On The Road With Premier

1911 Premier Ocean to Ocean Tour
1911 Premier Ocean to Ocean Tour

During the infancy of automotive history, consumers were skeptical of the reliability of automobiles. So to prove their products’ capabilities on the road, many automakers sponsored coast-to-coast trips.

Premier Motor Manufacturing Company was one that followed this policy. In fact, 12 Premiers in 1911 became the first caravan of autos ever to cross the United States. They used a network of roads to travel from Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Venice Park, California.

The journey started with an idea formed by several wealthy Premier owners, mostly from Pennsylvania and New York. They wanted to show that previous sponsors of transcontinental races had overplayed their victories by describing the roads as more treacherous than they were.

So, 40 travelers out of the group set out from the Atlantic Ocean on June 26, 1911, and headed west to report their findings.

1911 Premier Prairie Schooner
1911 Premier Prairie Schooner – Photo provided by NAHC

Premier supported the effort by supplying the caravan’s 12th vehicle, a mechanic, and factory test driver to accompany the travelers. Nicknamed the “millionaire auto party,” the caravan made headlines across the route.

Premier used the success of its 1911 Ocean-to-Ocean tour as part of its advertising campaign.

They stopped each night in the best hotels available in the location and traveled in relative luxury for the time. Each vehicle traveled about 4,617 miles with mechanical troubles amounting to only four broken springs. After 45 days, the group concluded their journey by dipping their wheels in the Pacific Ocean.

“There is a general feeling that the Pacific and Atlantic coasts have been brought closer together,” according to Motor Age, “and transcontinental touring by pleasure parties is now expected to become common since the first tour of this kind has been such an unqualified success.”

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