The fateful purchase and the early years
1960 (Atlanta, GA)
Dean of Student Affairs Jim Dull realizes the need for a physical mascot for the Institute after witnessing campus fraternities parade around their "Recks" as symbols of school spirit. He officially sanctions a search for a pre-WWII Ford (in the spirit of Dean Field's old car), spreading print and radio ads across the state and country in order to find a suitable car. His quest is fruitless until later that year...Learn More »
May 20, 1960 (Atlanta, GA)
Delta pilot Ted Johnson had purchased an old 1930 Ford Model A Sport Coupe from a junkyard in 1956, and he and his son Craig spent the last four years restoring the car to proper working order as a father-son project. When Craig competes at Tech as part of the 1960 Florida State track and field team, Johnson parks the restored car near Towers dormitory before making his way to the track. When he returns, he finds a note from Dean Dull on his windshield, offering to buy the car to serve as Tech's official mascot.
May 26, 1961 (Atlanta, GA)
After a long period of discussion, Johnson finally relents and sells the Model A to the school for $1000. He later returns this sum in 1984 so that the car is recognized as a donation to the school.
September 30, 1961 (Atlanta, GA)
Fans at Tech's 1961 first home football game witness a curious sight - a car leading the football team out on to the field! Dean Dull's gamble pays off as the newly-christened Ramblin' Reck leads Tech's football team out of the locker room against Rice University. Tech goes on to blank Rice 24-0, kicking the new tradition of the Reck off with a bang.Learn More »
November 18, 1961 (Birmingham, AL)
The Reck goes on the road for the first time, traveling by railcar to Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. Unfortunately, Tech falls to Alabama 10-0, and the game sparks a feud between Alabama head coach Bear Bryant and Bobby Dodd after Alabama senior linebacker Darwin Holt launched himself into Tech star Chick Graning's upper body after the end of a play, breaking large portions of Graning's facial bones and skull. Furious after Bryant refused to publicly apologize for the incident, Dodd cancels Tech's football contract with Alabama and refuses to play Alabama any longer, pointing to Bryant's (non)reaction to his player's actions and his standing reputation as an "outlaw" coach whose players played dirty. This incident also set the stage for Tech's exit from the Southeastern Conference.Learn More »
December 30, 1961 (Jacksonville, FL)
The Reck heads to Jacksonville for Tech's Gator Bowl showdown versus Penn State, marking its first bowl game appearance. Unfortunately, Tech would lose 30-15, but this game marked the beginning of a long-standing tradition for the Reck to travel with the football team to big games.Learn More »
October 11, 1963 (Knoxville, TN)
After a 23-7 thumping at the hands of Tech, Tennessee fans break the Reck out of storage in Neyland Stadium, paint it orange, and rip the soft top. Tennessee's athletic department allegedly enables the vandalism, given the result of the previous day's game. Tech sends Tennessee a bill for the damages, which remains unpaid to this day...Learn More »
January 2, 1967 (Miami, FL)
The Reck makes its first bowl appearance in Miami as the Yellow Jackets face off against the Florida Gators. Unfortunately, Tech is unable to best its former SEC rival and falls 27-12.Learn More »
1968 (Atlanta, GA)
Tech's student government votes to disband its Ramblin' Reck Committee, turning over control of the car to Ramblin' Reck Club. The driver of the Reck is now elected from the club's ranks.