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The Automobile Club of Southern California was founded December 13, 1900 in Los Angelesmarker as one of the nation's first motor clubs dedicated to improving roads, proposing traffic laws and improvement of overall driving conditions.


Early years

The Auto Club was an early advocate for the construction of the Ridge Route, the first highway through the Tehachapi Mountains and San Gabriel Mountainsmarker, which directly linked Los Angeles to Bakersfieldmarker and the Central Valley. The completion of the Ridge Route literally saved the State of California from being split into two separate states at the mountains.

Starting around 1910, the Auto Club sent teams of cartographers to survey the state's roads for the production of maps and to create a uniform signing system. The Auto Club posted thousands of porcelain-on-steel traffic signs throughout the state and continued to do so until the State of California took over the task in the mid-1950s. The signs were produced by a local company that manufactured porcelain-on-steel bathtubs. A few of these signs remain in service today, though they are extremely rare.

The 1920s also saw the construction of the Auto Club's main office on the corner of Figueroa Street and Adams Boulevard. Designed by architect Sumner P. Hunt and built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, the building now serves as the Los Angeles district office. The club's headquarters are still in Los Angeles but its administrative offices are in Costa Mesamarker.

From 1934 through 1941 the building's courtyard served as the site of the Auto Club's annual "Outing Show," which promoted motor vacations and camping. These events were halted after the start of the war and were never revived. During the course of the war, the Auto Club played a leadership role in scrap rubber and metal drives and printed numerous posters for the war effort, including the "Give Them a Lift" campaign, which encouraged motorists to give rides to hitchhiking servicemen.

Recent years

Today, the Automobile Club of Southern California's affiliated insurance company, one of California's largest insurers, provides coverage for homes, recreational vehicles and watercraft as well as cars and trucks. It is the largest affiliate of the American Automobile Association or "AAA." The Auto Club is still a membership organization, and free services to members include maps, travel planning, emergency roadside service, and DMV services. Members also receive Westways, a bi-monthly magazine devoted to travel and automotive subjects. District offices stretch from Chula Vistamarker, near the international border with Mexicomarker, to the small town of Bishopmarker, in California's eastern Sierra mountains.

AAA Expansion Program

In 1995, the Auto Club began an expansion program that involved the purchase of or affiliation with several other AAA motor clubs across the country. To date, these include AAA Hawaii, AAA New Mexico, AAA Texas, AAA Northern New England (serving New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine),AAA Missouri (serving Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and portions of Illinois and Indiana), and AAA Alabama.

Other affiliated programs

From Central California northward, the California State Automobile Association, now called AAA Northern California, provides services to ACSC members who travel north.AAA Northern California and ACSC are both members of the AAA federation of motor clubs. While membership is not interchangeable among AAA clubs, each club provides certain services to all AAA members on a reciprocal basis, notably roadside assistance.

In recent years, the Auto Club has returned to its roots with involvement in auto racing, sponsoring the annual Auto Club 500 NASCAR race (Fontana) and NHRA Auto Club Finals (Pomona). The tracks where both events are held (Auto Club Speedway and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, respectively), along with a drag strip in Bakersfield (Auto Club Famoso Raceway), all have naming rights held by the Auto Club.

The Auto Club also sponsors the Top Fuel funny car team, John Force Racing, and its driver Robert Hight.

The Auto Club sponsors driver Sam Hornish Jr. in the Penske Racing No. 77 Dodge at selected races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.


External links

[] - ACSC traffic sign photos

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