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Early 1900s Racing Car - looking for Make!


georedline
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Howdy!

 

I was recently sent a photo of my great (multiple unsure) grandfather and his beloved automobile.

 

My family is up in arms trying to identify it. Everything from Benz, to Locomobile, to Alco - but none seem to fit the bill.

 

Any and all help is appreciated greatly!

6EFFB559-9FFE-4812-ACCC-6EF6CB392391.jpeg

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Wow, 7-lug wheels. And what is that ring under the car, beneath the flywheel area? And dig those cloth front fenders! 

 

Never seen a brass horn quite like that one, either. 

 

LOVE this photo and the car! 

Edited by lump (see edit history)
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The fabric fenders were used on the early race cars, usually just on the right side. Images can be found of Old 16 with a fabric fender very much like this. This car very much resembles the Locomobile race car. It also resembles a Mercedes but lacks the deep dished front axle of both makes. I believe the radiator neck will identify the make. I have seen it before but can't recall what it was on. Though the car very much resembles a race car, it also apparently is presently configured for street driving. Notice the lack of numbering and the very large muffler hanging low under the rear. Race cars didn't have mufflers but they were added to keep the noise down on city streets.

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This car is clearly a Mercedes. The 8 bolt wheel hubs front and rear, the distinct shape of the dumbirons and the segmented radiator do not leave any doubt. The detachable rims point at American ownership. The year is more difficult to estimate: I would guess between 1905 and 1908, though this configuration with the round gas tank directly behind the seats is not often seen. The car could well be based on a ca 1905 90 hp racer, but the sprocket wheel seems to be too small for a racer. So possibly a conversion for road use.

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X2 on the flywheel on a running engine. Car #8 is the Bergdoll Benz winning Fairmont Park in 1911, the Wisehart Mercedes was an ex factory race car from 1908,  he would finish second behind Bergdoll at Fairmont Park but was disqualified for dropping off his mechanic on the second to last lap.  He later drove it in the 1911 and 1912 INDY 500

 

Bob 

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Changing the subject just a little, I don't get the three different styles of front axles used. The OP's car appears to have a straight axle, the number 8 car above has a small dip in the axle, and the number 11 car immediately above has the deep dish axle.

 

Here is another 1908 Mercedes with the deep dished axle. Supposedly, Mercedes cast and machined their own axles, so why so many styles?

 

1908 French Grand Prix winner

1908-Mercedes-Lautenschlager-changing-wheel-winner-French-Grand-Prix---credit-MPL.jpg

Edited by AHa (see edit history)
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