Zachary Berry
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Top 10 Car-Themed Coasters

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A list of the best thrill rides with automotive inspriations

Take a ride in the fast lane on these car-themed coasters
Photo:daveynln

Summer vacation is right around the corner, and some of the best destinations for summer fun are theme parks and amusement parks. Theme parks have a variety of rides and activities for visitors of all ages.

However, the truly daring head to theme parks for one reason above all else: roller coasters. These thrill rides create some of the most exhilarating experiences imaginable for thrill junkies!

Roller coasters can draw inspiration from a number of different themes. However, due to their velocity and tenacity, one of the most common themes for roller coasters is automotive racing.

With so many automotive thrill rides spanning across the globe, it can be difficult to determine which are the most exciting. That’s why The News Wheel has decided to assemble a list of the top car-themed coasters to help you find the ultimate thrill ride.


The Creation of a Coaster: New Kings Island Coaster Ride Vehicles Draw Inspiration from Classic Chevrolet Pickup Truck


Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Top Speed: 57 mph
Max Height: 86.2 feet

While Walt Disney World is perhaps better known for its family attractions than its thrill rides, that doesn’t mean that the world’s most magical theme park is lacking in the latter. Take, for example, the aptly-named Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This indoor coaster launches riders, who are placed in a “super-stretch” limo, from 0 to 57 mph in 2.8 seconds. All the while, guests can rock out to their favorite hits by legendary rock band Aerosmith, such as “Sweet Emotion” and “Walk This Way.”

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Photo: Kings Island

Mystic Timbers

Location: Kings Island
Top Speed: 53 mph
Max Height: 109 feet

Even though Mystic Timbers is a brand new ride for 2017, it’s already creating quite a bit of excitement in the coaster community. Not only is it Kings Island’s most heavily-themed coaster yet, but the classic Chevrolet C-10/ GMC 1000 Series truck that the ride vehicles are based on plays a large role in its theme. Throw in 16 separate airtime hills and a mysterious shed at the end of the ride, and you have the perfect recipe for a revival in wooden roller coasters.

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Photo: Dollywood

Lightning Rod

Location: Dollywood
Top Speed: 73 mph
Max Height: 165 feet

Speaking of reviving wooden coasters, no ride has done more for this movement than Lightning Rod at Dollywood. Designed by Rocky Mountain Construction and themed to hot rod vehicles from the 1950s, Lightning Rod shattered several records when it first opened last year. Not only is Lightning Rod the fastest wooden coaster in the world, but it is also the first wooden coaster with a launch mechanism. Although this new machinery has caused operational issues, those who have had the chance to ride it agree that it is one of the most thrilling coasters in the world.

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Intimidator

Location: Carowinds
Top Speed: 75 mph
Max Height: 232 feet

Dale Earnhardt, AKA “The Intimidator,” was easily one of the most daring individuals in all of racing’s history. Therefore, it only makes sense that Carowinds in North Carolina would establish a high-speed coaster that embodies his daredevil spirit. Intimidator stands tall at 232 feet and runs fast at speeds of 75 mph. Combine that with trains themed to Earnhardt’s 1998 RCR No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, and riders can truly capture the feeling of being behind the wheel of a high-speed racecar.

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Photo:daveynln

Intimidator 305

Location: Kings Dominion
Top Speed: 90 mph
Max Height: 305 feet

How do you improve upon a coaster as thrilling as Intimidator? Introduce Intimidator 305! Opened the same year as Intimidator, Intimidator 305 shares the same theming as its smaller coaster cousin. Nevertheless, everything else about Intimidator 305 has been designed to dwarf the Carowinds model. As the name suggests, Intimidator 305 stands at a height of 305 feet, placing it in the Giga Coaster classification of roller coasters. Intimidator 305 is also faster than Intimidator, reaching speeds of up to 90 mph.

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Photo: Busch Gardens

Verbolten

Location: Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Top Speed: 53 mph
Max Height: 88 feet

Located in the heart of the German section of Busch Gardens’ Williamsburg park, Verbolten draws a great deal of influence from the famous German Autobahn. However, the roadster-based ride vehicles take an unexpected turn into the legendary Black Forest, home to several surprises. One such surprise: a drop sequence, the only one included in an American roller coaster. With such a unique ride element, many coaster enthusiasts flock to Busch Gardens Williamsburg just to experience this one ride.

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Hot Wheels SideWinder

Location: Dreamworld
Top Speed: 53 mph
Max Height: 130 feet

What kid doesn’t grow up wishing that they could race along a real Hot Wheels stunt track? Now kids everywhere have a chance to fulfill their dreams at Australia’s Dreamworld amusement park by riding the Hot Wheels SideWinder. This coaster recently adopted the Hot Wheels theming in 2015, starting out as the Cyclone. Nevertheless, with the new theme came newly-designed ride vehicles, decorated to share an appearance with classic Hot Wheels toy cars, allowing the young and young at heart to fulfill their childhood ambitions.

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Photo:CC-BY-SA

Xcelerator

Location: Knott’s Berry Farm
Top Speed: 82 mph
Max Height: 205 feet

In a Southern California region flooded by various theme parks, it can be difficult for  a smaller park to stand out. Nevertheless, Knott’s Berry Farm has managed to do so for decades, thanks to its dedication to creating truly thrilling experiences. Perhaps the most thrilling ride at the park is Xcelerator. Xcelerator launches guests up a nearly-vertical hill at speeds of 82 mph. It launches them in style, too, as the ride vehicles are themed to resemble 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertibles.

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Top Thrill Dragster

Location: Cedar Point
Top Speed: 120 mph
Max Height: 420 feet

Xcelerator laid the ground work for a whole new generation of thrill rides. The culmination of this movement was the Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. When you are known as the “Coaster Capital of the World,” you have to put a lot of effort into a ride known as your most thrilling coaster. That’s exactly what Cedar Point accomplished with its racing-themed launch coaster. Racing from 0 to 120 mph in a span of 3.8 seconds before ascending to a height of 420 feet, Top Thrill Dragster was both the fastest and tallest roller coaster in the world when it first opened.

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Formula Rossa

Location: Ferrari World
Top Speed: 149 mph
Max Height: 171 feet

If you thought that roller coasters themed to cars were cool, then wait until you hear about Ferrari World. Abu Dhabi actually has a whole theme park dedicated to the luxury Italian brand. You would probably expect a park dedicated to these performance vehicles to have a ton of coasters, and you would not be mistaken. The crown jewel of Ferrari World is the Formula Rossa roller coaster. Reaching speeds of 149 mph, it is the current record holder for the fastest roller coaster in the world.

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Rock and Roll Out: Ride in Style at Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios


Can you think of another car-themed coaster that we missed? If so, feel free to share it with us and fellow coaster enthusiasts in the comments below.

  • Zachary Berry

    Zachary Berry currently resides in the Dayton, Ohio area. However, he enjoys traveling from place to place, as he was born in Oklahoma City and has also lived in Albuquerque and Orlando (such is the life of a military brat). Zachary graduated from Ohio University with a major in Strategic Communication, which is fancy talk for advertising and public relations. Beginning his career at The News Wheel as a lowly intern, he was able to climb his way to the top, eventually claiming his place within the last cubicle on the left. Other jobs that Zachary has held include driving around a safari truck at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When he’s not putting his nose to the grindstone, Zachary enjoys watching and critiquing movies and television. See more articles by Zachary.