January 6, 2015

Have you ever heard of a Rupp?

Anyone who has ever visited the American Treasure Tour knows that we continue to change and grow and evolve. Additions to the on-site collection often appear without notice, and Woody, our caretaker and Uncle Sam, gets the high honor of determining where to put them. If you visited us just two weeks ago, you would not have seen the newest vehicle to appear in our Toy Box, along the route of our electric tram:  the Rupp Centaur!

Only twelve hundred of these odd-looking three-wheel motorcycles were ever constructed. Their fiberglass shells were available in red, blue, yellow or white when they were produced between 1974 and 1975, and the one we have at the Tour is bright red.  Rupp was most famous for their snowmobiles, but their mini-bikes and ATVs were popular almost from the start.  Mickey Rupp opened his first shop in Mansfield, Ohio in 1959, and the business stayed open until 1978, when the Rupp name was retired. But during their day, Rupp was so famous a company that everyone had to have one.  Rumor is that even a certain Elvis Presley was the proud owner of a Centaur!

Here's a question to which only the most hardcore Rupp fan would know the answer:  What automotive company signed on to produce the engines for the Centaur, but jacked their price up so much before production that Rupp was compelled to go to the Canadian company Kohler for their engines instead?

A)  Ford

B)  Honda

C)  VW

D)  Cadillac

Answer Below.

Today, we celebrate the admission of the 47th state into the United States 103 years ago. The Land of Enchantment, the official nickname for New Mexico, is a beautiful destination filled with both cultural and natural destinations not to be missed the next time you drive historic Route 66, or visit Santa Fe, where the oldest government structure is located.  The population of New Mexico consists of the highest percentage of Hispanic Americans of any state, as well as the second-largest group of Native Americans per capita, behind Alaska.  

Important facts about New Mexico:

- Lakes and rivers make up .002% of the natural land surface of New Mexico, making it the driest state in the country.  The majority of water in the state now is brought in or manipulated by man.

- A full quarter of the state is forested, with the largest National Forest in the country located on 3.3 million acres, called the Gila National Forest (pronounced 'hee-ya').

- To a certain degree, the Indian Reservations allotted to Native American tribes function as independent states within New Mexico wherein tribal law supersedes state law.

- In some isolated north-central towns in New Mexico, descendants of the conquistadors speak a form of Spanish more similar to 16th-century Spanish than modern Spanish. 

Let us celebrate a famous New Mexican today, too.  Neil Patrick Harris, the star of Doogie Howser, M.D. from 1989 to 1993, and How I Met Your Mother between 2005 and 2014, has made people laugh most of his life, on television, in movies, and on the stage.  He was born in Albuquerque, NM, and is set to host the Academy Awards this year.  High honor indeed for a native son of New Mexico!


Answer:  VW.  Their Super Beetle had become an international sensation by 1975.