Closed: 1990s (Rivertown side), 2004 (Coney Mall side)
Location: Coney Mall and Rivertown, current location of Backlot Stunt Coaster
Former Names: Les Taxis (Coney side; 1972-2001); Ohio Overland Automobile Livery (Rivertown side; 1972-1990s). Variations of the names sometimes used were Les Taxi, Ohio Overland Auto Livery, and Ohio Auto Livery.
Manufacturer: Arrow Development
Model: Antique Cars
Cost: $4,000 per vehicle
Vehicles: Two-row French Taxis (Coney side); two-row 1911 Cadillacs (Rivertown side)
Description: Antique Cars was a pair of intertwined antique car rides, originally marketed as two separate attractions with two separate entrances in different park areas. The cars, which were different on each track, could be steered by guests and traveled past lush gardens, a stream, and both through and under a covered bridge.
History: Antique Cars opened with the park in 1972 with two independent tracks – Les Taxis was accessible from the Coney Island (today known as Coney Mall) section of the park, and Ohio Overland Automobile Livery from the Rivertown section of the park.
Prior to the ride’s opening, two of the antique vehicles were displayed at Kenwood Mall Shopping Center in April 1971 in order to promote the upcoming amusement park.
The attraction remained relatively unchanged during its first couple decades at the park, pardon changes around the ride (a new midway above the ride in 1975, the addition of the Floral Clock nearby in 1977, and the relocation of Flying Eagles nearby in 1986).
Antique Cars (at least the Coney Mall side) operated during the Winterfest event for the first time in 1991. The attraction was enhanced with a Smurf’s Christmas Village overlay, featuring many of the props and sets from the former Smurf’s Enchanted Voyage which had just closed for Phantom Theater’s construction.
In the late 1990s, the Rivertown track ceased operation. The 1911 Cadillacs were moved to the Coney Mall track, and the cars that previously operated on the Coney Mall track (the French taxis) were sold to Magic Springs amusement park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where they continue to operate to this day. The Coney Mall track retained the Les Taxis name through the 2001 season, despite no longer having taxi themed vehicles. The Rivertown track and station remained standing but not operating until both tracks’ removal.
For FearFest 2003, the Antique Cars was transformed into Route 666. The drive-through haunted attraction was themed as an abandoned highway and included gruesome theming and creepy actors.
Antique Cars ceased operation on August 15, 2004. The ride would be replaced with Italian Job: Stunt Track (today known as Backlot Stunt Coaster) the following season. During the ride’s time at Kings Island, both tracks gave a combined 22,496,928 rides.
After Antique Cars’ closure, the 1911 Cadillacs remained in storage at the park for several seasons. One car was given a temporary new lease on life when it was used as a prop in the Paramount Action FX Theater queue. Another was used during 2005’s WinterFest in the Home for the Holidays Parade.
Following Cedar Fair’s acquisition of Kings Island, the cars were relocated to new sister park Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri in 2007. The vehicles were planned to be used on the Missouri’s park antique car ride, Le Taxis, but they had difficulties navigating the new course. A car has been used as a Halloween Haunt prop at Worlds of Fun, but the others remain in storage and have been gutted for spare parts.
On August 16, 2018, Kings Island announced the return of the antique cars with Kings Mill Antique Autos, a spiritual successor to the original antique car ride. It opened in 2019 nearby the original attraction.