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1917 Hudson racer


West Peterson

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This was in my e-mail this past weekend. Does anyone have any idea of when this appeared in Antique Automobile?

"Hello from England!

I have been tasked with finding out information on a Hudson racer from 1917. During my research, I was given a (very poor) scan of a page from one of your magazines. This is attached along with a picture showing the car in all its glory.

So my questions. Is it possible to track down the issue and get a better scan. Also, have you got any further information on this vehicle type?"

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NOT a 1917, but Ira Vail's 1919 Hudson factory INDY 500 car. I could write a full story for Antique Antimobile on this car, as I have all the paperwork on the car from the time is lived in Philadelphia. If someone has access to Motor Trend in the late 1940's there is a photo of it in the Letters to the Editor section, it was on a used car lot for sale. When Lindley Bothwell owned the car it had some magazine coverage, then it went to the Harrah Collection. It sold at auction was restored and I believe is in the Blackhawk collection today. It is on my "Buy List" when my PowerBall numbers are picked.

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Guest Jim Dillon
Our esteemed AACA Librarian has already produced the answer on this. December 1962, where a 12-page article on Hudson's "Famulous Supers" appeared.

Thanks, Chris!!!

West, is there a way I can get a copy of this article? I have never read a definitive piece on the Hudson Super Six racers. My real passion is the AAA racers from the 300 c.i. era.

Also I would love to see 37 do a piece, so I will take that as a promise. How do you know that Lindley Bothwell's car is the Vail Hudson? How many Hudson Racers in this configuration were built? A pretty amazing racer to compete with all of the off shore and American OHC cars of the era. Wouldn't mind one in my barn either.-Jim

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Guest Jim Dillon

Thanks Steve- I know of 37's passion for Ira Vail. Would be nice to see him put all of the Vail gold he is hoarding in his files to good use.-Jim

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Well if it is up to me to get Jim to write the Barney Pollard story them I'll write the Ira Vail Hudson story. I've seen a photo of three of thes cars when new, think it was on the HAMB. There were 3 in the 1919 INDY 500. I need to check things but I think the blocks were different than stock production blocks. Cameron Peck bought the car when it was in the used car lot in the late 1940's I believe, then Bothwall had it for years. It got the standard Bothwell repaint, and then went to Harrahs. I could have begged & borrowed enough to equil the auction sale price of $27,500. Tom Barrett won it and restored it, and I think Black Hawk has it now. What I have is all the paperwork that was keep by H.D.Carpenter of Philadelphia when he owned the car. Maintenance and parts bills, a few race programs, maybe the contract his lawyer drew up that spelled out the deal between R.J. Johnson. I know i have the 122 MILLER contract carpenter and Johnson had. Wonder how mant legal contracts like that are out there from the mid 1920'S? This HUDSON was licensed and runing around the streets of Philadelphia in the mid 1920"s.

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Guest Jim Dillon
Jim, I recently aquired a copy of that issue. Pm me your address and I'll send it to you. Your payment is the article for AA you've "promised" on your grandfather's collection.

Sent you a PM,thanks for the offer-deal-Jim

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Guest Jim Dillon
Well if it is up to me to get Jim to write the Barney Pollard story them I'll write the Ira Vail Hudson story. I've seen a photo of three of thes cars when new, think it was on the HAMB. There were 3 in the 1919 INDY 500. I need to check things but I think the blocks were different than stock production blocks. Cameron Peck bought the car when it was in the used car lot in the late 1940's I believe, then Bothwall had it for years. It got the standard Bothwell repaint, and then went to Harrahs. I could have begged & borrowed enough to equil the auction sale price of $27,500. Tom Barrett won it and restored it, and I think Black Hawk has it now. What I have is all the paperwork that was keep by H.D.Carpenter of Philadelphia when he owned the car. Maintenance and parts bills, a few race programs, maybe the contract his lawyer drew up that spelled out the deal between R.J. Johnson. I know i have the 122 MILLER contract carpenter and Johnson had. Wonder how mant legal contracts like that are out there from the mid 1920'S? This HUDSON was licensed and runing around the streets of Philadelphia in the mid 1920"s.[/quote

If I had to throw a dart I would guess there were 6 or 8 Hudson AAA racers. There were actually five that were entered for the 1919 Indy (Vail, Hickey, Haibe that qualified and ran quite well) and two that failed to qualify (Reynolds-1st alternate and Reynolds other Hudson driven by McVey). I can only imagine there were one or two that had various wounds sitting in a shop somewhere.

On Bothwell's Hudson I just was curious if you ever checked the numbers. His Peugeot was always claimed to be Resta's car alhough I believe it was the ex Lutcher Brown, ex DePalma, ex Frank Book, ex Art Klein Peugeot, that Bothwell I thought bought from Klein. In my opinion a much more valuable car with a much more colorful history than Dario Resta's car. Resta's car cannot be denied its winning ways though. KLein's car may have had a better cast of characters behind the wheel (including Mulford when Brown owned the car).

When I get the article on my grandfather in gear I will check on your progress as well-Jim

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Jim, I got to meet Lindley Bothwell and see his collection back in 1974, the Peugeot was stored side by side with the Hooker Special. The Hooker has been sold and restored, I really like to look of it when Lindley had it. I wonder if all the HUDSON INDY cars from 1919 looked the same. The Vail and Hickey cars look like twins but the Haibe car has a differeant style radiator. Vail claimed this HUDSON was the first car he ever drafted to gain enough speed to qualify at a Sheepshead Bay race. There is some related info in an Automobile Quarterly feature on him, same issue that used the above railroad car photo. It was common practioe pack then to ship race cars by rail, many board tracks had a railroad siding.

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The one in Antique Automobile? If so what is on the cover? I have the issue with the HUDSON when Cameron Peck owned it. It is here somewere not filed, knowing what the cover looks like saves on search time. Thanks, Bob:)

'37, you are going to have to wait for the rest of the story. I just read the article for the first time tonight. I'll let Jim tell it, he's a better story teller then I would ever be. There's some good pics too.
Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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Guest Stu - B

Hi,

Have watched this thread with interest being the person that e-mailed West Peterson. Can't believe the depth of knowledge. Impressed.

If anyone can help with the following questions it would really help me:

1) What does the item ringed on the picture below do? Close up it looks like a small ball joint or grease nipple, but I am not sure.

Hudson-1919-Copy.jpg

2) The article kindly sent to me by West Peterson states that the wheelbase is 105 inches. Is there any information around to verify that this figure is correct?

Finally, you may well be wondering why I am asking these questions and the answer is that I am working for a client that is re-creating a 1917 race car.

Any help gratefully appreciated.

SB

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Welcome to tha AACA Forum Stu, and thank you for such a nice project to talk about. The mystery feature looks like a cross shaft mount to me, two bolts to the chassis and a shaft that runs under it. Just a guess, but maybe it is part of the oil tank mount on the left side of the car. There are some great looking specials and Vintage clones racing in the UK, good luck with your project.

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Guest Jim Dillon
Hi,

Have watched this thread with interest being the person that e-mailed West Peterson. Can't believe the depth of knowledge. Impressed.

If anyone can help with the following questions it would really help me:

1) What does the item ringed on the picture below do? Close up it looks like a small ball joint or grease nipple, but I am not sure.

Hudson-1919-Copy.jpg

2) The article kindly sent to me by West Peterson states that the wheelbase is 105 inches. Is there any information around to verify that this figure is correct?

Finally, you may well be wondering why I am asking these questions and the answer is that I am working for a client that is re-creating a 1917 race car.

Any help gratefully appreciated.

SB

Stu, it is somewhat difficult to tell from this picture as the quality makes it a bit difficult. I have had pretty good success blowing up photographs but it helps to start out with a better photo. The way in which the bracket hangs down is a bit curious but if I had to hazard a guess my first guess may be that it has something to do with the belly pan. At speed these would catch a bit of air and they would need to be secured and under some tension I would presume.

As to the wheelbase in 1917 there were several races where the Hudson's of Vail and a few others had a 105 1/2 wheelbase. Mulford's had a 107 in 1917 but by 1919 Vails was listed as 105. A few others at Indy in 1919 were all over the map up to 112 1/2. For the most part 105 would be not unusual and some carried up to 112 ( a few were as short as the high nineties)

I am a bit curious as to what racer you are recreating. I have heard recently of an Elgin board track racer for sale with a Falls engine in the UK (allegedly a 1917 although that is a curiousity to me). Actual 1917 racecars are rare as the folks in Europe were quite busy with the great war. On our side of the pond by 1917 even most of the race shops were very busy with war work. There may be a few but most were built and christened 1916 or 1919 rather than 17 or 18. Not saying it is not possible just a tad rare to say the least. I have pics of quite a few of the racers and know most of the good stuff that ran-What are you building?Jim

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Someone within reach of Holliston MA needs to run questions past Fred Roe. I recall in a letter Fred said he had become custodian of Jerry Gebby's photo collection. I have a letter from Jerry in the late 60's (somewhere) telling that he had aspired to a guernsey on the Mercer racing team about about 1914; and also that he tried to persuade Eddie Pullen to release a set of Rudge Whitworth wire wheels to him for racing so he could improve his competitiveness. It seems Jerry always had an itchy finger on the shutter button of his camera: I always particularly looked forward to his articles in Antique Automobile on the racing history of various makes at Indianapolis when I was a member in the 60's and 70's.

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