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Z-Force Revisited

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Z-Force Revisited

Postby RandyV » Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:53 pm

This is borderline Marriott content, since Z-Force came in in '85, after Marriott sold the park -- but I figure Marriott must have had a hand in buying or designing the ride.

Anyway -- Z-Force (Flashback at SF Magic Mountain) is slated to be taken down this winter, and put into storage, probably to never be heard from again.

This got me to thinking about this unique ride. Looking back, Z-Force is one of my favorites. Not the tallest or fastest, but a great ride for its size. I sill have videotape from '85 of the various Chicago news media riding. Great stuff!

I remember when it first opened in '85, and also about my last ride on it at Magic Mountain in '94. The ride is/was in deplorable condition when I rode it in California. The track was rough, the ride felt like the wheels weren't round -- it was pretty sad. It seems like most people hate the ride because it has been so neglected over the years.

But let's talk about the ride when the white and blue paint was shiny, the cars were blue, and the track was smooth ... :)

For those of you who worked at the park -- do you have any odd or funny stories about Z-Force? As a one-of-a-kind ride, was it more of a problem for the park? I seem to recall the ride being down a lot in '86 or '87, right before it was moved from Great America.

Another question -- when the ride opened, it had very "skinny" shoulder harnesses, which, if I remember correctly, were replaced with much thicker and harder versions after the first season. Any comments on why that change was made?
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Postby RandyV » Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:31 pm

Lots of views and no comments? Wow ... maybe I am the only one who liked Z-Force. :) :)
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Postby SFGAmfreak4life » Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:49 am

I went to SFMM in 2002 and I was lucky enough to ride Flashback a few times in a row. I thought the ride was smooth and it was a lot of fun for a smaller coaster. It's a shame that it has been neglected and that it's going to be torn down.
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Postby Glorfindel7 » Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:00 pm

RandyV wrote:Lots of views and no comments? Wow ... maybe I am the only one who liked Z-Force. :) :)


I liked it too, but really don't remember much about it, as it was ONLY at GA for about 4 years...

I remember my first time riding it was at a Post Office Union Day and it was around the FIRST month it was open. I remember that the ride opened at noon and more or less was the only ride that was OPEN that day due to the weather (it was one of those days where it rained just enough to get you wet, but not enough to stick... hate those kind of days :( ) The wait for it was over 3 hours because they were only running one coaster.

I think I may have ridden it about 10 times or so but it seemed that it was "broken down" more than up and running for most of the years it was at GA.
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Postby redfishpaw » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:06 pm

I remember my first ride on the Z-force in 1985. It was before the ride had opened to the public. I worked on clipper and after the park closed I was told that they were running Z-force that evening our crew could go for a ride. We didn't want to miss that opportunity and we ran over to the Z-force. I believe they let us go twice. It was pretty cool.
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Postby tillenterprises » Fri Oct 19, 2007 10:49 pm

I loved Z-Force! It's kind of like a 4th dimensional wild mouse. I wish somebody could save this ride and restore it to it's former glory!
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Flashback 1994

Postby WestBurbs14 » Sat Oct 20, 2007 12:27 pm

I didn't go to the park in 1985-87. I finally got there in '88 for Shock Wave. I couldn't find Z-Force, so I asked a park employee about it, and they said it had been moved to Georgia! Aargh!

I went to Magic Mountain in 1994, so I finally rode it then. I have only the vaguest recollection of it, so it probably was just o.k. I seem to remember that the harnesses were uncomfortable and that I was trying to brace myself on each turn to avoid getting pummelled.
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Postby coasterfan71555 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:17 pm

Count me in - I loved the Z-Force, too! I also remember waiting for it to open in 1985. It looked twisted and definitely unique. I remember so clearly, I was driving home from a job interview on July 10, 1985, and saw on the park sign that Z-Force had opened that day. I raced home (20 miles west of the park), and called my cousin, and told her it was open, and asked if she wanted to go try it (we had season passes). So, we drove back to Gurnee, got to the park at about 6 PM, and went straight to Z-Force, and we were so pleased. It was quirky, but loads of fun, and I remained a fan for the rest of its run. I was able to ride it at Georgia in 1990, and found it as rideable there as in Gurnee. But when I chanced to ride it at Magic Mountain, I wondered what they did to make it so horrible! I often wished they would bring it back to Gurnee, feeling we could make it run well again, but I do not think that will happen. I always enjoyed the Z-Force, and feel it is something for Great America to be proud of. It was, and will remain, truly one-of-a-kind. By the way, it was Great America's first 4-across seating coaster, and its designers included the founders of B&M, before they struck out on their own in 1989. Z-Force rocked! I miss it, but time does march on! :)
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Postby that_guy » Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:43 pm

Just browsing Youtube again and noticed these videos (which I don't think were mentioned before):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-K0CwQ6j60&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOzYRbEfZMs

Never thought Wendys would sponser Z Force, lol
The rides are GREAT, the shows are GREAT, the fun is GREAT, at Marriott's Great America! REMEMBER Marriott's GREAT AMERICA, REMEMBER Marriott's GREAT AMERICA!
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Postby RandyV » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:00 pm

And now it's for sale ... make an offer!

http://www.irmpri.com/product.htm
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Postby Papas » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:42 am

Im surprised its not for sale on a scrap metal website instead of an amusement ride seller website, i'd like to see a park try to get that thing to move again :lol:.
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Postby RandyV » Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:01 pm

Yeah, according to the rumors, the park was going to dismantle it and possibly rebuild in another location. However, recent talk says that Magic Mountain has already signed a contract for demolition.

It's really too bad. I hate to see one-of-kind rides go down like this -- especially one that started life at Great America. Z-Force isn't a bad ride ... and as an "entry level" coaster it is really very fun. But in this day of bigger, taller, faster -- I guess it doesn't make sense.

I was hoping for a Whizzer-like saving outcry from coaster fans, but Z-Force/Flashback is almost universally disliked because of the lack of maintenance its been given since landing at Magic Mountain.

I sent park management a letter recalling the history of the ride in hopes that they might spare it. But I know better ... it's a dollars and cents business and as you said, Papas, the steel is probably worth more to Six Flags at this point.
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Postby benzo41190 » Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:36 pm

I think it would be interesting for Intamin to remake this coaster. Keep the style and layout, but modify the trains and the seats. Actually, it would be cool if they would put Z-Force in the TDK building and have that be "The Dark Knight". Add some cool effects, change the trains and it would be awsome.

...too bad SixFlags isnt fun :( :lol:
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Postby Papas » Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:35 pm

RandyV wrote:I sent park management a letter recalling the history of the ride in hopes that they might spare it. But I know better ... it's a dollars and cents business and as you said, Papas, the steel is probably worth more to Six Flags at this point.

Its not only that its worth more as scrap metal, the ride is in terrible shape and would require lots of $ to get in operating condition again. Its just not a popular ride and not worth investing to get it operating again. Even when it was at SFMM on the busiest days, it was pretty much always empty trains.

I think it would be interesting for Intamin to remake this coaster. Keep the style and layout, but modify the trains and the seats. Actually, it would be cool if they would put Z-Force in the TDK building and have that be "The Dark Knight". Add some cool effects, change the trains and it would be awsome.

Z-Force could not modify the trains because of poor design that led to clearance issues which is why it had those coffin trains.
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Postby RandyV » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:36 am

Looks like the day of reckoning has come.

http://www.rollercoasterpro.com/community/showthread.php?t=435&highlight=flashback

RIP Z-Force.
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