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Tour company offering classic cars for Route 66 trips December 5, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Road trips, Vehicles.
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A new, North Carolina-based tour company is offering a novel way to see Route 66 — by renting a classic car for the 2,400-mile trip.

Blacktop Candy’s is offering an upgraded 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, or 1967 Camaro Super Sport for 18-day tours (both eastbound and westbound) from April through September in 2013. The vehicles come with Garmin navigation devices to guide travelers down the Mother Road.

According to the news release:

With Blacktop Candy’s, gone is the fixed schedule opting instead for flexibility. Travelers drive at their own pace between the nightly stops and see as many or as few attractions as they choose, free to enjoy the perfect journey reliving America’s golden past. A tour adviser and qualified mechanic accompany each tour in a spare vintage auto just in case there are questions or a mechanical issue.

“We’ve restored each vintage car in our fleet to better-than-new condition,” commented CEO and Founder Scott Shinn when asked about the condition of the cars. “I’ve personally driven most of these cars cross-county without an issue. Upgrades like power disc brakes, aluminum radiators, air-conditioning and modern audio with Bluetooth allow our clients to relive the heyday of automobile travel knowing they’re driving a safe, well maintained vehicle.”

The $11,900 fee also includes overnight stays at historic lodging establishments, including the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, N.M.; El Rey Inn in Santa Fe, N.M.; El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, N.M., Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, Ariz., Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino, Calif., and the Georgian Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif.

The fee may sound steep. However, it’s likely a fair number will jump at the chance of driving the length of Route 66 in a classic American automobile.

According to the company’s website, the idea came during a Route 66 trip itself:

Scott Shinn and his wife Candi longed to trade the stresses of corporate life for a fun and exciting entrepreneurship. During a road trip along Route 66, they thought “Wouldn’t this be fun in a classic car?”

They searched for ways to make the trip in a classic car, but couldn’t find what they were looking for. So, they created the perfect road trip with Blacktop Candy’s — not just for themselves, but for you too!

Blacktop Candy’s website also indicates it is considering other tours, including U.S. 1, Pacific Coast Highway, Great River Road, a national parks excursion, and Washington, D.C., to New Orleans.

Comments»

1. Jeff - December 5, 2012

Gawd – Ron, I hope you aren’t inferring this is anywhere near a bargain. In 2010 we did the whole trip in a one way rental from Hertz ($400 RETURN FEE PLUS $500 to rent a new Camry) with maybe $1200 in hotels for an 11 day trek – including, both sets of wigwams, the blue swallow, Grand Canyon in Williams, etc – all iconic 66 motels – and finished with a day at the Westin LA., – meals at Joe and Aggies – Rock Cafe, etc – complete COST for 3 of us at maybe $4000 – TOPS – souvenirs, meals, and no holds barred – 72 oz steak in Amarillo – no problem, etc. Give this outfit maybe $1000 cost creep since 2010 – why on earth would anyone want to spend $7000 EXTRA to take a old car across the route? They are cost gouging pure and simple – they could offer this for HALF the $7000 margin and still be an extravagance – They are either hoping for idiots or those forr who cost has not relative value – I hope they literally find that the market wont bear the excesses they are asking – and I hope they get some new realistic view of the road – we need a niche like this – sure some people – maybe me, on a whimsey – would like to, and can afford to do this, but I won’t gladly be taken advantage of, this is a willful rake over the coals – their cost is extremely extravagant – people should go into this aware that $12000 for a car and hotel inclusive is NOT a good deal for a route 66 tour.

5004jenjeffjen - December 5, 2012

” A tour adviser and qualified mechanic accompany each tour in a spare vintage auto just in case there are questions or a mechanical issue” – thate your extra $3500 – I’d ask for the tour without the extras. (are the tour guide and mechanic a free trip for the guy and his wife? if the cars are top noch, why can’t they let you go for half the price assuming your credit will carry you out the door with such well maintained, valuable, relics?

2. carlb - December 5, 2012

“I’ve personally driven most of these cars cross-county without an issue.”

Cross-county. Wow. That really inspires confidence.

This indeed is in the original news release.

Blacktop Candy's (@BlacktopCandys) - March 20, 2013

Thanks DynoDave, I could not have said it better myself. You are right on the money! We set up these tours (and spent a fortune I might add) for a world-wide clientele of vintage auto and travel enthusiast who want to relive the glory days of Route 66 in a way that is virtually impossible without spending $50K on a classic car. We have offered the “Classic” tour for folks who do not care for all the bells and whistles of the “Premier” tour – just the classic car, the GPS, insurance and 24 X 7 roadside assistance. The international response has been fabulous and we’re getting bookings from all over the world. I’m a big Twitter and Facebook user, so we’ll take plenty of photos and videos and update as the tours get rolling.

3. DynoDave - December 6, 2012

“why on earth would anyone want to spend $7000 EXTRA to take a old car across the route?”

Why on earth would someone who can afford the $7k want to take a Camry across the Route? If I had the money to burn, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I don’t, so I’m restoring my own car to take.

And let’s be fair. Compare the rental rate for a performance car, not a Camry. The cost for, say, a Mustang convertible, or Corvette, is eye opening by comparison with the Toyota. You’re also paying for a trip planner, a traveling trip adviser, and a traveling mechanic.And since the trip ends in L.A. the classic you rented, and probably the mechanics chase car, will have to be transported back by flat bed truck. That’s a couple of grand in additional cost right there. Try to buy that sort of service elsewhere. It’s a premium product, at a premium price. It’s certainly not for everyone.

“They are cost gouging pure and simple – they could offer this for HALF the $7000 margin and still be an extravagance.”

If they are, the market will resolve this. Only time will tell.

Just curious…have you ever restored an old car? One small fender bender in that Corvette will set the company back a small fortune. Proper fiberglass repairs, plus quality paint work is VERY expensive. Think $10k plus for a small accident. And I’m sorry, but people who rent cars have a less than stellar record when it comes to caring for said vehicle. I know, as I used to work at a dealer that rented cars. Renters tend to drive them like they stole them. Not every single one, but many do. With a quality resto, plus the addition of many modern conveniences, they have a small fortune tied up in these resto-fied classics. That cost has to be amortized. If you had spent the money for one of these trips, would YOU tolerate a long delay for repairs on the road? Or receiving a Camry as a substitute to finish your trip? They are not a massive, nation-wide rental agency. They don’t have stores across the country where you can stop in and get another car if you are having trouble with the original one. Likewise, most shops would not have the foggiest idea how to work on one of these classics. And the owners, rightfully, would not want the local Toyota lube tech trying to work on 50 year old antique. It’s technology that 95% of techs working today have never seen. They don’t have the knowledge, tools, manuals or parts. Last thought. Have you ever tried to insure a classic? One that is going to be driven long distances, and left parked outside? Unsupervised? Now try getting insurance for it as a RENTAL. Again, the overhead here is HUGE!


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