The First Commercial Transcontinental Auto Tour
"[Brochure with Map] The Trail to the Sunset Coast to Coast by Automobile", American Automobile Assoc.
Subject: United States, Auto Trails
Period: 1911 (dated)
Color: Black & White
29.9 x 6.5 inches
75.9 x 16.5 cm
This promotional brochure and map offers reservations for a New York to Los Angeles auto tour for up to 28 passengers in 7 cars with the assistance of the American Automobile Association. AAA provided the “pilot,” A. L. Westgard, a largely overlooked auto pioneer called the “Pathfinder” for his early work to identify and actually test various routes for auto travel. The illustrated brochure includes a folding map of Westgard's route from New York to Los Angeles entitled Trail to Sunset to Be Covered by Raymond & Whitcomb Automobile Tour Oct. 2 - Dec. 1. 1911 with the Cooperation of American Automobile Association (29.9 x 6.5"). The tour was completed by only 8 adventurous paying passengers at a relatively steep price of $875 per person (approximately $23,000 in today's dollars). A chapter in McConnell’s, The Record-Setting Trips by Auto Coast to Coast, 1909-1916, describes the multiple challenges encountered by the “auto train” and the significance of the tour demonstrating the viability of the automobile as a commercial alternative to the railroad for transcontinental travel. Its success marked the beginning of the long-term decline of rail passenger service. Self-folding. No copies of the brochure or map located in OCLC or elsewhere.
Condition code is for the folding map, which is near fine with some minor extraneous creasing at right. Brochure text and illustrations are very good with the center section loose. Front wrapper is lightly soiled.