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New Ralph de Palma book


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#1 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 25 November 2005 - 07:05

Ralph De Palma
Gentleman Champion

by Gary D. Doyle

US $80.00 plus shipping



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The 9¾ x 6- 7/8 x 1¼ inch well bound hard cover book contains 374 pages of expensive paper to achieve the high quality of over 300 captivating pictures and I regret that some of them were not printed larger, using the whole page width. For its size I found it a rather heavy book due to the quality paper but its dimensions made it still a pleasure to hold in my hands when retreating from kids and dog into my armchair. Gary Doyle used 18 chapters to tell his exceptionally well researched stories about Ralph de Palma his opponents and their races. The appendices begin with analyzing the two illustrators and their art appearing in the book, followed by 13 pages of De Palma’s racing record between the years 1908 and 1933. The fascinating annotated bibliography over 26 pages is inspiring to those who have done research, are doing so now or want to do so in the future. A 6-page index, referring also to some of the pictures, concludes the blue bound book.

The following text extracts (blue font) and photographs are © by Gary D. Doyle and authorized by the author.


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1908 Fiat team at Savannah consisted of these three Giants: Nazzaro, Wagner & 25-year old De Palma. © by Gary D. Doyle


We are being told that Ralph De Palma's association with Fiat began in 1908 through the New York Fiat importer E.R. Hollander, who pursued De Palma to drive a "Fiat Cyclone at the Minneapolis State Fair. He established a new one mile record at 52 seconds at this meet. While there is no direct evidence, it is probable that driving the Cyclone extended to the ride in the Grand Prize car at Savannah. Getting Lancia's seat on the best team in the world was a very heady promotion that would prove to be deserved. De Palma inherited Lancia's riding mechanic, Pietro Bordino (1890-1928) as well. Bordino was the son of the Fiat caretaker and Lancia's protégé, riding with him often. Bordino eventually became the best European driver for Fiat in the early 1920s and raced occasionally on American board tracks."

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Auto racing giants – De Palma and Bordino, 1908. © by Gary D. Doyle

About the 1912 Indianapolis 500 race: Rickenbacker was there as a driver and sometime later wrote this remembrance. It is one of the most interesting accounts, and Eddie said that De Palma’s show of character after the engine failure "will be remembered as long as the concrete foundations of the Indianapolis Speedway stand. I was there and saw it all."

For one lap Ralph and his mechanic, the Australian Rupert Jeffkins, rode around the big oval at 20 miles an hour. Rickenbacker said the car "crawled like a hurt animal... the crowd groaned." He had led the race from lap three to 197 and some say with his insurmountable lead could have backed off and nursed the car home. The Mercedes expired on lap 199 and the pair got out and pushed the big rig to the pits. While this was going on, Joe Dawson in second place was going as fast as possible to take the lead. The crowd went crazy. They cheered as much for Ralph’s effort as for Dawson’s victory. Many journalist / historians mistake the effort and say Ralph pushed the Mercedes all the way to the finish. He did not. The car was retired with one lap to go. Rickenbacker remembers De Palma as a sweet character, a great gentleman, but having a heavy foot. He always gave the paying customers what they wanted. Earlier in the race Eddie said De Palma’s operation looked like a well-oiled machine. From the pit work to his driving style he felt nothing could stop him. Rickenbacker was out of the race early and a spectator. After that afternoon, Ralph De Palma would always be the crowd’s sentimental favorite and remained the revered hard luck driver for years.



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De Palma with the Mercedes through “Death Curve” – 1914 Vanderbilt Cup. © by Gary D. Doyle

I found the following most entertaining. It is a description about the start of the 1914 Vanderbilt Cup (won by De Palma) as observed by "Harry Williams, the colorful sports journalist for the Los Angeles Times: "Ten O’clock was the hour set for starting the race. The cars, stripped and naked, were at the barrier in a quivering line. There was the roar and throb of engines as the hour approached and the speed monsters seemed in an ecstasy of eagerness. The announcer screamed through the megaphone that the race would not start until 10:05 or something to that effect and the roar of the motors died away, petulant and complaining.

"There was another signal from the starter. Instantly there broke out the deep-throated battle cry of the speed monsters as they leaped back into life, their frames palpitating under the throb of their mighty motors. Oh, my!"

The commentators could not stop referring to the race machines in hyperbolic terms. C.L. Edholm in "The Big Races in California," opined, "At fifteen seconds intervals the gaily painted speed monsters, flashing in the sunlight, snorted up to the line, belched blue smoke and flame, and tore away down the straight to 'Death Curve' amid the cheers of the grandstand and the spectators banked along the course." (Motor, 22:1, 48) Staggered starts in early American and European road racing were a necessity for safety. The cars left a trail of dust and smoke due to rudimentary oiling systems and poor road conditions...


The book is full of entertaining stories, presenting deep insight of what racing was like in those early years. Other drivers are not just mentioned by their name but looked at rather closely. Therefore, in the case of David Bruce Brown, it was nice to see not only several pictures but also his birth date appearing for the first time in a book, thanks to research by Robert Dick presented at TNF. This book will be sought after in years to come because it is such an important history of those early years and displays exceptional well research.

The price of US $80.00 is justified, considering that one obtains an unusually well researched period in motor racing and a significant piece of work, heavily illustrated. The book can be ordered here: http://www.king-of-t...com/depalma.htm

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#2 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 20:11

I wondered if anyone knows what De Palma, Fangio, Clark and Schumacher had in common. :rolleyes:

Sorry, if there are other drivers I left out - unintentionally.

#3 gerrit stevens

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Posted 26 November 2005 - 23:02

I sure will order the book. I hope it is as good as the Jimmy Murphy book.
And I don't know the answer to Hans's quiz.

Gerrit Stevens

#4 1920sracing

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 00:26

In response to Hans query, De Palma, Fangio, Clark and Schumacher all raced at Indianapolis or attempted to qaulify either in the 500 or F1 American Grand Prix, but that might be too obvious and 100s of other drivers could be included. Anybody that answers it correctly will get a free De Palma book from me. (shipping extra).

1920sracing

#5 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 04:39

Originally posted by gerrit stevens
I sure will order the book. I hope it is as good as the Jimmy Murphy book...

You bet! ...if not better. :cool:

#6 paulhooft

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 16:25

I wondered if anyone knows what De Palma, Fangio, Clark and Schumacher had in common.

YES, or was it JAZZ???
They all scored some HITS??? :rotfl:

May be they all where Famous Opera writers, like Verdi, Puccini??
Or ??

Paul Hooft

waiting for my postman...
It's weekend still..
with my book..
Well, may be next week?

#7 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 20:29

It had nothing to do with accomplishments in their private lives. :)

#8 paulhooft

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Posted 27 November 2005 - 20:46

Hans:
Only because You already have your book, While I have NOTHING to read,
alias...
Only 100 books to go!!
Greetings from the European snow to sunny Hawaii!!
Paul

#9 Steve L

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 12:37

Received my copy of "Ralph de Palma - Gentleman Champion" on Friday.

I've only had a brief thumb through it so far, but it looks like being a fantastic read.

The picture quality is second to none - there were some truly beautiful slimline (and not so slimline!) racing cars around in those times!

#10 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 10:35

Originally posted by paulhooft
Hans:
Only because You already have your book, While I have NOTHING to read,
alias...
Only 100 books to go!!
Greetings from the European snow to sunny Hawaii!!
Paul

Paul - to come up with the right answer, you need to know about the accomplishments of those drivers. ;)

#11 Doug Nye

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Posted 01 December 2005 - 11:12

Received my copy of 'De Palma' yesterday and I would absolutely endorse everything good that Hans and Steve have said about it. To me it sets new standards of quality in a conventional 'novel' sized hardbound book, and its design and presentation of some breathtakingly good and well-reproduced photographs - considering many are small - is ground-breaking work.

To me it is better than Gary's previous book on Jimmy Murphy - more densely detailed and in some sections really tightly argued and described.

The defence of Ralph de Palma in the Ballot episode, in which Gary Doyle fairly meticulously dismantles the familiar Griffith Borgeson version - in which De Palma virtually alone was responsible for Ballot's loss to Duesenberg in the 1921 GP de l'ACF - is especially fascinating, though one gets the impression that both authors have been distinctly partisan - Borgeson to Ballot, Doyle to De Palma - the latter, I am sure, triggered by the former.

Above all this is a book that provides an instant 'feel' of quality, and the colour illustrations - several by the great Peter Hearsey (another good guy) add tremendously to one's enjoyment.

If you are at all interested in the period or the person, simply don't hesitate. It's worth every cent - as good as I hoped and expected it to be. For what it might be worth worth, I recommend it highly - and if I had any reservations whatsoever I would certanly be saying so. Lovely piece of work. :clap:

Its ISBN No is ISBN 0-9729144-8-X.

DCN

#12 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 03 December 2005 - 23:19

Last night I rolled in from the conference and related briefings that were the reason that I am back here in the good ol' USA to find that this amazing book had arrived -- no. 123, thank you Gary!

Although worn out, I skimmed through it last night, late into the night. I have spent most of the day reading it. I can only echo Doug's comments and second Hans' comments about how nice it is to see a well-researched book on this era see the light of day. A superb book.

Gary, ya done good. :up:

#13 David Birchall

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 04:55

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
I wondered if anyone knows what De Palma, Fangio, Clark and Schumacher had in common. :rolleyes:

Sorry, if there are other drivers I left out - unintentionally.



They were all farmer's sons?
David B

#14 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 08:05

David - nice try. As I have mentioned before De Palma, Fangio, Clark and Schumacher had something in common that relates to each as race driver. :cool:

#15 paulhooft

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 09:12

A now for the good news:

I have recieved both the de Palma Book and the CD's this week,
A very Nice piece of work, good quality, great pictures!!
And from Motorbooks USA came another pile of books:
Doug Nye's Jack Brabham, Ford Racing Century, Indy 1997 yearbook.
That is not all, I did some shopping in Rotterdam and found a coffee table book called Formula 1 -
A Autobiografie by Gerald Donaldson at De Slegte, a branch of Secondhand bookshops, that is World Famous in the Netherlands and Belgium.
It was translated in DUTCH.
So please forgive me for sometimes reading dutch,
I live in the Netherlands :clap:
Paul Hooft

#16 Frank Verplanken

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 16:56

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
I wondered if anyone knows what De Palma, Fangio, Clark and Schumacher had in common. :rolleyes:

Hmm... a wild guess off the top of my head : they all led a race at Le Mans but never won there ?

#17 ReWind

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 17:29

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
I wondered if anyone knows what De Palma, Fangio, Clark and Schumacher had in common.

Something to do with statistics? For example: percentage of race wins?

#18 David Birchall

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Posted 04 December 2005 - 19:01

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
David - nice try. As I have mentioned before De Palma, Fangio, Clark and Schumacher had something in common that relates to each as race driver. :cool:


Alright; They all were the standards by which other drivers of their day were judged?

Strike Two!

#19 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 04:41

Originally posted by David Birchall


Alright; They all were the standards by which other drivers of their day were judged?

Strike Two!

YES!
...... BINGO! :clap:

David, you did real good! Posted Image

Frank - good try. Your statement may be correct and fitting like others before you but it was not what I had in mind.

David hit the nail on the head. De Palma, Fangio, Clark and Schumacher were all outstanding drivers, they dominated part of their era. Their accomplishments are superior and drivers who raced with them respected those 'Giants'.

It's over to Gary now. Gary...? Posted Image

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#20 David Birchall

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 04:56

:wave:

Wow! it seemed so obvious....

Do I really get a free book? :cat:
David B

#21 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 05:29

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
De Palma, Fangio, Clark and Schumacher were all outstanding drivers, they dominated part of their era. Their accomplishments are superior and drivers who raced with them respected those 'Giants'.


Well, three out of four might fit that description.... :rolleyes:

#22 1920sracing

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 05:44

David:

Yes you do. Email me your particulars.

1920sracing

#23 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 10:29

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps


Well, three out of four might fit that description.... :rolleyes:

Don - if you think about Schumacher I can understand your reservations because Hill and Villeneuve did not look up to him. Same with De Palma and Oldsfield, two totally different characters.