The Chaparral Antique Car ride is the second oldest continuously operating ride in the park, surpassed in age only by the Six Flags Railroad. The ride was first open in the park’s second season, 1962. The ride is known as “Chaps” to the employees and “the old timey cars” to the guest. It consists of a fleet of small gas power automobiles which are “driven” around a peaceful track by the guests. While the steering wheels and gas pedals are operational, a runner in the middle of the track keeps the cars from being driven outside the boundaries of the road.
The ride was initially themed on the Chaparral Motoring Company of Cleburne, Texas, which produced Automobiles introduced in 1911. For years a sign inside the Chaps queue house documented the story of the automotive company. (The sign has since been removed.)
The ride was modeled after the Happy Motoring Freeway, which was essentially the same ride with more modern car bodies. Happy Motoring was opened in the first season and a second track was added in 1962 when the Chaparral ride was open. In contrast to the Chaparral cars, the Happy Motoring cars where know as the “Modern” cars by the Guests. From 1962 until Happy One was closed in 1980, the park operated three motoring tracks. (One Happy Motoring track was removed in 1980, the other in 1986).
The ride is located in the Texas station, near the Texas Railroad station, and for years sat in a peaceful location, far from the noise of any thrill rides or noisy attractions. Now it is in the shadow of the Texas Giant
When the ride opened, there were twenty-two cars. Little has change on the ride over the years. The Que house and garage are essentially the same as they were in 1962. Some of the attractions visible from the track have changed, but little on the track itself is different. One change that comes and goes is the removal of the car’s tops. In the early 1970’s the tops were removed, making the cars convertibles (see below picture). The tops were restored and have recently again been removed and the cars are now “convertibles”.