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Thrilling image...any one got any details?


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#1 Rainer Nyberg

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Posted 03 September 2001 - 23:01

Just found this thrilling image...!
Does anyone got any details?

It is a common publicity stunt from the 1920s(?).
Daredevil acts were quite fashionable back then.

Maybe there is someone who can fill in something about this picture.

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#2 Don Capps

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Posted 03 September 2001 - 23:55

It will hit me sooner or later, but that is definitely a modified Curtiss D Model and so it is probably stunt pilot Lincoln Beachley who used to do these sorts of stunts all the time. I think it was also referred to as the Beachey Special. It was a very modified D Model with all the components strengthen by Curtiss as a special project. Beachey was the first to loop-the-loop, but it may have been in a standard D and not the Special.

I am not sure as the exact circumstances of this picture, but it looks very familiar. I think we will find out more before too long.

I do have "other" interests, you know....

#3 buddyt

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 00:06

Perhaps it is a race between a air plane and a auto..........in the begining autoraces didnt always limit themselves to autos...:)

#4 Keir

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 00:20

:cool:
That's me running from the latest bill collector!!

#5 Wolf

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 00:37

Seeing the tone this thread is taking, I vaguely recall reading about Gilles Villeneuve (IIRC) racing against Italian fighter plane of the day... Judging by the plane, it might be just that. :p

#6 MONTOYASPEED

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 02:00

It's Tazio Nuvolari. I have a video of Tazio vs a plane and Gilles vs a plane both in the same video. When I find the link I will post it here.

#7 MONTOYASPEED

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 02:44

Here's what I told you guys:

http://www.seasonf1....s/archivio.html

Have fun!

#8 dbw

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 03:14

no... i don't think it's the "looper"....the "looper" was powered by a rotary instead of the usual curtiss V-8..[the photo clearly shows a radiator..indicating a water cooled powerplant of some sort..several curtiss pushers were refitted with lighter inline water cooled engines by their owners..come to think of it,the curtiss design was often blatently copied by private constructors!!]... several years ago, vern dalhlman,a local vintage aircraft nut, recreated the special[and looped it at airshows] and was in the process of finishing a replica of the plane that beachey used to take off a makeshift "carrier" in san francisco bay...and repeat the stunt..the airframe was complete and i donated an OX-5 to the project....unfortunatly the constructor was killed in a vintage plane accident and the project was taken over by the hiller aviation museum.[BTW..back to the photo...in these type of races ,the plane usually won!!]:lol:

#9 Don Capps

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 03:22

That there isn't a rotary engine is why I think it is the Beachey Special or a Curtiss copy of some sort. I will have to stop relying on my memory and dig out my Curtiss book....

#10 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 04:47

That same photo is included in a Ken W. Purdy article on the Chevrolet Brothers in Sports Car Illustrated of March 1959. The caption is:

Gaston would race anything for kicks. Here he races Aviatrix Ruth Law in Canada.

#11 david_martin

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 07:13

Originally posted by MONTOYASPEED
It's Tazio Nuvolari. I have a video of Tazio vs a plane and Gilles vs a plane both in the same video. When I find the link I will post it here.


I dont think that is likely. Nuvolari did not start racing anything until 1920 - the aircraft is clearly a "headless" Curtiss pusher, which suggests that the photo was taken in North America before or during the very early years of the First World War.

#12 MONTOYASPEED

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 11:23

Originally posted by david_martin


I dont think that is likely. Nuvolari did not start racing anything until 1920 - the aircraft is clearly a "headless" Curtiss pusher, which suggests that the photo was taken in North America before or during the very early years of the First World War.


You're right about Nuvolari. I saw the video and I thought that it was him cause of the caption on the website but they're wrong.

#13 david_martin

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 11:41

Originally posted by MONTOYASPEED


You're right about Nuvolari. I saw the video and I thought that it was him cause of the caption on the website but they're wrong.


Actually, the caption on the website is correct - the video is of Nuvolari. The video you posted and the photo Rainer posted here are of different events. My comments were directed at Reiner's photo.

#14 dbltop

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Posted 06 September 2001 - 10:02

didn't barney oldfield do a lot of these stunts way back when?

#15 LittleChris

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Posted 06 September 2001 - 11:31

Blimey Milan, I was wondering what Sr Mazzacane did to earn an F1 drive in a Prost. Now I know !!:D

#16 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 08 September 2001 - 08:38

The aircraft in the picture certainly looks like one of the early Curtiss models which would place the event sometime around 1909 to 1911. From what I've read, all the early Curtiss's had water cooled engines, rotaries being new , expensive and difficult to obtain at the time, especially in the USA . I've no idea where this "race" was held. Although it looks like an American venue (possibly a horse race or trotting track), Curtiss did take his 'planes to the famous Reims meeting in August 1909. This meeting was held at Reims horse race course.

#17 bpratt

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Posted 10 September 2001 - 22:58

I'm a new member so forgive all the mistakes I'm about to
make. Idaho Don Radbruch mentioned the photograph and I see that there is a mention of Ruth Law racing Gaston Chevrolet. This did happen in Canada in July, 1918 at Toronto, Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. Chevrolet was supposed to be driving a Sunbeam. In one of the reports Louis Disbrow was listed at Ruth Law's competitor. At that point Disbrow had a Christie. The race was part of the IMCA (International Motor Contest Association) that ran in many places in Canada and the U.S. from 1915 to 1975. Hope this helps. Or maybe it just adds to the confusion. Cheers.
Brian Pratt

#18 Don Capps

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Posted 11 September 2001 - 12:32

Brian,

Welcome to the Forum.

I think your input just adds to the reasons why such images are still so fascinating after all these years, The stories behind such images are really good places to point out how closely related the automotive and aviation worlds were at that time.

I was impressed that several immediately recognized the aircraft as a Curtiss and that there were a number of these events to choose from.

#19 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 September 2001 - 13:06

Brian, welcome, and don't worry about mistakes!!

Interesting thoughts, but I don't think it's a Sunbeam - it looks too big and it's left-hand-drive. The GP Sunbeams were RHD.

And, although it's a wide car, I don't think it's a Christie either - they were transverse-engined and front-wheel drive. There's no dust from the front wheels in the picture!

If it is Gaston Chevrolet, surely it's more likely that the car is a Frontenac or a Monroe-Frontenac? But as Gaston didn't start racing till about 1916, perhaps it isn't him at all ...