American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) recognizes Whizzer at Six Flags Great America as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation reserved for rides of historic significance.
Designed by engineer Werner Stengel (1936- ) and manufactured by the legendary Anton Schwarzkopf (1926-2001), Whizzer is the last remaining large, steel, custom-built Schwarzkopf "Speedracer" coaster in North America. Originally named Willard's Whizzer after Marriott founder J. Willard Marriott when the park opened as Marriott's Great America on May 29, 1976, it was one of two identical rides to open that same year. The other ride, which had opened earlier on March 20, 1976, was located at Marriott's Great America in Santa Clara, California. In the 1980s, the names of both coasters were shortened to just Whizzer. Unfortunately, the coaster in California was removed in 1988, only a few years after both parks were sold to different owners.
Featuring an unusual electric lift system with the motors built within the ride's toboggan-style vehicles, the trains ascend 70 feet to the top of the spiral lift hill. Riders then experience strong, positive G-forces as the four-car, 24-passenger trains plummet down steep drops into tight, heavily banked turns, reaching speeds up to 45 mph along the 3,100 feet of winding drops and turns.
ACE commends Six Flags Great America for preserving and maintaining Whizzer. While other parks have retired similar coasters to make way for new rides, Whizzer continues to thrill new generations of riders well into the 21st century.
Presented by American Coaster Enthusiasts
August 10, 2012