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Period RACE CAR Images to Relieve some of the Stress


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  • 1 month later...

Here is a map of the route that the Vanderbilt Cup Race in its first year of 1904 took that was reprinted by the Long Island Old Car Club . The L.I. OCC was a local group of enthusiasts of cars of pre WWII era more specifically 1935 or earlier. Most of the cars used by members for the events and celebrations were of the brass era. When the club was in existence as late as 1988 there would be anniversary celebrations of the Vanderbilt Cup Races - 50th, 55th, 60th, 80th etc and all would be driving events to try to cover parts of the original route of the races that were still there. The last major anniversary run and following dinner was in 1988 and 1938 was the cut off date for cars invited to attend, it celebrated the 80th anniversary of the 1908 race when Locomobile won that race ( and the car that won the race was in attendance) For that anniversary there were 100+ pre 1938 cars in attendance , the newest was a 1938 Packard conv coupe. I was active on the committee that organized the anniversary runs and dinners as was Austin Clark, Bill & Pat Tyrrel, Joe Bowra, and Joe and Mary Wulfkin..

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Edited by Walt G
typo, name addition (see edit history)
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Here are the two 1906 Locomobile race cars pictured together at a race camp preparing for the American Elimination Trials. Both were numbered 12 at this time but in 1908, in the Vanderbilt Cup Race, one was numbered 16, with the other carrying the number 1. They were said to be identical cars  but had slight cosmetic differences. Both cars remain today, the number 16 largely unrestored and displayed in a museum and the number 1 restored and in private hands. The history of both cars is well known. The number 16 of course, won the 08 Vanderbilt Cup Race with the number 1 car placing second. It is amazing to realize Locomobile took first and second place in this historic race. This was the first time an American built car won a race against European cars.

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These two cars were special built race cars, not production model cars, for modified racing. There were several categories of racing in the early days and cars were grouped together in what was considered to be fair races. The cars were mostly divided by cubic inches. The Vanderbilt Cup, referenced in this post and the one above, was mostly about who could build the greatest race car.

Edited by AHa (see edit history)
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Here's another view of this unique race car. I'm not knowledgeable enough to be certain, but this might be 999. It was said there were no springs on this car but you can clearly see springs on the front axle. I find the truss rod under the frame most interesting.

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This car is a six cylinder racer. The original 999 was built and wrecked and rebuilt and altered and sold and altered and altered. But it was always a four cylinder car, as was its twin, the 'Arrow'. Both cars seem to look different in almost every original era photo, and there is even some confusion over which car was which from time to time. Around 1906, Henry Ford started tinkering with a six cylinder idea, building this prototype engine and pushing the model K into production. I believe this may be that first Ford six cylinder car. It was at sometimes called the "new 999", so calling it the 999 may not be wrong. Not many photos exist of the car in its early form. Its racing history was very short. I think it may have only completed one or two showings. Frank Kulick was finishing up a practice run in preparation for a big race when something went wrong, a wheel or tire failed and Frank with the car went over a berm and though a fence at a very high rate of speed! Except for the engine, the car was almost totally destroyed. Frank was thrown a considerable distance and barely survived!

This was the famous race/run of legend where no ambulance was available, and Henry Ford borrowed (?) a nearby new model K six cylinder car, nearly destroyed the rear seat to make a bed and transport his good friend Frank Kulick to the nearest hospital! Frank was saved, but walked with a limp for the rest of his life.

Henry Ford swore off racing forever, not the first time, and wouldn't be the last. A couple years later, Frank asked Henry to rebuild the six cylinder race car. So, the car was rebuilt around the engine that had been left in a corner of a storage room at the Ford factory. It again wasn't raced very much, and was soon replaced by the model T based racing cars around 1910 through '12. The rebuilt car exists to this day in the Henry Ford museum, however, last I heard, is not on public display. There have been recent photos of the car posted in recent years on the MTFCA forum. I may need to go look for them?

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That frame does not appear strong enough to carry the weight of that motor. Notice the truss rod between the two front wheels.

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Evidently, as with Ford's other race cars, this car was remodeled many times during its short tenure. The motors and chassis were changed so much they can hardly be viewed as the same car. The car above certainly appears similar to the first picture I posted but may be a variation. The motors evidently ranged from 406 ci to over 1000 ci.

Edited by AHa (see edit history)
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Evidently, Ford entered the 6 cylinder racing circuit in 1904, 2 years before the model K Ford came out, but later put a model K motor in a similar chassis. From a historical perspective, the 1904 car had nothing to do with the model K Ford but through the years, things became more muddied. Similarly, the nomenclature, 666, may or may not have been used with this car.

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  • 1 month later...

Here is Ray Mitchell in his Ford V8 powered Jeep Special at the 1947 Australian Grand Prix held at Mount Panorama, Bathurst. The car is two jeep frames welded together.

 

Ray was leading the race up until the last lap when he got a flat tyre. He finished the race driving on the rim, with sparks flying.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1947_Australian_Grand_Prix

 

Ray Mitchell's Ford V8 Jeep Special - Hell Corner, Bathurst Australian Grand Prix 1947.jpg

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This is, of course, a Buick, but I had assumed it was one of the factory Buick race cars. It may still be, but I only count 15 louvers in the hood. I don't believe it is one of the big Buicks, more than likely a mid size. Can anybody speak to this car specifically? I believe the driver is known and was identified in a previous post. The model 16 Buick, I believe, has 18 louvers in the hood.
 
My bad, I found a restored car that looks almost just like this car and it has the 15 louver hood. There is nothing to see here folks, move along, move along.
 
No, I was correct the first time. The model 16 has 18 louvers. This frame appears to have been a model 16 frame but the hood is wrong.
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42 minutes ago, George Cole said:

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When I was growing up in the 1950s unbeknownst to me George Robertson lived a 10 minute walk away from my hose ( where I still reside) .  He lived in Bellerose village and I live in Floral Park village , both located in western Nassau County on long island. I later was friends with Crawford Robertson who was George's son who lived in Garden City, NY. . Crawford was a great guy and he and Austin Clark and I used to go out to lunch together quite often for years.

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From Vanderbiltcupraces.com/blog/article/george_robertsons_last_drive:

 

George Robertson’s Last Practice Run

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After skipping the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Race, the 1908 winner George Robertson was preparing for a triumphant return in the 1910 Race driving a Benz. His hopes for a repeat win and his future racing career were dashed with one of the strangest accidents in Vanderbilt Cup Race history.

Enjoy,

Howard Kroplick


Although practice for the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race began Tuesday, September 20 action on the track was light until Friday, September 23. With the Warner timing device in place, Friday had an air of the first official day of practice. About a dozen newspapermen were invited to the course to observe the racers. One reporter, Stephen Reynolds, would play a fateful role in driver George Robertson’s career.

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Shortly before 7 a.m. Robertson agreed to take Reynolds on a lap of the course at speed to assist him in writing a story. It proved to be his final act as a race car driver. Entering the dangerous Massapequa Turn just off the Motor Parkway at 70 miles per hour, Reynolds apparently panicked and grabbed the driver. Robertson slipped a wheel off the top of the three-foot embankment and the car rolled over on him. Reynolds was thrown some 30 feet from the wreckage, sustaining injuries so minor he was able to attend a press breakfast little more than an hour afterward.

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Reynolds apparently panicked and grabbed the driver. Robertson slipped a wheel off the top of the three-foot embankment and the car rolled over on him. Reynolds was thrown some 30 feet from the wreckage, sustaining injuries so minor he was able to attend a press breakfast little more than an hour afterward.

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Years later, Robertson wrote of the incident in the April 1945 issue of Bulb Horn (courtesy of Walter McCarthy):

“It was about 4 A.M. on a Friday that I left my house in Brooklyn to pick up the big Benz for Vanderbilt Cup practice. My wife had, for the first time, asked me to put off that day's practice, as she had a funny feeling about it. I laughed it off, for if all race drivers were to be governed by these so-called funny feelings, competition would be very limited and the race promoters would tear their hair.

On reaching our Long Island racing headquarters, Glen Ethridge, as fine a racing mechanic as was ever born, and I checked and rechecked the car before practice. When the car crew and ourselves had everything shipshape, Glen and I reported to the grandstand for practice and found a news man assigned to me as a riding mechanic, for his morning thrill and to get material for his story.

A good-sized man, all dressed up in a long black overcoat with upturned collar, and completely equipped with goggles and a derby hat forced down over his ears, crawled into the mechanic's seat. In the fresh morning air, his breath was rather on the heavy side. I instructed him in the use of the mechanic's controls and impressed upon him the mechanic's job of looking to the rear for overtaking cars. He mumbled something and that was that.

Down the Parkway we went at our customary speed, easing off on the bad curves and running wide open on the good stretches. It took my amateur mechanic some time for his fright to wear off. He finally ventured a look or two to the rear but he did not enjoy the job very much.

We approached the turn off the Parkway and I motioned him to hold tight to the seat handle. As we went into the turn at a fast clip, something happened and happened fast. My half-dozing mechanic suddenly came to life, saw the turn, and probably terrified at the speed, grabbed me. In the second, I had lost control of the car, the right front wheel had gone over a three-foot bank on the outside. The car rolled over so fast I couldn't get down into the "cellar". I was caught under it as it rolled on me and then off, smashing my back, ribs and right elbow and lacerating my head and face.

As I got to my feet, groggy and about to pass out, I saw my adorable mechanic standing on his feet and his derby hat was not even dented.”

An under-the-weather news man as mechanic, a roll-over and then the hospital, all this seemed to add up to that "funny feeling" my wife mentioned before I left home..."

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Although initial reports of Robertson’s condition were optimistic, injuries to his arm proved so severe he could no longer master the big, heavy cars of the day. The man widely recognized as America’s best driver would race no more. Robertson's ride in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race was replaced by Franz Heim.

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