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Hershey 1964! Harrah around the world 1907 Thomas Flyer towing an early Rolls Royce! See photos


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Only at Hershey! Recently my friend Jim Wellock of Akron,Ohio mentioned that his first Hershey was 1964 when he was around 16 years old. His family slept in their station wagon! Jim's dad was a co founder of the Akron Model T Ford Club. He mentioned he had 1964 photo slides of the Bill Harrah 1907 Thomas Flyer that went around the world from N.Y to Paris and won the race as the only American entry. He said he had a photo of it being shown at Hershey that year,  AND a photo slide of it pulling a brass era Rolls Royce also owned by Harrah with a tow rope! Both photos are attached. Look at all of the farm land around Hershey Stadium. Ah,those were the days! Sincerely George Albright,Ocala,Fla.  email  gnalbright@gmail.com  PS My first Hershey was 1972,when I was 16. Both Jim and I grew up to be like long car guys because of our Hershey experience. Thats why involving youth in our hobby is the key to its future!

Hershey 1964.png

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A great car with great history and importance .

For those who like old TV shows?

there a late 50s episode of "Whats My Line?" and the guest was the driver of the Thomas who's line was "I drove a car around the world" which they had to guess.They didn't. It was fun to hear why and when he drove around the world.

 

They unvailed what was left of the Thomas car at that time at the end.

 

Pretty ratty with no rubber on the rims as I recall,but basically all there..

I saw the car running around when I was out west many years ago with Bill at the the helm ,it gave me chills .

 

Plenty is written and recorded  of it's perfectly authenic ,as it appeared at the end of the race, restoration.

As the man said.."Just Marvelous!"

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Wonderful images! 

 

Harrah's Collection featured the New York to Paris Thomas Flyer on the cover of their 1965 Roster.

We visited it in 1968 and I was hooked, and years later I purchased several rosters at a friend's estate sale.

 

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I'll let you figure out which of the collection's Rolls-Royces is in the color slide, from this listing in the '65 Roster. 

 

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TG

Edited by TG57Roadmaster (see edit history)
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Harrah did some amazing research.  We restored a 1917 Bell Touring in the 1980's. We contacted Harrah's to see if they had any info on our car.  They responded that they had the names of 5 owners of Bell Automobiles and sent us the names. Turned out they were the 5 previous owners of the car we were restoring.

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I was fortunate enough to get to meet Jeff Mahl a few years ago, he is George  Schuster’s grandson.  He knows the story of the Thomas better than anybody.  It was great to hear first hand how Bill Harrah tried relentlessly to convince his grandfather to accept his all expenses paid visit to come to Harrahs shop to authenticate the car.  I guess George Schuster was in disbelief that it was the same car.  Finally Harrah was able to convince Schuster, in his 90s at the time  to visit the car.  Underneath one of the seat bases was some initials of a Thomas factory worker that Schuster recognized (it may have been his own I cannot remember) but that and a few other details confirmed that the car was the Great Race car.  Mahl also mentioned that Harrah hired artists from Disney to do the paint details to recreate the look of the car when it crossed the finish line in Paris.

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51 minutes ago, Modeleh said:

I was fortunate enough to get to meet Jeff Mahl a few years ago, he is George  Schuster’s grandson.  He knows the story of the Thomas better than anybody.  It was great to hear first hand how Bill Harrah tried relentlessly to convince his grandfather to accept his all expenses paid visit to come to Harrahs shop to authenticate the car.  I guess George Schuster was in disbelief that it was the same car.  Finally Harrah was able to convince Schuster, in his 90s at the time  to visit the car.  Underneath one of the seat bases was some initials of a Thomas factory worker that Schuster recognized (it may have been his own I cannot remember) but that and a few other details confirmed that the car was the Great Race car.  Mahl also mentioned that Harrah hired artists from Disney to do the paint details to recreate the look of the car when it crossed the finish line in Paris.

My middle school library had a copy of 'The Longest Auto Race' by George Schuster published in 1965.  I may have held the record for signing it out as I couldn't get enough of reading it.  Even now, I wouldn't mind having a copy for my own personal library.

 

Craig

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I  knew the Thomas when it was owned by Austin Clark ( who Bill Harrah bought it from) and sat in Austin's Long Island Automotive museum on Rt.27 in Southampton, N.Y.

I worked for Austin in the very early 1970s at his home library ( which was donated to and now remains at the Henry Ford Museum) and he would relate stories and information about how he acquired the car . Both Austin Clark and Bill Harrah were fine fellows, true enthusiasts with absolutely no thought of " my car is worth this much and will be invited to the concours at ....." We all exchanged Christmas cards and I spent many summers with Bill at the Franklin car meet ( when I didn't have a car at that show yet I was given the use of one of the 4 cars he brought there to use for the week) . His adopted sons came along and used to like to climb the trees on the lawn where the Franklins were parked and wave hello to their Dad. Hershey was also the place I would walk around with Bill or Austin looking for stuff.

 

WG

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1964 seems like forever-ago!  I was still in high school, but that's just about when I discovered antique cars while taking a short-cut home from school one day.  That garage full of brass cars became a fairly regular stop.  I was hooked on stories of cars in barns, and especially tales of the Hershey car show and swap meet.  As small as it was compared to current swap meets there, it was still an old car treasure hunters paradise.   My first trip was 1970 and its become a pretty important event in our lives. Going to the Luray Va pre-war swap meet just to lay some stuff out on the table and partly satisfy the swap meet fever this year, but am counting the days till we return to the fields (parking lots) again at Hershey. 

Terry

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25 minutes ago, Walt G said:

I worked for Austin in the very early 1970s and he would relate stories and information about how he acquired the car .

 

I've always liked this part of the hobby immensely, even if a car is not something super desirable.  The history of how any car (from depression years and older) managed to survive the eras when they were not "worth" anything,... who rescued it, and where/how it was found, is great stuff.

 

As the decades roll by, these early personal accounts will be lost forever.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, F&J said:

 

I've always liked this part of the hobby immensely, even if a car is not something super desirable.  The history of how any car (from depression years and older) managed to survive the eras when they were not "worth" anything,... who rescued it, and where/how it was found, is great stuff.

 

As the decades roll by, these early personal accounts will be lost forever.

 

 

 

 

I totally agree, whenever there is some bit of info I can add I do. Sure missed the chance to take a lot of photos and there are way more questions I never asked but wished I had. Bob 

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Bob that photo in b & w of the right side of the Thomas Flyer was taken behind the L.I. Auto Museum looking west. Buildings may still be there. The set of garage doors in the right rear corner just to the left of the trophy in the photo was were the 1937 Chrysler Imperial town car by LeBaron that was built for Mrs. Walter P. (Della) Chrysler resided for many years when in storage by the owner at the time , the Vanderbilt Museum of Centerport, NY. . The car eventually found its way back to the Vanderbilt museum and horrible storage conditions until sold , and I was one of a few who helped remove it from there to go into a trailer to the new owner.

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1 hour ago, F&J said:

 

I've always liked this part of the hobby immensely, even if a car is not something super desirable.  The history of how any car (from depression years and older) managed to survive the eras when they were not "worth" anything,... who rescued it, and where/how it was found, is great stuff.

 

As the decades roll by, these early personal accounts will be lost forever.

 

 

 

37 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

 

 

I totally agree, whenever there is some bit of info I can add I do. Sure missed the chance to take a lot of photos and there are way more questions I never asked but wished I had. Bob 

 

I second that, the history that gets accidentally preserved, is amazing.

 

28 minutes ago, Walt G said:

Bob that photo in b & w of the right side of the Thomas Flyer was taken behind the L.I. Auto Museum looking west. Buildings may still be there. The set of garage doors in the right rear corner just to the left of the trophy in the photo was were the 1937 Chrysler Imperial town car by LeBaron that was built for Mrs. Walter P. (Della) Chrysler resided for many years when in storage by the owner at the time , the Vanderbilt Museum of Centerport, NY. . The car eventually found its way back to the Vanderbilt museum and horrible storage conditions until sold , and I was one of a few who helped remove it from there to go into a trailer to the new owner.

 

Walt, I recognized the background in the photo of the Thomas, but I just could not place it,

Thanks.

 

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That as found photo of the Thomas at HAC's place was also published in Floyd Clymer's "Treasury of Early American Automobiles", page 142, copyright MCML (1950). I think that made it a very current photo of the car at that time! The book was quite popular, and copies show up for sale often. I have had my copy for about sixty years now!

 

I remember watching that "What's My Line" episode when I was about ten.

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I still visit the car, and the NAM in Reno, whenever I get down there. I haven't been there is several years, and there nothing in my future plans to make the pilgrimage either. It's been kind of my personal connection with the unbelievable Harra collection. Throughout the seventies I would make regular visits. It was simply incomparable to any other car collection. 

 

But then I haven't even been to the local LeMay-America's Car Museum in six months, and I have a car on display there. I just got word that ACM is opening up this week, time to take a look and see how it's fared. Most of this year has just been a blur. 

 

I really like the AACA forum because the real historical perspective that you guys have. It's kind of like sitting down to a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece fills in more of the picture. I don't know where else a person can find this kind of knowledge, and without leaving home. 

 

Bill

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Several years ago some car buddies and I got to ride around a bit on the replica cars for the locally produced film "The Greatest Auto Race on Earth" 2008. Even being movie cars it was still a really cool thrill. The Protos is on my right. The cars now reside at the Reynolds Museum in Wetaskiwin, Alberta.

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14 hours ago, George Albright said:

Only at Hershey! Recently my friend Jim Wellock of Akron,Ohio mentioned that his first Hershey was 1964 when he was around 16 years old. His family slept in their station wagon! Jim's dad was a co founder of the Akron Model T Ford Club. He mentioned he had 1964 photo slides of the Bill Harrah 1907 Thomas Flyer that went around the world from N.Y to Paris and won the race as the only American entry. He said he had a photo of it being shown at Hershey that year,  AND a photo slide of it pulling a brass era Rolls Royce also owned by Harrah with a tow rope! Both photos are attached. Look at all of the farm land around Hershey Stadium. Ah,those were the days! Sincerely George Albright,Ocala,Fla.  email  gnalbright@gmail.com  PS My first Hershey was 1972,when I was 16. Both Jim and I grew up to be like long car guys because of our Hershey experience. Thats why involving youth in our hobby is the key to its future!

Hershey 1964.png

Oh my! Vintage cars 😍😍😍 Brings memories, so rustic, so classic! Love it. Thanks for sharing 💗

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Remember all , we have AACA to thank for providing  us this venue to voice our opinions (🙄)!

Plus let some of us that have been around a few years share our memories of some of the  collectors who were involved in saving such cars as the Thomas, as well as the other not so "famous" motor cars. YOUR club dues at work! JOIN if you are not a member , this forum is here for all of us 24/7 and with the on going health crisis is our way of staying sane , and in touch with our fellow squirrels , while hopefully not driving the moderators to crazy.

WG

Edited by Walt G
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Ok, that was my question: Who was the collector who had the car in Philadelphia and how did he come to own it? I'm sure the story is known, anybody want to share?

 

Like somebody said before, the stories of how these cars survived and sometimes why or why not is fascinating to me. Some of you know how I researched the three Locomobile produced race cars. It was an elusive search because of the perceived prestige of old 16, the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup winner. The amount of disinformation published is mind blowing. Turned out this was partly Andrew Riker's doing. Mr Riker did not want anything to detract from old 16's win and tried to embellish/magnify the winning car. Out of respect for Andrew Riker, others have continued this practice to today. This practice hid the fact that the second car produced in 1906 suffered very minor damage at the end of the 1908 race and survived as a parts car for old 16. This second car is now restored but rather than detract from the glory of old 16, this is not a published fact. The question now is: what happened to the 1905 car? Was it destroyed to protect the glory of old 16? These are fascinating stories.

 

The 1907 Thomas survived but it was not treasured. It is both sad to see it in the condition of the picture above and happy because it did survive.

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24 minutes ago, A. Ballard 35R said:

Never heard about Paul Cadwell thinking the car was in Philadelphia. My father was one of the early AACA members and we all knew Paul quite well. Perhaps George Hughes can shed some light on this subject.

 

 

That chat with Paul was at an Annual Meeting over 40 years ago and I could have the cars mixed up. So many great race cars wound up in Philadelphia, glad they are still in the hobby today. Bob 

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22 hours ago, Restorer32 said:

Harrah did some amazing research.  We restored a 1917 Bell Touring in the 1980's. We contacted Harrah's to see if they had any info on our car.  They responded that they had the names of 5 owners of Bell Automobiles and sent us the names. Turned out they were the 5 previous owners of the car we were restoring.

I was not aware Harrah owned the Bell car.  

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I believe this is the 1910 Silver Ghost being towed by the Thomas in this great colored 1964 Hershey Picture.  Today, this car remains at the National Automobile Museum in Reno. I remember it well. The first picture shows the car in one of old Harrah's books, the second photo is at the National Automobile Museum and shows the car as it looks today today.

 

 

1910RRSGTouringHarrahs.jpg

1910RRSGTouringHarrahs2.jpg

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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19 hours ago, Restorer32 said:

No, he never did own the Bell but he knew who owned it. He also owned a 1910 Pullman that we worked on.

Oh ok, I knew he owned the 1917 Pullman that is owned by the York Heritage Trust but I was unaware they owned another Pullman.  I assume you are talking about the 1910 Model O?

 

How does it work when you contacted Harrahs?  I would be curious to know the information they have on the two Pullmans they owned. 

 

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I would like to know the history of the Thomas car. Who owned it before Austie? Where did it go after the 1908 race? Surely this information is out there but all I can find is stories about the race itself.

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On 10/1/2020 at 9:22 PM, motoringicons said:

 

I believe this is the 1910 Silver Ghost being towed by the Thomas in this great colored 1964 Hershey Picture.  Today, this car remains at the National Automobile Museum in Reno. I remember it well. The first picture shows the car in one of old Harrah's books, the second photo is at the National Automobile Museum and shows the car as it looks today today.

 

 

1910RRSGTouringHarrahs.jpg

1910RRSGTouringHarrahs2.jpg

I remember seeing that Rolls-Royce:

 

10hm105.jpg

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AHa:

 From George Schuster's account in The Longest Auto Race  Copywrite by George Schuster and Tom Mahoney, The John Day Co. 1966.

"Mr. Thomas talked of giving the around-the-world car to the Smithsonian.... It was still in the experimental department of the factory at the bankruptcy auction in 1913, being included with the NEW YORK TIMES Trophy, a couple of fire engines, half a dozen complete cars, a bus and all of the company's repair parts, patents, good will, patterns and jigs in "LOT ONE". This was knocked down at $51,000 to Charles E. Finnegan former publisher of the old Buffalo Commercial. He disposed of  every-thing else, but what was identified as the around-the-world car rusted for years in the garage at his home at Elma, NY. It was still there in 1945, when at the end of WWII launched a great revival of interest in old automobiles. James Melton, the opera singer, considered buying it for his collection. Finnegan called me (Schuster)in and asked me if I would certify that it was the car which I had gone around the world." (Here Schuster relates how he doubted that it was the same car because of its dilapidated condition). "I told this to Finnegan and later also to Mrs. Francis V. DuPont of Wilmington Delaware whose husband was interested in old cars.

She bought the wreck nevertheless, and in 1948 sold it in the same condition to Henry Austin Clark Jr."

 

 I have this book SIGNED! Unfortunately by Mahoney not by Schuster.

 Also according to Schuster the car was used in some promotional tours for over a year. It was the Pathfinder car for the "ocean-to-ocean" New York to Seattle race  staged in 1909. "it broke down in Idaho and was quietly returned to the factory." He indicates that Mr. Thomas offered him the car but he refused considering it's thoroughly "battered" worn out condition. Schuster calls the book put out by the Thomas Company describing the race and the car was never in a "repair shop". 

 Well... pretty much a lot of BS.

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Larry,

Thank you very much for this information. It would appear the Thomas exists today because it was deemed valuable but the owners weren't quite sure what to do with it. We are very lucky the car wasn't restored. Evidently the tire rims and drive chains were "borrowed" for another vehicle, possibly one of the other vehicles in the original auction. The picture above seems to depict the car as it finished the race so the car was untouched when Harrah purchased it other than the missing parts. Which begs the question, why did Schuster believe this car was not the car he drove around the world?

 

Years ago I attended the Chickashea, Oklahoma flea market and a guy showed up with a complete Thomas differential and laid it out on the ground for sale. I believe the price was $800.00.

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I read a pretty good book detailing the Great Race. The Thomas pretty much dominated the entire race. I enjoyed the read. It was an incomprehensible feat for its time. Amazing what those people and cars endured.  The high water in Mongolia sounded unbelievable. Yet some how, by determination, hard work and a lot of luck too, they rounded the world. 
 

I went to the museum in Reno last year. I soaked up the sight of the Thomas. I am so glad I had read the book and had some idea what it went through.  I’d wager countless people walk by, glance and carry on. Not having any idea of what this car went through.  A brief story is not enough to really understand. It truly has important historical significance in time. 
 

Here I am with the Flyer. April 2019. In Reno. 

 

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Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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AHa:

 From what I could gather "between the lines" of the book. I believe George felt unsure what all the fuss was about this old dilapidated vehicle that he may have driven over 40 rears earlier. I have faulty memories of work I did on my 1937 Buick back in 1987! While in the care of Charles Finnegan some of the repairs done by him 40 years earlier during the race were not evident. Parts of several cars were used by the company to keep the car on the road for publicity purposes for several years. This may have obscured some of the repairs. This was at a time after George went to another job within the Thomas company and finally left entirely. By the time Henry Austin Clark Jr. acquired the car and asked the same questions I believe he just did not want to be bothered. One's life gets busy with other things. Only when persuaded by Harrah to view the vehicle apart could he see the on the race repairs. 

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Have had several race cars that were very low production ranging from a split window fuelie to a flat floor E-type & cheap and undesirable at the time (paid a single large for the fuelie, $500 for the Corsa that dominated the local autocrosses), later traded a different 20 year old one off for a set of wheels.

 

Point is that there is a point, usually 10-20 years on, when even landmark cars are a glut on the market. Is just the market and has been so for the last century.

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