In September, the Nebraska Region AACA will welcome those who will share the experience and history of the oldest, largest, and most prestigious antique car event in the country, the 72nd Revival AAA Glidden Tour. Hundreds of car enthusiasts will be arriving from all over the country for a full week of fun, driving their pre-1943 cars over hundreds of miles of road.
This will be the first time a revival Glidden tour has taken place in Nebraska. In 1909 an original Glidden passed through Nebraska in the same area that we will be touring in 2017.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) conducted the first Glidden Tour in 1905 to encourage tourism and demonstrate the reliability of a new form of transportation – the horseless carriage. The tours carried the name of their originator and benefactor, Charles Jasper Glidden, a wealthy official of the Bell Telephone Company. The Eight Original Glidden Tours, 1905 through 1913, were lengthy and demanding of man and machine. These tours were over primitive roads covering a whopping total of 13,435 miles. Of the 322 vehicles starting on the tours, 198 finished. Once the reliability of the new-fangled automobile had been proven, the tours had served their purpose and were ended after 1912.
After the 1913 tour, it was felt their purposes had been fulfilled, and the activity ended. The automobile had proven its reliability. Good roads were now being built. Fair motoring laws were being enacted. And best of all, there was now one car for every 35 persons in the country as compared to one car for every 1,000 persons when the tours began.
In 1946, The Veteran Motor Car Club of America, under the Presidency of opera and TV star, James Melton, decided to relaunch the tour as the Revival AAA Glidden Tour to recreate the purposes and tradition of the early AAA events. It has been held every year since 1946 with the ongoing support of AAA and later with the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) as a partner.
The 2017 tour will be headquartered at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Hastings, Nebraska. We will tour the vast open plains of Nebraska. The tours will allow us to experience the many facets of agriculture, Nebraska’s largest industry. The history of U.S. transcontinental transportation is rich in this area and will be brought alive by the Glidden tour.
The 2017 Glidden Committee encourages you to join in this memorable experience as we “Meet in The Middle”.
John Nikodym, Tour Chairman