Stephen Shutts originally went to the Libertyland auctions with the intention of only buying the first car of Zippin' Pippin, but instead ended up buying the whole coaster for only $2,500.
Stephen Shutts was uncertain what to do with the coaster after buying it and after looking at different options. He decided to sell the rest of Zippin' Pippin on eBay.
On Monday Zippin' Pippin - minus its first car - will be put up for auction on eBay. What the ride's reserve price will be is unknown.
This classic coaster from Libertyland has had a long history since debuting in 1923. Zippin' Pippin is also known as Elvis Presley's favorite coaster, which is the reason why Stephen Shutts was interested in buying the first car, for his traveling music museum.
Whatever the fate of this coaster, one thing is certain: that it will always have its place in coaster history.
Busch Gardens Europe has just confirmed that an original park attraction and favorite ride among families is on the chopping block, or rather, guillotine in this case.
The cars on Le Mans Raceway have chugged through the European-themed park's France section since 1975, but the end of their road arrives on July 5. In a world of theme parks striving to maintain a competitive edge in a race of thrills, the park has decided to sacrifice the family-geared antique car ride for a cutting-edge steel coaster.
"After careful review, we have decided the Le Mans Racewaysite is optimal for the park’s newest attraction,” executive vice president and general manager Donnie Mills explained. "We hope guests will take this opportunity to come out to the park and take a final spin around the track as we continue to keep the park fresh and offer the latest in new attractions."
While Busch Gardens officials remain mum on the new coaster, fans look to the park's history as the best indication of exactly what to anticipate with the 2007 ride.
"Busch Gardens is a park that has been recognized to be of a certain standard that can be a common playground for families, coaster buffs, or anyone just looking to have a grand day. They have continuously added top-notch coasters, always with an innovative flare," opinedBusch Gardens Escape webmaster Bryan Callison. "Especially after this long absence from a new roller coaster, there is no reason to go for something small and lackluster. Busch Gardens Europe is not one to let people down."
The ride's 49 vehicles have traveled over 9,800,000 miles around the three 2,000-foot-long tracks that meander in the shadow of the inverted coaster Alpengeist.
Back in January, it was revealed that Busch Gardens Europe had filed for a height waver for a new attraction up to 210 feet tall located in the New France themed area.
The park plans on making a formal press release pertaining to the new coaster "soon."
Six Flags' total revenue through May 31, 2006 was up one percent from last year, or $2.6 million. From then to June 18 though, total revenue has fallen by $3.2 million. Attendance is also down 13 percent.
Mark Shapiro, President and CEO of SFI said, "Increased guest spending is continuing at a strong pace -- a clear indication that our strategy is working." He also stated that, "The drop-off in attendance was driven primarily by an anticipated decline in our season pass sales, which we are no longer deeply discounting in an effort to restore price and brand integrity, and to wean ourselves from those teens who don't spend money in the park."
Shapiro also noted that attendance in the first quarter has been hurt by Hurricane Katrina and the season closure of Six Flags New Orleans, less visits from schools to the Mexico City parks, reduced and delayed marketing spending, rides that came into operation later than expected, and inclement weather.
Six Flags has stated that their plan to bring in more families is proving more difficult than they had thought. SFI also said that they plan to increase cash operating expenses over the course of the year from $45 million to $60 million. This will be to beef up the staff to attract more families to the parks.
The company is now considering selling six of their weaker properties. These include Six Flags Darien Lake, Six Flags Waterworld, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, Six Flags Elitch Gardens, and Wild Waves and Enchanted Village. Though SFI is not sure if any transaction will be made, the decision is part of Six Flag's plan to get out of debt.