New Route 66 Landmark: Permanent Route 66 Drive-Thru Shield premieres in Kingman, Ariz.

A classic car goes under the Route 66 drive-thru shield in Kingman, Ariz. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Kingman, Ariz. — A brand new, permanent Route 66 drive-thru shield was installed along historic Route 66 in Kingman, Ariz. on Saturday, July 24. It also features neon lights that are automatically illuminated at sundown.

Each year, car enthusiasts could get their photo taken with a temporary drive-thru shield during the annual Route 66 Fun Run. However, Route 66 enthusiasts kept asking the city for a permanent drive-thru shield that would remain on display all year long. On Saturday July 24, 2021 the dream became a reality for all to enjoy. 

“Welcome to Kingman, the heart of Route 66,” said Josh Noble, tourism manager for the City of Kingman. “This has been a long-awaited project and a long-anticipated landmark. A temporary shield like this was used at the Fun Run in 1990. That was at the Mohave County Fairgrounds. Fun Run participants would return every year excited about the prospect of driving underneath the famous sign. All of this time, where can I get my picture under that?”

Legacy Signs was selected to build and construct the giant drive-thru shield. It was especially engineered to withstand high gusty winds that Kingman is known for in the Spring.

“We’re so proud to sponsor this City of Kingman project, and we can’t wait for visitors to Arizona’s Route 66 to enjoy it,” said Nikki Seegers, director of operations at the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona.

Kingman Mayor Jen Miles was among the first participants to ride under the new shield in a white Chevrolet Corvette on Saturday evening.

“It’s a very, very important road alive because it symbolizes the freedom of our country,” Miles told the crowd during the ceremony. “We have the most beautiful, longest stretch of Route 66 right here in Kingman. I’m very proud to be here tonight and I thank everyone who is here. We’re going to turn on the lights and get this thing started.”

The special event also featured music and a car show—with 66 classic vehicles paying tribute to Route 66. It all took place in the parking lot of the powerhouse visitors center across from Mr D’z Diner. 

Car enthusiast Lonnie Taylor introduced me to this 1966 Pro Street Chevy Nova SS.

“It’s got 456 gears, a 496 big block engine, 700 horses,” Taylor said. “The motor sits back eight inches. It’s completely re-done, the only thing that’s standard on that car is the body. I’ve never really had it as fast as it will go yet. We had it on a quarter-mile and it was 170 [mph]. It can probably go a little more, but not with me in it.”

Car owner Paul who goes by the nickname “Donkey” told me the story behind his 1928 Ford.

“It belonged to my step brother’s dad, so all of us kids back in the day, all of our first welds were back in this car,” he explained. “It’s got a ’65 Mustang running gear, motor, trans and rear end. My step brother’s dad was a motion picture guy in special effects. He taught all of his kids nuts and bolts, how to weld, paint, sand. This whole car was built by kids who were 18-19 and under. I did the suspension, paint, interior, not all by myself with guidance. He taught me how to sew. I know a lot of manly men don’t want to use a sewing machine. This whole car was built in a garage.”

Each night at sundown, the Route 66 drive-thru shield will be illuminated with neon lights. It makes for an awesome photo opportunity.

Visit the new illuminated Route 66 Drive-Thru Shield at 120 W Andy Devine Ave #2, Kingman, AZ 86401. It will remain on permanent display 365 days a year.

Video by Jason Rzucidlo / AmericaJR

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