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Your favourite roller coasters built before 1990

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. From reading through various people's ranking lists and listening to enthusiasts talk over the years, I've noticed that there seems to be a general consensus that most people's lists only tend to contain modern coasters. The sort of coasters dominating today's top 10s mostly seem to have been built within the last 20-25 years or so; some top 10s have nothing built before 2010 in them! So I'd be interested to know; what are your favourite coasters built before 1990? The reason I pick 1990 is because even though 2000 may seem like a more obvious choice, I'd say the early to mid 1990s was when we saw the first " modern coasters" so to speak pop up, utilising things like CAD design and smoother track to provide a ride experience that is still highly acclaimed to this day by many (e.g. Nemesis, Kumba, Montu et al). But the 1980s and the decades before didn't really produce too many coasters that are universally praised by today's enthusiasts.

So, I'll get the ball rolling with my personal top 5 coasters built before 1990:
  1. Nickelodeon Streak at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (opened 1933, #19 in overall ranking)
  2. Space Mountain Alpha at Disney's Magic Kingdom (opened 1975, #22 in overall ranking)
  3. Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (opened 1923, #23 in overall ranking)
  4. Revolution at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (opened 1979, #32 in overall ranking)
  5. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney's Magic Kingdom (opened 1980, #34 in overall ranking)
Those rankings initially sound quite high, but it is worth remembering that I've only ridden 66 coasters at present; there is a definite bias towards modern coasters in my rankings, making this all the more interesting!

But I'd be intrigued to know; what are your favourite pre-1990 coasters? I'd be especially intrigued to hear some of your favourite pre-1990 steel coasters, as there are quite a few very highly acclaimed classic woodies (rides like the Coney Island Cyclone and Phoenix at Knoebels amongst others come to mind), whereas pre-1990 steel coasters don't seem to make so much as a dent in many modern rankings!
 

CrashCoaster

Well-Known Member
This is a tricky one for me... I really enjoy Revolution at Blackpool, but I am a fan of a classic Schwarzkopf. If you'd said before 2000 it would be much easier.
 

GuyWithAStick

Captain Basic
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
Phoenix for me! Airtime galore with just a buzzbar? Yes please!

Other notable mentions include Space Mountain WDW and American Eagle, which are the only two older rides that come anywhere close to Phoenix.
 

Kw6sTheater

Member
Mindbender at Galaxyland (1986), Phoenix at Knoebels (1947, relocated in 1985) and The Beast (1979) all crack my top 10 favorite coasters with Mindbender at #5.
 

Alex B

Member
I ❤ pheonix but it’s overrated Nonetheless I still ❤ pheonix because it has no restraints and gives fantastic air

Space mountain-meh

Runaway mine train-nooo

Thunderhawk (dorney)- good for what it is but nowhere near pheonix
 

Benenen

Member
Had a look through my spreadsheet and the clear standout is Rutschebanen at Tivoli Gardens. There's so much airtime, the little indoor scenes and animals are adorable and it rides slightly differently each time due to the brakeman. It's so smooth as well considering it's from 1914, it's clear the park have poured their heart and soul into this ride since it opened.
 

thepoweroften

New Member
Nickelodeon Streak was my first ever coaster (back when it was ‘Rollercoaster’) so it’s up there for me as well. Aside from that I haven’t ridden many that are that old - I haven’t been back to BPB since I was about seven years old and was too scared to ride many of the woodies then, so if & when I’m able to go back one day my rankings may well change!
 

HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Our spreadsheet says...

1. Rutschebanan @ Tivoli Gardens
2. Lisebergbanan @ Liseberg
3. Comet @ Hersheypark
4. Eurosat @ Europa Park
5. Bandit @ Yomiuriland
6. Olympia Looping @ Travelling
7. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad @ Disneyland
8. Raptor Attack @ Lightwater Valley
9. Wild Mouse @ Blackpool
10. Wild One @ Six Flags America

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Benenen

Member
Eurosat is such a good shout for this, it was a fantastic retro coaster. It had the perfect level of roughness to make it feel faster and more out of control without making it uncomfortable to ride. I think on the whole I do prefer CanCan Coaster for the extra theming and level of polish but it's a shame the original is gone because it was something special.
 
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