the 1956 remodel, where they reconfigured the Tomorrowland boarding area & roadway with two sides to increase its capacity. The boarding changed so half the guests climbed into their cars on the left side, and the other half, on the right side.

Now - as to the poor fellow (in white coveralls) who is forced to repair the Autopia vehicle, while "seated" in a tire-? What - Disneyland couldn't afford an official auto mechanic's creeper-? Really-!

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Looks like you already answered the question Nanook! Anyway here are some samples I researched to illustrate the concept.

There were four separate tracks; two for Fantasyland Autopia and two for Tomorrowland Autopia. Each Autopia had a right side and left side. The steering wheel was always away from the load side.


Left side steering wheel (Tomorrowland Autopia)

Right side steering wheel (Tomorrowland Autopia)

Left side steering wheel (Fantasyland Autopia)

Right side steering wheel (Fantasyland Autopia)

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Cool shots with the mechanic working on a car out in the open. Wouldn't see that today.

Whenever I see the white coverall mechanic I always think of Ray and Irwin running for their lives from a crazed Jonathon Winters as he destroys the gas station in "It's a mad (x4)World.

Nanook said...

@K. Martinez-

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So let's see... 4 pix x 1,000.... Oh, never mind.

Thanks for verifying pictorially what (I originally stole) from the article on The Autopia in The "E" Ticket; and then stole from myself, (I'm sorry - make that "re-purposed") from my previous comment back on October 19th. Whew-! The pictures are much more fun-! Thanks again.

Melissa said...

Hey, kid, eyes on the road! You're rear-ending that yellow car!

K. Martinez said...


No problem. I love researching this kind of stuff. Especially if it's related to the ride vehicles. It's been so long since I've read my collection of 'E' Ticket magazines, that it's probably time I read them again to refresh my memory.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it seems like it would be confusing to channel the cars into the proper load/unload area based on their steering wheel configuration. Maybe they didn't bother. And a nice squishy tire doesn't seem like a bad solution as a makeshift seat!

K. Martinez, thanks for all of the examples! Now I know why the wheels were sometimes on the "wrong" side.

Alonzo, I would assume that the Autopia cars were pretty easy to service, as cars go. Didn't they almost have lawn mower engines?

Melissa, I used to HATE it when somebody behind me would slam into my car.

K. Martinez, keep your "E" Ticket magazines in good shape, some of them go for big $$$ these days.