The Original Zippin Pippin Car

The original Zippin Pippin at Libertyland closed in 2005 and was subsequently sold at an auction for around $2,500 (yes, you read that correctly). The salvageable artifacts from the ride were sold to a travelling rock-n-roll museum, including one of the original trains that sat near the entrance of the ride. Fortunately, that original front car has returned to Memphis and I had the chance to see it this weekend.

© Jimmy Ogle

The car was originally situated outside the entrance to the Zippin Pippin, allowing park guests to take a commemorative photo inside the historic car.

In the above photograph (c. late 1970s), one of the original Zippin Pippin trains can be seen in use.

I’m not exactly sure the make/model of this car, so if you are aware please share in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

The front plate displaying Elvis Presley’s signature was added after the car was removed from Libertyland. Elvis was known for renting out Libertyland (then known as Fairgrounds Amusement Park) for his friends. The Zippin Pippin was known as Elvis’ favorite ride. This was thought to be his favorite car to ride in.

The car isn’t in the best shape after sitting outside for so long, especially as most of it is made of wood.

The Zippin Pippin ride sign is propped up in the back of the car. The hound dog was Libertyland’s mascot in its earlier days of operation.

At some point these trains were retired for a more modern pair of Philadelphia Toboggan Company trains.

Some of the cars wheels are still attached, but are not visible due to the wooden “stand” that the car is still attached to.

A replica of the Zippin Pippin was built at the Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay, Wisconsin and opened in 2011.

 

Libertyland Postcards

I recently hit a jackpot of old Libertyland memorabilia. Expect a number of new posts in the coming days full of Libertyland artifacts!

First up are three old Libertyland postcards. I’m guessing that they are all from the late 1970s or early 1980s. If you know any more about these postcards please feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post.

The Libertyland hound dog mascot takes a refreshing ride on the Old Hickory Log Flume in the above post card.

This late 1970s Libertyland postcard shows one of the older Zippin Pippin trains in operation.

Seen here is the crest of the Zippin Pippin lift hill.

Special thanks to Mike Cunningham for sharing these pieces of Libertyland history with me!

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New Zippin Pippin onride video

The new Zippin Pippin at Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay, Wisconsin doesn’t open to the general public for a few more days (May 21), but media outlets were allowed to preview the ride. One video of the ride was posted to Youtube:

So far I’ve heard great things about the ride experience. Hopefully it is similar to the original Zippin Pippin ride experience.

ACE contributes to the reconstruction of the Zippin Pippin

From Amusement Today:

“American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) recently donated $5,000 to provide support and assistance to the city of Green Bay and their efforts to reconstruct Zippin Pippin at Bay Beach Amusement Park. Zippin Pippin was purchased from the city of Memphis last year and is currently being reconstructed at the Green Bay park.

“Preservation of classic rides is what ACE stands for,” says Howard Gillooly, ACE Preservation Director. Mr. Gillooly added, “What Green Bay is doing is remarkable, and ACE is proud to be a supporter of this project.” Upon receiving the donation, Bill Landvatter, Green Bay’s Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, noted, “This was truly unexpected and brightened my day.” Mr. Landvatter went on to tell ACE, “Thanks so much for all you do to keep some of the truly unique treasures of our country.”

Zippin Pippin formerly stood at Libertyland in Memphis, Tennessee. Originally known as Pippin when it opened in 1923, the ride utilized parts from a previous coaster located at nearby East End Park. When Zippin Pippin closed in 2005, it was the fifth oldest coaster in the United States. The original Zippin Pippin was also one of only a handful of rides remaining from John Miller, one of the most prolific coasters designers of his time.

Just in the last year, ACE has provided support for several preservation efforts including Save Dreamland in Margate, England and their efforts to restore their Scenic Railway, a very rare example of the early roller coaster. In addition, ACE provided financial support to help the Blue Streak re-open at Conneaut Lake Park in Pennsylvania.

Founded in 1978, ACE is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, appreciation and safe enjoyment of roller coasters. With more than 5,500 members across the U.S., Europe and Japan, ACE is the largest amusement park enthusiast organization in the world. Numerous shows made for cable networks such as The Discovery Channel have prominently featured ACE. Ultimately, ACE’s mission is to promote and enjoy roller coasters everywhere, regardless of type or size.”