Nation’s Oldest And Largest Antique Automobile Tour Comes To Chattanooga

Friday, September 6, 2013

Chattanooga will be home base for an automobile tour unlike any other—the AAA Revival Glidden Tour—the oldest and most prestigious antique car tour in the country. Some 229 antique autos and their owners will tour approximately 425 miles during the week-long event from Sept. 8-13. Local residents will have the opportunity to view the vehicles along the route.

The tour re-creates similar events first sponsored by AAA in 1904 to demonstrate the reliability of automobiles and the need for good roads, uniform traffic laws and services for automobile travelers. Building off the success of that initial tour, AAA organized a second run the following year. But where the 1904 tour was a “pleasure trip” and not a race, the 1905 event was a competition. The winner of the 1905 tour—and subsequent tours—received a $2,000 trophy offered by Charles J. Glidden, a wealthy New England industrialist and avid automobile supporter. From that point on, Glidden’s name would be used for the tour. The original trophy is on public display in the atrium of the AAA National Office in Heathrow, FL.

After the 1913 event, the tour ended its run, as its purpose had been fulfilled. American-made cars had proven their reliability, good roads were being built, and fair motoring laws were being enacted. Today, AAA is involved in the re-creation of those original tours, working with the Antique Auto Club of America and the Veteran Motor Car Club of America. AAA Tennessee will partner with these organizations to provide AAA roadside assistance for the tour and to promote tourism to the state.

Unlike a car show, the tour emphasizes driving a pre-determined route, re-creating the purposes and traditions of the early AAA events and providing a week of pleasurable daily car trips to points of scenic or cultural interest. To win the AAA Revival Glidden Tour trophy, participants must complete the entire tour without requiring the aid of AAA roadside assistance. Drivers must also complete a set of daily tour cards recording their start and end time for each day’s trip.

This is the third year Tennessee has hosted the event since the revival tours began in 1946. At least seven of this year’s participants were at either the 1969 or 1985 tours that originated out of Tennessee. The 2003 North Alabama tour also briefly visited Tennessee. This will be Bud Jonas’ 30th AAA Revival Glidden Tour. At age 82, Mr. Jonas, of Michigan, will be driving the same 1910 Oakland he drove in the 1985 tour. He purchased the car in 1958 and has put more than 200,000 miles on it since.

Wayne and Rosa Anna Hadden were on the 1985 tour traveling from Gatlinburg to Asheville when the designated route was closed by the authorities because a fugitive was on the loose. Ms. Hadden says it didn’t worry them much, except that they missed lunch because of it. The couple owns a restaurant in their home town of Georgia and until recently they would close down the restaurant during the week of the Tour—it was their vacation week. Now, their son helps run the restaurant and he keeps it open while they are out touring.

Participants will tour nearby attractions such as Rock City, the International Towing Museum, visit Raccoon Mountain, Red Clay State Park, South Pittsburg and take a ride on a Chattanooga riverboat and the Tennessee Valley Railway and more.

For the first time ever, a modern Electric Vehicle (EV) will be included in the tour in order to demonstrate to the motoring public the important role EVs are already providing as a viable alternative to gas-powered vehicles. The AAA branded Chevy Volt along with AAA’s newest EV charging truck, stationed in Orlando, Fl, will be on display at stops throughout the tour and also at a special event at the AAA Chattanooga branch on Wednesday, Sept. 11, from 4:30-6 p.m. Additionally, visitors will be able to view a few vehicles on the tour this year, as well as one of the first electric vehicles ever manufactured. The AAA branch is  at 2111 Gunbarrel Road.



Lane Closures For Projects Start Saturday

ML King Boulevard will be closed for eastbound traffic between Market Street and Broad Street, beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.  This building maintenance project is scheduled for 10 hours, and the roadway will reopen at 6:30 p.m. that day.  Detours will be posted.  The 200 block of Market Street will be narrowed to one lane northbound for installation of a ... (click for more)

Wearables Is The July Exhibit At River Gallery

The Wearables exhibit featuring Jenny Threads by Jen Swearington, jewelry by Mary Lynn Portera and jewelry by Katie Rogers will be at River Gallery July 1-31.   There will be an opening reception on Saturday, July 9, from 5-7 p.m. with the artists.   River Gallery is at 400 E. Second St.  Review for the exhibit:  River Gallery's ... (click for more)

Preserving 90-Year-Old Grammar School Just One Of Challenges Facing Town, Signal Council Told

Rather than spend millions upgrading Signal Mountain ’s historic grammar school so it can continue to house the Mountain Arts Community Center (MACC), it would make more sense to incorporate that project into a larger multi-pronged one that would solve several issues facing the community, according to town manager Boyd Veal.   For example, Mr. Veal said, the current ... (click for more)

Firefighters Put Out Fire In Compost Pile At City's Wood Recycling Center

Chattanooga firefighters were called to a fire at the city's wood recycling center on N. Hawthorne Street around noon on Sunday. Battalion Chief Don Bowman said the smoke and flames could be seen from several miles away.   Firefighters with five fire companies worked to get the blaze under control, using master streams from two aerials and some hand-held hoselines. The ... (click for more)

Improvements Needed At Entrance To Wilcox Tunnel

I am writing this letter to bring to your attention to a city traffic issue that needs to be addressed immediately, the sooner the better. I can see no large cost factor.   Recently, while as a concerned citizen, removing trash and litter from the entry/exit area of the Wilcox Tunnel on the side that runs into Chamberlain Avenue, I fully realized that this area could ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Looking For A Wife

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is a really cool place. I tried to buy a huge mounted buffalo head in an antique store there one time until I found out the shipping charges were four times what the head was worth. But suddenly my rapt attention is riveted on Coeur d'Alene again because a dazzling social experiment is taking place this very moment at a plush resort in north Idaho. Several ... (click for more)