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History o/t CRUISING THE SONIC..i was there when it started

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hotrod-Linkin, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. hotrod-Linkin
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 3,382

    hotrod-Linkin
    Member

    Troy N. Smith, Sr. opened a restaurant that would become the first Sonic Drive-In at Stillwater, Oklahoma in 1953. Smith's original plan was to tear down the existing small walk up root beer stand, called the "Top Hat", and open a steakhouse in the log cabin that was on the site. After realizing that the stand was averaging $700.00 a week in the sale of root beer, hamburgers and hot dogs Smith decided to keep the stand open and never continued on the planned steakhouse.
    Originally at the Top Hat customers would park anywhere on the gravel lot and walk up to place their orders. However, on a trip to Louisiana, Smith saw a drive-in that utilized speakers for ordering. He realized that he could increase his sales if he could control the parking and have the customers order from speakers at their cars. Carhops would then deliver the food to the customers. Smith borrowed several cars from a friend who owned a used car lot to establish a layout for controlled parking. He also had some so called "jukebox boys" come in and wire an intercom system in the parking lot. Sales tripled immediately and his little root beer stand was a huge success. Entrepreneur Charles Woodrow Pappe stopped by chance at the Shawnee drive-in and was very impressed. He got out of his car and began to take measurements of the stalls, trying to figure out why they were not all the same size, assuming that it was an essential ingredient of the business plan. Smith came out and introduced himself and explained that the stalls were different sizes simply because different-sized cars had been used when he laid everything out. The two men hit it off and negotiated the first franchise location in Woodward, Oklahoma, in 1956.
    By 1958, two more drive-ins were built in Enid and Shawnee, Oklahoma. Upon learning that the Top Hat name was already trademarked, Troy Smith and Charles Pappe changed the name to Sonic. The new name worked with their existing slogan "Service with the Speed of Sound". After the name change, the first Sonic sign was installed at the former Top-Hat Drive-In Stillwater, Oklahoma. This location has been considered to be the first Sonic Drive-In, and the original sign can still be seen in Stillwater. While Smith and Pappe were being asked to help open new franchise locations, however, there was no royalty plan in place. The pair decided to have their paper company charge an extra penny for each Sonic label hamburger bag they sold. The proceeds were to split half for Smith and half for Pappe. The first franchise contracts under this plan were drawn up by Smith's landlord O.K. Winterringer, who was also a lawyer. At the time, there was no joint marketing plan or standardized menu and few operating requirements.
    our old buddy troy didn't know what he had started...now people are cruising sonics all over the world. i should have stayed,i was a carhop at the original old top hat,then sonic when i was 12....i could be stinking rich now.
     
  2. rick finch
    Joined: May 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,003

    rick finch
    Member

    Classic case of woulda, shoulda, coulda........been there alot my friend!:)
     
  3. whamoman
    Joined: Jun 23, 2008
    Posts: 152

    whamoman
    Member
    from USA

    Great story! If we only knew at the time...thanks for sharing
     
  4. i found a quarter on the ground once at the sonic! if i score like that a few more times ill be livin large!:D
     

  5. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,488

    Pir8Darryl
    Member

    Dont care for the mystery meat they use on the burgers, but the drinks are kickin' good.
     
  6. paintcan54
    Joined: Oct 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,100

    paintcan54
    Member

    We had Sonic's in Indianapolis, IN. for a short time, we liked some of the food and the drinks were killer. The ones here did not catch on now they are all gone. We have two drive ins left in Indy, food at both nothing to spacial.
     
  7. the-rodster
    Joined: Jul 2, 2003
    Posts: 6,763

    the-rodster
    Member

    I found this in a 50 Ford at an auction.

    Ahhh, the good ol days....
     

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  8. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,869

    chaddilac
    Member

    I don't remember the original sign... I'll have to swing by and check that out again. I do know they have a new sonic bought a mile away though.
     
  9. Verrrrrry interesting. I think they are pretty good.
    Used to be a few in Wichita way back. I think there's one in El Dorado, Ks. It's been there for years. They just started coming into to Minnesota about a year ago.
     
  10. Very cool story. We have had them here in Dallas as long as I can remember. I love 'em. And the new tacos they have........I could make my self sick on them, they are freaking good.
     
  11. rallisracing
    Joined: Nov 3, 2008
    Posts: 199

    rallisracing

    Man, I remember cruising the Sonic in dear old Vernon. All my buddies, and the hot cars were there ( kinda like in 2 Lane Black Top), and of course all the ladies. I had a semi fast 65 Mustang 2+2 (still have it) and all the races originated from there. I sure miss those days....
     
  12. hotrod-Linkin
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 3,382

    hotrod-Linkin
    Member

    we are still cruising the same[updated]sonics we did in the late fifties...and still love the cheesburgers,poodle skirts and roller skates......and there will be 25 to 90 cool rides there every weekend and thursday night.
     
  13. Yikes - tacos at Sonic?
     
  14. hotrod-Linkin
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 3,382

    hotrod-Linkin
    Member

    it's a texas thang man!!!
     
  15. camargma
    Joined: Feb 6, 2008
    Posts: 110

    camargma

    you cant find sonics up here in fargo. so when we were at the hamb drags last august, we ate there 3 times. i would of eaten there non stop all weekend, but i was restrained from doing so. :D
     
  16. hotrod-Linkin
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 3,382

    hotrod-Linkin
    Member

    we're cruising two sonics thusday night about 35 miles apart..i'll eat twice...will be thinking about you while i'm on my second super sonic burger
     
  17. Buildy
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,521

    Buildy
    Member

    I used to have lots of fun back in the 70s at the Sonic in Lubbock TX when I was a kid in the Air Force(Jet Mechanic) with a hopped up 64 Vette. Fri,Sat were the best cruise nights. Lots of cute Texas girls!
     
  18. hotrod-Linkin
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 3,382

    hotrod-Linkin
    Member

    while you were in lubbock ,i was cruising sonics in witchita falls at sheppard. 43151c....
     
  19. Badfella
    Joined: Jun 14, 2004
    Posts: 1,151

    Badfella
    Member

    They just opened one in my neck of the woods! Our club has taken it over on Wed nights;)
     
  20. hotrod-Linkin
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 3,382

    hotrod-Linkin
    Member

    sonics were made for hotrods.....
     
  21. I used to love Sonic. In the last decade or two the quality of the food has really suffered. I think they must spend all their money getting those two queers in the suv to do their commercials.
     
  22. Buildy
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,521

    Buildy
    Member

    "while you were in lubbock ,i was cruising sonics in witchita falls at sheppard. 43151c.... <!-- / message --> <!-- sig --> "

    I was in Witcihta falls,too,for Tech school,but I had no car at Sheppard,never got to Sonic in that town.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2009
  23. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,057

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Ask Twisted Okie about em, he is part of the history;)

    We have one here with another being built. Nice greasy food, like we want!
     

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