ABOUT THE AUTO CLUB

OUR HISTORY

1900-1920

1920-1940

1940-1960

1960-1980

1980-2000

2000-Present


Serving members for over 100 years

From 10 members in 1900 to over 6 million members and counting


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1900-1910

AAA begins with just 10 members

1900 - Auto Club is founded by 10 Los Angeles-area businessmen and professionals. Within a few years, the 13 southern counties in California became the boundaries for the Auto Club service territory.

1903 - Auto Club sponsors races at Agricultural (later Exposition) Park.

1906 - Auto Club starts posting directional signs on California highways.

1909 - Auto Club issues its first maps in a guidebook detailing routes in and around Los Angeles. Auto Club also begins to issue license plates as an agent of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Touring Topics, the initial member magazine, is first distributed to members.


1910-1920

Inter-Insurance Exchange is founded

1912 - The Club's affiliated Inter-Insurance Exchange is authorized to sell insurance to members.

1914 - Auto Club starts the Theft Bureau to assist police in recovering stolen vehicles. Auto Club mounts signs throughout the Southwest to mark the route of the National Old Trails Road, later known as Route 66.

1916 - The Forwarding Department is established to ship members' cars cross-country and is later expanded to provide full travel services. 

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1920-1930

Public Safety Department is formed

1921 - Public Safety Department is formed to educate students on traffic safety.

1923 - Club Headquarters building opens at Adams and Figueroa in Los Angeles.

1924 - Emergency Road Service starts as Highway Patrol Service and later expands to include contract towing.

1925 - Public Safety Department produces "Why Be a Goose," the Club's first safety film for schoolchildren.


1930-1940

AAA Touring and Roadside Assistance in Las Vegas

1930 - Headquarters building becomes a closed courtyard complex with the completion of rear wings.

1933 - From 1933 to 1955, the Auto Club operates a branch office in Las Vegas to provide touring services and roadside assistance to members in southern Nevada.

1934 - Held first Outing Show at Headquarters, showcasing camping and outdoor recreation. Touring Topics renamed Westways to signify its broader cultural mission.

1937 - Club engineer Ernest East proposes a network of parkways for Los Angeles.

1938 - Auto Club provides registrations for more than 170,000 member vehicles.

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1940-1950

AAA special services during World War ll

1941 - During World War ll, the Auto Club provides special maps to the military, sponsors scrap drives, promotes war bonds, and guarantees the jobs of its employees who were called to serve.

1946 - Westways resumes the cover-art program, showcasing the vibrant California watercolor movement.


1950-1960

AAA Travel Department opens

1956 - 1959 - 36 new Branch Offices open to cope with the boom in population and membership.

1957 - Foreign and Domestic Travel Department is formed; cruises become a popular offering.


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1960-1970

Automotive Research Center opens

1961 - 1971 - Era of mass freeway construction in Southern California.

1963 - Auto club conducts emissions tests on 1,000 cars in cooperation with the California Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board.

1967 - Automotive Research Center opens to conduct studies of vehicle emissions and performance.

1968 - Rapid construction of new Auto Club Branch Offices brings the total to 78.



1970-1980

Approved Auto Repair Program launched

1970 - Approved Auto Repair Program is launched to identify superior repair facilities.

1972 - Frances Ring became editor of Westways and led the magazine to its greatest literary achievement, including regular contributions from Anais Nin, M.F.K. Fisher, Richard Lillard, Norman Corwin, and the return of Lawrence Clark Powell and Carey McWilliams. Richard Lillard, Westways columnist for Frances Ring, was among the first to point out the environmental implications of land development in California.

1974 - Auto Club co-founds Commuter Computer to aid Los Angeles-area ridesharing and reduce traffic congestion.

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1980-1990

Homeowners insurance plans become available

1982 - Processing Center opens in Costa Mesa to house insurance operations and systems.

1983 - Auto Club begins offering homeowners insurance to its members.

1984 - Auto Club begins repair skills contest to encourage high school students to consider careers as auto technicians.


1990-2000

Auto Club sponsors NHRA Finals

1995 - A new category of membership, AAA Plus®, provides enhanced benefits to members. "Show Your Card & Save" consolidates into one program to promote the many retail discounts available to Auto Club members.

1996 - Auto Club-sponsored uninsured motorists law passes. Auto Club begins offering services online.

1997 - Auto Club begins to offer life insurance to its members. Processing Center doubles in size to become the Administrative Offices. Auto Club leads the effort to establish Graduated Driver Licensing in California.

1999 - Auto Club acquires tour provider Pleasant Holidays, achieving vertical integration in travel services. Auto Club becomes a title sponsor of National Hot Rod Association Finals, putting its name on a major national drag-racing event for the first time.

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2000-2010

Auto Club offers Driving School classes

2000 - Auto Club celebrates its Centennial with a year of special events and publications.

2001 - Auto Club begins to offer Licensed-to-Learn driver education classes.

2002 - Auto Club-sponsored Proposition 42 passes to increase funding for transportation.

2004 - AAA Premier® membership added with the highest level of member benefits.

2005 - Auto Club begins to offer collector car insurance.

2008 - California Speedway is renamed Auto Club Speedway in recognition of Auto Club sponsorship.


2010-Present

Alternative Fuel Research Program Launches

2010 - December 21, 2010: Auto Club handles over 25,000 roadside service calls, the most ever in a single day.

2011 - The Auto Club launches an alternative fuel research program, including the lease of "smart4two" electric vehicles to use in daily Club operations.

2012 - Alternative fuel research program adds electric-vehicle charging truck and fixed-site charging stations at Auto Club locations in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

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