Traditions: Georgia Tech's Ramblin' Wreck a ride through history

What separates college football from any other sport is the sheer scope of traditions.

More than 120 schools play in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and each school probably believes its tradition is the best.

In their unique way, they can all make a compelling case to prove it.

Take Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ Wreck, the focus of’s next installment of a series on some of the most interesting traditions in college football. Each Friday here at the Eye on College Football blog, we take a closer look at the enduring rituals that are part of the fabric of the college game.

In a recent trip to Atlanta, I admittedly didn’t think Georgia Tech’s 1930 Model A Ford Sport Coupe could compete with Florida’s Gator Chomp or Auburn’s War Eagle or even its in-state rival, the Georgia Bulldog. Maybe Tech coming off a 7-7 season affected the Wreck’s immediate place in college football folklore.

But then I remembered: This is a 1930 Model A Ford Sport Coupe. For 83 years, Georgia Tech has nurtured the engine, kept the gold-and-white paint job immaculate, every detail polished and refined.

The Ramblin' Reck Club (yes, that's the correct spelling), composed of Georgia Tech students, drives the Wreck through campus every Friday before games, then onto the field before kickoff the next day.

If that’s not an awesome tradition, then we might as well let Elon play FBS football. The Wreck’s even been on Interstate 85, and got up to 73 mph once. “I think ours is the best,” Barrett Ahlers, a fifth-year senior majoring in civil engineering and purveyor of the Wreck, says of the tradition. “There’s nothing like it. It’s unique.”

Try driving in it. The Reck crew let me ride shotgun as we drove through campus. Freshmen tried to touch the car, but quickly got an obnoxious honk. Freshmen can’t touch. Nearly every student turned around and stared at the car as it drove by. Others snapped pictures when it stopped.

These are details you might not know unless you’re there. And that’s the point of the ‘Traditions’ series, to accentuate the nuance of school traditions, to tell a story about from where they came and where they are going.

We will tell these stories throughout the year as reporters visit campuses for games.

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