The Euclid Beach rocket car is hard to miss. You might hear it coming first: the band organ music blaring from its speakers or the delighted shrieks coming from its passengers. Then you'll see it, the biggest thing on the road: a shining silver steel body shaped, improbably, like a rocket ship. The nose cone, the tail - it's all there, along with the waving hands and smiling faces of the 20 or so people seated inside its bright red interior. You might ask: What is it? Where did it come from? How is it allowed to be on the road? Inevitably, however, you'll want to know how you, too, can go for a ride in the rocket car.
The rocket car seen on the streets of Northeast Ohio (and, during the winter months, in Florida) has its origins at Euclid Beach amusement park. The rocket ships ride opened there in the 1930s. Its three rocket ships, suspended from cables, would be lifted off the ground and fly in a circle at high speeds. The ride remained popular until the park closed in 1969. After the park closed, the ride was taken apart and the three ships were sold. They languished in warehouses around the city for the next few decades. One even ended up in its owner's backyard Christmas display, while another was abandoned in an Eastlake warehouse. In the late 1990s, two different owners got a hold of the three ships and converted them into street legal automobiles. And 'rocket car' is not a misnomer: one was clocked at 136 MPH! All three can now be rented out for special occasions, and pop up at events all over the city.