Cover for 1930
The First Automobile Trip in North America, from Manhattan to Managua
Arthur Lyon. Edited by Larry Lyon, with annotations by Denis Wood and an afterword by Sally Denton
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Imagine setting out on a road trip in a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster, with the stated goal of traveling from Manhattan to Mexico and Central America, after only a week’s worth of preparation. This is exactly what brothers Arthur Lyon and Joe Lyon Jr. did on March 23, 1930. The Lyons acquired some camping gear, studied a few maps, and mounted in the car’s rear seat a fifty-five-gallon oil drum equipped with a gas feed for extra fuel. They divided up the princely sum of $324 in cash to fund their expedition.

The story related here is replete with the brothers’ accounts of the challenges the young men faced on their epic journey, including encounters with a fascinating cast of characters—and unforgettable brushes with fate such as a Mexican freight train that nearly ran them and their car off the rails. The amazing 1930 journey of the young Lyon brothers can be seen as the centerpiece of a larger story, of a pair of lives lived out not just as brothers but as partners in an emerging automobile age.

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