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Race photo from 1912


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A friend of mine sent this photo to me and since I did not know how to answer his questions I figured this would be one to share with the forum:

 

So what do you think is going on with the smoke/steam on these cars?  They don't look like steam cars and it seems unlikely they are both overheating badly.  Or maybe they are.  It can't be exhaust.  Don't they look like gasoline cars to you?

The photo caption is "Race between an auto and a biplane at the opening day BBQ at Owensmouth (now Canoga Park) in the San Fernando Valley, March 30, 1912"

But another account which seems more reliable reads: "In the Owens-mouth Road Race, near Los Angeles, Aviator Martin was appointed official Referee of the Course, with Frank Garbutt, a prominent Los Angeles automobile man. From the time that Martin and Garbutt left the hangars at Griffith Park for the Owensmouth Course, 30 miles away, their safety was constantly at the mercy of the little generator that furnished juice for the ignition in the aeroplane engine. Flying sometimes with Garbutt, and sometimes alone, Martin constantly risked death as he swept about the six mile race course to insure fair play among the competing automobile drivers. At times the intrepid aviator referee was in extreme danger, when he would swoop low down over the race course. Had Martins generous auxiliary planes failed to grasp the eddying air currents, or the electrics park stopped in his motor for but a few seconds..."

owensmouth.jpeg

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OWENSMOUTH-4.jpg

 

This car raced in 1913. Large engine FIAT.
Description    
Image of American racecar driver Teddy Tetzlaff driving the Fiat that he won the Free-For-All Road Race in at Santa Monica, California, on May 4, 1912. Spectators, including a policeman watch from the sidewalk. "Owensmouth Baby" written on the side of the automobile.
Notes    
"Tetzlaff in Fiat, Santa Monica, May 4, 1912. Palmerston Photo B193"--text, on item. Title and date transcribed from item. The Santa Monica Road Races were held from 1909 until 1919. The course was 8.4 miles, and run on city streets Ocean Avenue, Wilshire Blvd. and San Vicente Blvd.

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TetzlaffTeddy_image010.jpgTetzlaffTeddy_image012.jpg 

TetzlaffTeddy_image023.jpg

Pictures of the cars with exhaust coming right out the side. Large engine FIAT

Las 200 Millas de Santa Monica 1912 (o Dick Ferris Trophy) las disputó  Terrible  TETZLAFF el 4 de Mayo, ganándolas con el  terrible  FIAT Tipo S.74 de dorsal nº 44

 

http://www.pilotos-muertos.com/2009/TetzlaffTeddy.html

TetzlaffTeddy_image014.jpg

TetzlaffTeddy_image023.jpg

Edited by mike6024 (see edit history)
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Something most people are not aware of. One of the things experimented with on racing cars in the early days, was having a 'slide valve' alongside the cylinders. The theory, and actually fairly well proven, was that at high speeds (especially with the restrictive valve systems mostly used in those days) that opening that slide valve located about halfway down the side of the cylinders would allow much of the hot gasses from the power stroke to exit the cylinders and reduce the restriction those remining gasses would cause in the exhaust stroke.

It is a detail often not mentioned in historic records of the cars and races. And it is something that has been often not rebuilt when surviving such cars have been restored. I remember seeing such a racing motor at a swap meet many years ago. I became curious about the castings and missing pieces. While standing and listening to several collectors discussing it, it became very clear to me that nobody seemed to know much about it.

Years later, through connections in the MTFCA forums, I came to know a fellow by the name of Rob Heyen, who has posted a few very good threads here in the past year or so. It came to pass, that along with his personal interest in the Ford model K automobiles, and his proclivity for research, he would become very interested in Ford's early racing and development. It also came to pass that he would acquire the partially restored remains of one of the very few Ford Special racing cars from 1910 to 1912! (I hope to hear some updates in the next couple weeks?) While at last account, the car is still being dialed in, and a few issues corrected, the car was running awhile earlier last year. 

In the course of its restoration, Rob shared many photos on the MTFCA forum. There, in the photos of the original Ford Special engine, was the same type of casting oddity I had seen on that racing engine at a swap meet many years before!

Rob had done enough research to know that the slide-valves had been used in the Ford Specials back in the day and had the slide-valve recreated for his car. Rob has driven his car, at speed, and has tried the slide valve. He said opening the valves at speed is like kicking in the after-burners, so to speak. He also says he didn't have to run it that way very long to know it is noisy and very messy throwing oil and smoke out the sides like you wouldn't believe!

 

 

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