American racing 1894 to 1920
Posted 21 September 2006 - 14:48
What Mr. Printz has written in Bob Russo and the 1920 AAA Championship should finally, once and for all put the whole nonsense of there being aonther national champion for the season besides Gaston Chevrolet.
However, it also makes it clear that much of the information that has been accepted into the mainstream as "national championship data" for the 1909 to 1915 and the 1917-1919 seasons was -- as some have long held -- simply data that was, I can't think of a better term, "made up" by Haresnape and Means and then "legitimized" by Russ Catlin. It is always a bit amazing that they somehow managed to ignore/ overlook/ disregard 1905, however.
So, despite there not being any "national championship" events for the years in question, this does not mean that they are not of any interest just because the "national championships" for year were, well, fabrications concocted years later.
Both Darren Galpin and John Glenn Printz have dredged up no end of information on these races and at some point in the future will begin to make it available.
More to follow.
Posted 22 September 2006 - 19:14
The Automobile Club of America (ACA) was founded on 7 Jan 1899 and soon became linked and affliliated with the Automobile Club of France (ACF). The ACA was somewhat exclusive in its membership and was, for the most part, only for New York state's wealthy elite. The ACA sponsored a 50 mile contest, New York to Babylon, on 14 Apr 1900. This race was won by A. L. Riker in an electric vehicle of his own design and manufacture. It is unfortunately not recorded as to how many changes of batteries, Riker had to make over the 50 mile distance. Riker in 1902 turned his attention exclusively to the gasoline powered motorcar and joined the Locomobile firm. During the period 1895 to 1902 it was very hard for would-be race promotors and racing organizers to get enough cars to have a decent meet. There would be many initial entries but few would actually arrive as they proved to be "paper" entries only. And many of those who did show up didn't run properly or quickly broke down.
NOTE: For a more detailed McMaken/Printz report on the first six years of international motor racing, 1894-1899, consult the thread "THE YEARS 1894 TO 1897".
Edited by john glenn printz, 17 August 2012 - 15:40.
Posted 22 September 2006 - 19:42
Barney Oldfield (1878-1946), about 1/3 driver and 2/3's showman, in quick succession drove the Ford "999", the Winton "Bullets", and the Peerless "Green Dragons" during the years 1902 to 1905. Oldfield's very first race was at Grosse Pointe, MI on 2 Oct 1902 in Henry Ford's "999" where he defeated Winton. At the Indiana State Fair, in Indianapolis, on 20 June 1903 in the Ford "999", Barney became the first man to clock a lap on a one mile dirt oval under 60 seconds. His time was given as 59 3/5 seconds. Most of the U.S. auto races for the period 1900 to 1903 were short sprint events of just five, ten, or twenty-five miles, run on the nation's numerous dirt one mile distance horse tracks. Oldfield himself specialized in this type of activity and soon became famous.
The first racing driver fatality in the U.S. was the 26 year old Frank Day, driving the Ford "Arrow" at Milwaukee on 12 Sept 1903. The first spectator fatality, during an actual race, took place at Grosse Point, MI on 9 Sept 1903 when Oldfield got out of control and crashed into a onlooker, Frank Shearer. Oldfield, on this occasion, had been driving one of Winton's "Bullets". There had already however been two spectator fatalities during the ACA speed trials held on Staten Island, NY (31 May 1902) for kilometer and mile straightaway records. A streamlined Baker electric, dubbed the "Torpedo", and driven by Walter C. Baker himself, suddenly veered off the course and plowed into the crowd.
The most important U.S. oval track meets, conducted during the 1901 to 1905 era, were usually staged in New York state, at the one mile horse tracks, located at Brighton Beach and Empire City. Here such names as Albert C. Boswick, Louis Chevrolet, H. S. Harkness, Webb Jay, F. A. La Roche, Barney Oldfield, Percy Owen, Charles Schmidt, Guy Vaughn, Dan Wurgis, etc. vied for the honours.
Edited by john glenn printz, 18 February 2011 - 14:40.
Posted 23 September 2006 - 11:09
The November 2 CHICAGO TIMES HERALD race was postponed to November 28, 1895 because insufficient entries were received. But spectators were expexted to assemble and an Exhibition Run was held instead on November 2 to please the spectators. The course went over a 92-mile stretch from Chicago to Waukegan and back. From the two cars at the start, Oscar Mueller (Benz) was the only car to finish the Exhibition Run after 8h44m actual running time and received the $500.00 prize. This event was not a race.
Originally posted by john glenn printz
...The first American race was held in 1895 and was sponsored by the CHICAGO TIMES HERALD newspaper and took place on 2 NOV 1895. Oscar B. Mueller in a Benz powered carriage won...
[a foot note: the Nov 2 event had originally been planned to take place in August 1895 but because only one car was ready, a Haynes-Apperson, the race was postponed to November 2.]
The November 28 event was the first American automobile race because the November 2 event was an Exhibition Run.
Originally posted by john glenn printz
...On 28 Nov 1895 there was a second more famous contest, Chicago to Evanston and back (52.4 miles), won by James Frank Duryea (1870-1967), in a car of his own make...
Posted 23 September 2006 - 20:24
Giving each competing vehicle a specific identifying number started with the 1894 Paris to Rouen trial and the Gordon Bennett series (1900-1906), which was supposely a contest between nations rather than individual teams, introduced the idea of each country having its own colour. The Gordon Bennett scheme was blue for France, white for Germany, green for Great Britain, and red for Italy. These traditions were still being closely adhered to, in Grand Prix racing in the early 1950's. Ferrari, of course, still maintains red for Italy up to the present day.
The Bennett Cup events of 1900 to 1902 didn't amount to very much but became of the utmost importance with the 1903 event staged in Athy, Ireland. The cars raced on a circuit of 51 7/8 miles a lap! After the 1903 race, won by Camille Jenatzy on a Mercedes, (at an 49.245 mph average, over the 327.55 mile distance), the Gordon Bennett series lasted just two more years and then was replaced by the French Grand Prix of 26-27 June 1906. The first three (i.e., 1900-1902) Gordon Bennett contests were run as just an adjunct of the very great European "city to city" events but that had all changed with 1903 running. A "closed" circuit now became the norm for all major European races run before World War I (1914-1918). Of major importance and interest was the American participation in the Gordon Bennett classics. Alexander Winton entered in 1900 and 1903, Peerless in 1903, and Pope-Toledo and Locomobile in 1905. For the years 1903, 1904, and 1905 the Gordon Bennett contests were the most important automobile races in the world. The three winners here were:
(1.) 1903, July 2 Athy, Ireland, Camille Jenatzy, Mercedes, 327.55 miles 49.245 mph
(2.) 1904, June 17 Homburg, Germany, Leon Thery, Richard-Brasier, 317.860 miles, 54.487 mph
(3.) 1905, July 5 Auvergne, France, Leon Thery, Richard-Brasier, 341.400 miles, 48.459 mph
The results for all of the American entries in the Gordon Bennett were totally dismal and disappointing. The U.S. severly lagged behind the engineering advances of Europe in the field of automobiling until the end of World War I, i.e. 11 November 1918. American motor racing 1895 to 1903 was totally amateurish, desultory, and unimportant. In the decade 1894 to 1903 many important, long distance "city to city", contests were staged in Europe but the U.S. itself witnessed no motor races of any real or international importance. That however would change in 1904. I might add that Mr. Gordon Bennett himself, it is said, never attended any of his Gordon Bennett Cup races.
Edited by john glenn printz, 26 September 2010 - 17:35.
Posted 24 September 2006 - 16:04
Edited by john glenn printz, 22 September 2010 - 16:48.
Posted 24 September 2006 - 18:38
Just why and how the AAA became the ruling body of the first Vanderbilt Cup race of 1904 is unclear to me because I would have expected the early Vanderbilt Cup contests to have been held under the aegis of the ACA. There is still an unknown story here somewhere. In any case the Vanderbilt Cup, at first, was a direct imitation of the European held Gordon Bennett events. During the Vanderbilt Cup's first three runnings (i.e., 1904, 1905, & 1906) some of the best European drivers and teams crossed the Atlantic to compete in it. Remarkably, in the 1904 race, among the four U.S. built starters, a Pope-Toledo piloted by Herbert Lytle (1874-1932) and a Packard "Grey Wolf" driven by Charles Schmidt, took 3rd and 4th places overall against 13 of Europe's best. George Heath (1862-1943), an expatriate American living in France won, driving a Panhard; and Alberts Clement's (d. 1907) Clement-Bayard took second. The first three Vanderbilt Cup races were staged on public roads which, because of accidents and some fatalities among the spectators, could no longer be totally used in New York after the 1906 contest.
The results of the first three Vanderbilt Cups were:
1. Oct. 8, 1904 Long Island NY 284.4 miles, Heath, George, Panhard, 52.2 mph R
2. Oct. 14, 1905 Long Island, NY 283 miles, Hemery, Victor, Darracq, 61.5 mph R
3. Oct. 6, 1906 Long Island, NY 297.1 miles, Wagner, Louis, Darracq, 61.4 mph R
THE 1905 AAA NATIONAL TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP. It must be mentioned that the AAA in 1905 had a National Track Championship based on a point sytem. It is the earliest point awarding series known anywhere in motor racing. The nine pilots who scored points and their final point totals were: (1.) Barney Oldfield (Peerless) 25; (2.) Louis Chevrolet (Fiat) 13; (3.) Jay Webb (White steamer) 12; (4.) Bob Burman (Peerless) 9; (5.) Earl Kiser (Winton) 4; (6.) Herbert Lytle (Pope-Toledo) 4; (7.) Maurice Bernin (Renault) 4; (8.) Emanuel Cedrino (Fiat) 4; and (9.) Dan Wurgis (Reo Bird) 2. All the "point" awarding events in this 1905 AAA Championship were short distance sprint races of no more than 10 miles in length. This 1905 AAA National Title is an isolated and unique instance, as no other official AAA national title has been found, before the year 1916.
Edited by john glenn printz, 01 October 2010 - 12:55.
Posted 25 September 2006 - 09:54
In 1902 Alexander Winton (1860-1932) of Cleveland, Ohio built the first of his three "Bullets" and Henry Ford (1863-1947) of Detroit, Michigan, constructed two identical racers dubbed the "999" (its name taken from a famous record breaking steam locomotive) and the "Arrow". In 1903 Louis P. Mooers (1873-1962) constructed the first Peerless "Green Dragon" and in 1905 the White firm came forward with the steam racer "Whistling Billy", driven by Jay Webb. Winton retired from race car construction in 1905 because of very serious injuries incurred by driver Earl Kiser on 17 Aug 1905 at Glenville, Ohio. Barney Oldfield (1878-1946), about 1/3 driver and 2/3's showman, in quick succession drove the Ford "999", the Winton "Bullets", and the Peerless "Green Dragons" during the years 1902 to 1905. Oldfield's very first race was at Grosse Point, MI on 2 Oct 1902 in Henry Ford's "999" where he defeated Winton. At the Indiana State Fair, in Indianapolis, on 15 June1902 in the Ford "999", Barney became the first man to clock a lap on a one mile dirt oval under 60 seconds. Most of the U.S. auto races for the period 1900 to 1903 were short sprint events of just five, ten, or twenty-five miles, run on the nation's numerous dirt one mile distance horse tracks. Oldfield himself specialized in this type of activity. The first racing driver fatality was the 26 year old Frank Day, driving the Ford "Arrow" at Milwaukee on 12 Sept 1903. The first spectator fatality, during an actual race, took place at Grosse Point, MI on 9 Sept 1903 when Oldfield got out of control and crashed into a onlooker, Frank Shearer. Oldfield, on this occasion, had been driving one of Winton's "Bullets". There had already however been two spectator fatalities during the ACA speed trials held on Staten Island, NY (31 May 1902) for kilometer and mile straightaway records.
U.S. 1894-1920: (cont-3) A streamlined Baker electric, dubbed the "Torpedo", and driven by Walter C. Baker himself, suddenly veered off the course and plowed into the crowd. The Gordon Bennett Cup races were established in 1900 by an American expatriate newspaper owner of the NEW YORK HEARALD, James Gordon Bennett, Jr. (1841-1918), who lived mostly in Paris, France. The Gordon Bennett series of races (1900-1905) were really the first group of truely international automobile contests and were the immediate and direct forerunner to Grand Prix racing proper which began in 1906 at LeMans on June 26-27. Giving each competing vehicle a specific identifying number started with the 1894 Paris to Rouen trial and the Gordon Bennett series (1900-1906), which was supposely a contest betwe nations rather than individual teams, introduced the idea of each counry having its own colour. The Gordon Bennett scheme was blue for France, white for Germany, green for Great Britain, and red for Italy. These traditions were still being closely adhered to, in Grand Prix in the early 1950's. Ferrari, of course, still maintains red for Italy up to the present day. The Bennett Cup events of 1900 to 1902 didn't amount to very much but became of the utmost importance with the 1903 event staged in Athy, Ireland. The cars raced on a circuit of 51 7/8 miles a lap! After the 1903 race, won by Camille Jenatzy on a Mercedes, (at an 49.245 mph average, over the 318 mile distance), the Gordon Bennett series lasted just two more years and then was replaced by the French Grand Prix of 26-27 June 1906. The first three (i.e., 1900-1902) Gordon Bennett contests were run as just an adjunct of the very great European "city to city" events but that had all changed with 1903 running. A "closed" circuit now became the norm for all major European races run before World War I (1914-1918). Of major importance and interest was the American participation in the Gordon Bennett classics. Alexander Winton entered in 1900 and 1903, Peerless in 1903, and Pope-Toledo and Locomobile in 1905.
U.S. 1894-1920 (cont-4) The results for all of these U.S. entries was totally dismal and disappointing. The U.S. severly lagged behind the engineering advances of Europe in the field of automobiling until the end of World War I (11 Nov. 1918). American motor racing 1895 to 1903 was totally amateurish, desultory, and unimportant. In the decade 1894 to 1903 many important, long distance, "city to city", contests were staged in Europe but the U.S. itself witnessed no motor races of any real or international importance. That however would change in 1904. NOTE: For a detailed McMaken/Printz report on the first two years ( i.e., 1894-1895) of motor racing consult RACER July and October 1994 issues. 1904 TO 1908-THE AAA RACING BOARD ERA. Major international automobile racing came to America in 1904 through the inauguration of the Vanderbilt Cup series sponsored by millionaire U.S. sportman, William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. (1878-1944). W. K. Vanderbilt, Jr. was an heir to the Vanderbilt shipping and railway fortune and the son of William K. Vanderbilt, Sr. (1849-1920) with whom he is sometimes confused. Vanderbilt, Jr. purchased his first automobile, a Stanley steamer, in 1899. In 1902 Vanderbilt, Jr. went to Europe and seriously wanted to break into the auto racing game as practiced there. "Wille K" thus drove a Mercedes in the Circuit du Nord event (15-16 May 1902). On 26-29 July 1902 Vanderbilt ran in the Paris-Vienna race piloting a Mors car. In the Circuit des Ardennes race (31 July 1902), when again driving a Mors, young Vanderbilt finished 3rd, among the 17 starters, just behind Englishman Charles Jarrott (Panhard) the winner, and Frenchman Fernand Gabriel (Mors), in 2nd. And on 5 Aug 1902 Wille set a new land speed record at Ablis, located in France, of 76.08 mph in a Mors. Next Vanderbilt ran in the 1903 "race to the death" Paris-Madrid contest which was stopped at Bordeaux because of many dire and calamitous accidents. Eight people had already been killed including French driver Marcel Renault and the English pilot Lorraine Barron, five innocent spectators, and a riding mechanic.
U.S. 1894-1920 (cont-5) These disasters put an end to the great series of ACF city to city races, run across Europe, which began with the 1894 Paris-Rouen reliability run or trial. On 27 Jan 1904, this time in a Mercedes, Vanderbilt set a new land speed record of 92.78 mph in the U.S. at Ormond Beach (Daytona), Florida. The Mercedes. in question, is said to have been rated at 90 horsepower. So, in 1904, Vanderbilt, Jr., cetainly knew what he was about to bring from the Old World to the New World. The American Automobile Association (AAA) was first formed in Chicago, IL on 4 Mar 1902. By June 1902 it had also established a separate "Racing Board" under the headship of Arthur Rayner Pardington (1862-1915), which became the offical sanctioning body for the inaugural 1904 Vanderbilt Cup race held in New York. Just why and how the AAA became the ruling body of the first Vanderbilt Cup race is unclear to me because I would have expected the early Vanderbilt Cup contests to have been held under the aegis of the ACA. There is still an unknown story here somewhere. In any case the Vanderbilt Cup, at first, was a direct imitation of the European held Gordon Bennett events. During the Vanderbilt Cup's first three runnings (i.e., 1904, 1905, & 1906) some of the best European drivers and teams crossed the Atlantic to compete in it. Remarkably, in the 1904 race, among the four U.S. built starters, a Pope-Toledo piloted by Herbert Lytle and a Packard "Grey Wolf" driven by Charles Schmidt, took 3rd and 4th places overall against 13 of Europe's best. George Heath, an expatriate American living in France won, driving a Panhard; and Alberts Clement's Clement-Bayard took second. The first three Vanderbilt Cup races were staged on public roads which, because of accidents and some fatalities among the spectators, could no longer be totally used afterf the 1906 contest.
Posted 25 September 2006 - 14:17
Originally posted by john glenn printz
The first race was sponsored by the French newspaper LE PETIT JOUNAL. This was the famous 78.75 mile reliability run, Paris to Rouen contest, won by Count De Dion in a De Dion steam powered vehicle.
It wasn't won by de Dion. De Dion was fastest in time trials but the jury awarded first place to Peugeot and Panhard et Levassor companies.
Posted 25 September 2006 - 15:02
What about that 1878 Green Bay - Madison (WI) event between two road locomotives?
There was an article which appeared in the Rear View Mirror column dated 2 January 2002 in which the 1878 road locomotive contest was discussed. There was one day which saw a head-to-head encounter between the road locomotives which took place on a horse racing track.
Posted 25 September 2006 - 19:39
1907 U.S. 24 hour automobile racing contests:
1. May 24-25 Point Breeze PA, Brown, Joseph L.-Maynes, Robert, Autocar 30hp, 791 miles
2. June 21-22 Detroit (Michigan State Fairgrounds), MI, Kulick, Frank-Lorimer, Bert, Ford 40hp, 1135 miles
3. June 28-29 Point Breeze PA , Michener, Harry-Mulford, Ralph, Lozier 40 hp, 717 miles
4. June 28-29 St. Paul (Hamline) MN, Mengini, Ralph-Zach, Robert, Locomobile, 1037 miles
5. July 3-4 St. Louis MO, Burman, Bob-Claps, Jackson 40 hp, 833 miles
6. July 12-13 Chicago IL (Harlem) , Coey, Charles A.-Kabba, Gus, Thomas 50 hp, 846 miles
7. Aug, 9-10 Brighton Beach, NY, Roberts, Montague, Roberts-McIlvrid, William, Thomas, 997 miles
8. Sept. 6-7 Morris Park, NY, Bernini, Edward-LaCroix, Paul, Fiat 35 hp, 1079 miles
9. Sept. 20-21 Milwaukee, WI, Drack, Robert-Leiser, Fred, Locomobile 40 hp, 1146 miles
10. Sept. 27-28 Morris Park, NY, Cedrino, Emanuel-Parker, Edward, Renault 35 hp, 984 miles
With regard to the June 28-29 Point Breeze contest, this was Ralph Mulford's first start as a competitive driver and led to a long career which lasted into the year 1922.
J. Walter Christie (1864-1944) built a racing car specifically designed for use in the upcoming 1907 French Grand Prix, staged at Dieppe on July 3, 1907. His new machine featured front wheel drive and a transverse mounted V4 motor. By going to Europe, Christie followed in the footsteps of the U.S. entrants of the Gordon Bennett Cup events of 1900 (Winton), 1903 (Peerless & Winton), and 1905 (Locomobile & Pope-Toledo), all of which ventures proved to be totally unsuccessful. Walter Christie himself fared no better in 1907. The 1907, 478.4 mile, French Grand Prix had 37 starters and was for 10 laps. Christie managed to complete only 4 laps and was placed 33rd in the final results. Christie's riding mechanic on this occasion was his nephew, Lewis Strang (1887-1911). However Christie's 1907 competitive drive at Dieppe was the very first U.S. attempt, entry, and tryout, for an American car in a genuine Grand Prix contest.
THE 1908 AMERICAN SEASON. In 1908 more big, long distance road races came to the fore and important events of this sort were held at Savannah, GA; Briarcliff, NY; Lowell, MA; and the Vanderbilt Cup itself at the Long Island Motor Parkway. 1908 was the first year that the U.S. could claim that there was a "season" of big motor racing contests. Lewis Strang (1887-1911) and Herbert Lytle (1874-1932) dominated the year 1908 in the U.S. piloting Isottas. In 1908 some European teams (Benz, Clement-Bayard, De Dietrich, Fiat, and Itala) came over and put their efforts into a new American race, promoted by the ACA, and called the American Grand Prize. Louis Wagner (1882-1960) won in an Italian Fiat and the best U.S. placement was but 11th, i.e., Joe Seymour in a Simplex. In this test the Americans were clearly outclassed and outranked. The introduction of the ACA's "Grand Prize" now gave the U.S. two events of seeming world importance and ranking, i.e. the Vanderbilt Cup and the Grand Prize. Both of these indigenous roard racing classics came to end after their 1916 running.
The major U.S. automobile races for 1908 and their winners were:
1. March 19 Savannah GA 342 miles, Strang, Lewis, Isotta, 50.7 mph R
2. April 24 Briarcliff NY 240 miles, Strang, Lewis, Isotta, 46.2 mph R
3. Sept. 7 Lowell MA 254.4 miles, Strang, Lewis, Isotta, 53.6 mph R
4. Oct. 10 Long Island NY 234.6 miles, Lytle, Herbert, Isotta, 64.3 mph R
5. Oct. 10 Fairmount Park PA 195 miles, Robertson, George, Locomobile, 49.5 mph R
6. Oct. 24 Long Island NY 258.06 miles, Robertson, George, Locomobile, 64.3 mph R (Vanderbilt Cup)
7. Nov. 26 Savannah GA 402.08 miles, Wagner, Louis, Fiat, 65.2 mph R (American Grand Prize)
The second American attempt to complete in Grand Prix racing occurred in 1908 when Erwin Ross Thomas (d. 1936 at age 85) sent pilot Lewis Strang over to Dieppe for the 1908 French Grand Prix. The race was run on July 7 and consisted of ten laps, for a total distance 478.4 miles. The Thomas car was manufactured by the E. R. Thomas Motor Company located in Buffalo, NY. The marque lasted as a U. S. passenger car make from 1902 to 1919. In 1906 the firm had constructed three special cars for the Vanderbilt Cup event. Strang's Grand Prix type Thomas was capable of 100 mph on the Dieppe straights, but the European vehicles were even faster! Strang completed four circuits and finished 33rd among the 48 starters. This was the last time an American built and designed car ran in a Grand Prix until four 3-litre Duesenbergs were shipped to France for the 323 1/2 mile July 25, 1921 French Grand Prix, staged at LeMans.
Edited by john glenn printz, 31 January 2012 - 17:59.
Posted 27 September 2006 - 19:44
1909 TO 1915: THE PRE-AAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ERA. The AAA didn't particularly appreciate the ACA attempt to upstage the older Vanderbilt Cup series by its 1908 inauguration of the rival Grand Prize. The ACA and AAA feuded and by September 1908 a compromise had been reached. The ACA, with its long affliation with the ACF, would now conduct all the U.S. "international" races while the AAA would take control over all the domestic, indigenous, and "national" automobile racing activity staged in the U.S. It was in this rather odd or strange manner that the AAA Contest Board took all control of "big time" American automobile racing in the U.S. in 1909.
Edited by john glenn printz, 24 September 2010 - 12:55.
Posted 28 September 2006 - 11:24
It was in fact not held from 1909-1911, for those 3 years. The correct title was really GRAND PRIX de l'A.C.F. but the event was also called simply THE GRAND PRIX.
Originally posted by john glenn printz
U. S. 1894-1920 (cont-7)... ....The French Grand Prix was the greatest automobile race in the entire world when, (it was not always held every year- no French GP events 1907-1911...
Posted 28 September 2006 - 12:01
Posted 28 September 2006 - 19:26
For some inexplicable reason (to me anyway) the AAA on 2 Dec 1908 disbanded its Racing Board which had operated since the 1902 season and immediately instituted a newly organized "Contest Board" on the very same day. What was behind this shakeup is hard to divine, but the new 1909 AAA Contest Board would last until the AAA got entirely out of racing in late 1955. Jefferson Demont Thompson, who had been the head of the AAA Racing Board, was now replaced by Frank Benjamin Hower (1858-1933). Hower thus became the first head of the AAA Contest Board. By April 1909 the MCA and the AAA Contest Board had worked out a very elaborate system of new race regulations, which seemed to be mostly the work of Howard E. Coffin (1873-1937), the MCA representative for the Chalmers-Detroit automobile manufacturer, located in Detroit, Michigan. The new 1909 racing regulations and rules proved however to be over elaborate and overwrought. The new scheme divided the stock racing car categories into five basic categories based on the weight, but mainly on the piston displacement of the engines and thereby left something for almost everybody.
Edited by john glenn printz, 22 September 2010 - 18:27.
Posted 29 September 2006 - 16:13
I think that what is overlooked -- and another over-simplification, is that there was perhaps a more plebian flavor to American racing than that of European racing of the period, the latter being patrician using the same metaphor, if you will. There was also perhaps a greater sense of pragmatism and the notion of encouraging participation or involvement in American racing. I have yet to examine this thesis in the detail it deserves, so, once again, it is more a supposition on my part.
As I have examined the contemporary record, I find myself less befuddled than Mr. Printz in some of the actions of the AAA in its regard of its racing activities during this period. Not everything is clear, much less understood, but it seems clear that the arrangement between the AAA and the MCA was scarcely a spur of the moment agreement. There had been various "contest boards" involving members of the automobile industry formed in the previous few years, indicators of the direction several wished to take.
Factor in that the Racing Board -- as the Contest Board which suceeded it, was supposed to be self-sustaining and the idea of a stipend from the automobile industry seemed very attractive.
What is needed is much more research into this period of the American racing scene, with attention as much on the "politics" and management of the sport as the on-track activities.
By the way, one thing that the Contest Board most certainly did not do was establish a "National Championship Trail" and a "National Championship." References to such things are absent from the contemporary record.
Posted 29 September 2006 - 19:19
THE GRADUAL AAA SWITCHOVER FROM THE 1909 MCA STOCK CHASSIS RULES TO A MORE UNIFORM 1915 FORMULA FOR THOROUGHBRED RACING CARS. One basic problem with this new system proved to be that in some of the piston displacement categories there were very few entrants or none at all. Sometimes there was just one team, all of the same make, in one of the categories. In fact, it proved to be in actual practice, that there were so few entries in each piston displacement category that each auto manufacturer had thus a very good chance of an overall victory.
But to what end? It was all just what the U.S. automobile industry and its ad men wanted, i.e. cheap and easily obtained victories. And still there were other more serious problems with this new setup. The so-called five "stock" classifications, which had been "taylor-made" for the auto industry by it own request and representives, was subject to constant abuse. The manufacturers almost always made their actual "stock" racing models, which they actually put on the track, of finer and more expensive materials, of much greater craftsmanship, and of closer and more precise tolerances than the more normal production engines and gear train, which they sold to the general public.
Take for example what happened at an Indianapolis race meet of May 27, 1910. We read (quote), "The row over the stock car proposition has developed into one of the sensations of the year, marking a stand taken by the American Automobile association to enforce the stock car status. It is believed that Referee Pardington's action will clear the atmosphere and result in firmly established stock car racing. The technical committee had reported that Buick model 10 A. 10 B, and 100, the Jackson 30, Cutting 50, Westcott, American roadster, Fuller and Empire did not comply with the stock car regulations in that the concerns involved had not made the required number of cars or did not have the parts on hand. Their report threw these machines out of the stock car competition."
When the AAA tried to enforce the "stock" provision rules, it had no real option but to disqualify the more open abuses of the rules by certain passenger car manufacturers. This made, of course, the said manufacturers look like they were deliberately cheating (which in fact they were) and, in the resultant bad publicity, the situation was a lot worse than merely losing a few races. The said auto company, in an indignant huff and crying unfair treatment, would then pull out of racing completely. The AAA Contest Board then faced the prospect of having no or fewer entries for the various "stock chassis" contests. It all became rather high farse and by 1911-12, the idea of staging races solely on a "stock chassis" basis was mostly over.
The major U.S. automobile races and their winners for 1909 were:
1. June 12 Portland OR 43.8, Covey, Howard, Cadillac, 55.7 mph R stock chassis only -$1,650
2. June 12 Portland OR 43.8, Arnold, Charles, Pope-Hartford, 57.4 mph R stock chassis only -$3000
3. June 12 Portland OR 102.2, Dingley, Bert, Chalmers-Detroit, 58.6 mph R stock chassis only open
4. June 18 Crown Point IN 232.74, Matson, Joe, Chalmers-Detroit, 51.0 mph R stock chassis only 300 cubic inch limit
5. June 19 Crown Point IN 395.65, Chevrolet, Louis, Buick, 49.3 mph R stock chassis only 525 cubic inch limit
6. July 5 Denver CO 290, McMillian, Eaton, Colburn, 39.0 mph R FFA
7. July 10 Santa Monica CA 202.42, Hanshue, Harris, Apperson, 64.4 mph R stock chassis only +250 cubic inches
8. July 10 Santa Monica CA 202.42, Dingley, Bert, Chalmers-Detroit, 55.4 mph R stock chassis only -250 cubic inches
9. Aug. 19 Indianapolis IN 250, Burman, Bob, Buick, 53.9 mph D 450 cubic inch limit
10. Aug. 20 Indianapolis IN 100, Strang, Louis, Buick, 64.9 mph D stock chassis only 300 cubic inch limit
11. Aug. 21 Indianapolis IN 245, Lynch, Leigh, Jackson, 55.8 mph D 600 cubic inch limit
12. Sept. 6 Lowell MA 212, Burman, Bob, Buick, 55.5 mph R stock chassis only 450 cubic inch limit
13. Sept. 7 Lowell MA 127.2, Knipper, William, Chalmers-Detroit, 51.5 mph R stock chassis only 230 cubic inch limit
14. Sept 7 Lowell MA 159, Chevrolet, Louis, Buick, 54.2 mph R stock chassis only 300 cubic inch limit
15. Sept 8 Lowell MA 318, Robertson, George, Simplex, 51.4 mph R stock chassis only 600 cubic inch limit
16. Sept 29 Riverhead NY 227.5, DePalma, Ralph, Fiat, 62.3 mph R stock chassis only +$4001
17. Sept 29 Riverhead NY 182, Lescault, Frank, Palmer-Singer, 62 mph, R stock chassis only +$3001
18. Sept. 29 Riverhead NY 136.5, Sharp, William, Sharp-Arrow, 63.4 mph R stock chassis only +$2001
19. Sept. 29 Riverhead NY 113.75, Chevrolet, Louis, Buick, 70.3 mph R stock chassis only +$1251
20. Sept. 29 Riverhead NY 91, See, Arthur, Maxwell, 60.0 mph R stock chassis only +$851
21. Oct. 9 Philadelphia PA 202.5, Robertson, George, Simplex, 55.4 mph R stock chassis only open
22. Oct. 24 San Leandro CA 258.16, Fleming, Jack, Pope-Hartford, 63.7 mph R 600 cubic inch limit
23. Oct. 30 Long Island NY 278, Grant, Harry, Alco, 62.7 mph R (Vanderbilt Cup) stock chassis only 600 cubic inch limit
23. Nov. 9 Atlanta GA 200, Chevrolet, Louis, Buick, 71.94 mph D stock chassis only 450 cubic inch limit
24. Nov. 10 Atlanta GA 100, Knipper, William, Chalmers-Detroit, 59.5 mph D stock chassis only "light car class"
25. Nov. 13 Atlanta GA 200 Disbrow, Louis, Rainer, 69.04 mph D stock chassis only 600 cubic inch limit
Edited by john glenn printz, 02 June 2011 - 18:04.
Posted 30 September 2006 - 17:44
The new 1909 piston displacement classes were in place for many years, in theory, but by the 1915 AAA season the so-called Class E, i.e., up to 301 cubic inches allowed, was pretty much the standard format for the Indianapolis 500 and all the major AAA board track races. By 1913-1914 it was obvious too that only a pure bred type racing machines could win the major races. The few European ex-Grand Prix cars brought over to the U.S. (i.e., Delage, Mercedes, Peugeot, and Sunbeam) were clearly superior to anything the Americans could design and construct (i.e., Maxwell, Mason/Duesenberg, Mercer, and Stutz). Many of the automobile manufacturers, even the successful ones in racing, quit the sport and disbanded their teams. Among them were Alco in 1910, Buick in 1911, Lozier and National in 1912, Stutz in 1915 and Mercer in 1916. Key factors in their disappearance were the constant high costs, the danger, and the loss of both races and human life.
THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY 1909-1911. Another important (!) landmark was the construction of a 2 1/2 mile dirt (macadam) surfaced speedway just outside the city of Indianapolis in 1909. Its four original founders were Carl Graham Fisher (1874-1939), James Ashbury Allison (1872-1928), Arthur Calvin Newby (1865-1933), and Frank H. Wheeler (1864-1921). The Indianapolis Speedway's first automobile race meet was held on August 19-21, 1909, killing five persons, i.e. 1 driver (Bourque), 2 riding mechanics (Holcomb & Kellum); and 2 spectators (Joliff & West). Its original dirt or macadam surface had proved unstable and its original macadam surface was then replaced by 3,200,000 large bricks later in 1909. In both 1909 and 1910 the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) held many AAA events using the "stripped stock chassis" formulas of the day. The local Indianapolis makers (i.e. Marmon and National), and Mr. Harry Clayton Stutz (1876-1930), who ran at the new track, profited by their experiences and would put them to good use in the later 500 mile contests. The now traditional 500 mile race format was first introduced on 30 May 1911, as a promotional gamble and gimmick, because attendance at the Speedways race meets during 1909 and 1910 had gradually and greatly fallen off. The idea of staging just one big 500 mile event annually, over holding a series of lesser AAA races and race meets, worked beyond anyone's expectations.
THE FOUR FOUNDERS OF THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: 1. EARLY CARL G. FISHER. Carl Fisher was a hustler, an energeric entreprenueur, and promotor who with two brothers, opened a bicycle shop in Indianapolis in 1891. Carl was a member of the Indianapolis bicycle organization known as the Zig-Zag Cycling Club, where he met James Allison and Arthur Newby. The 1890s in America was the highpoint of the newly introduced bicycle craze. Eventually c. 1900, the bicycle business was enlarged to include the selling of automobiles and their repair. Among the makes handled by the Fisher brothers was the Stoddard-Dayton, a car built in Dayton, OH during 1904-1913. Stoddart-Daytons were the pace cars at the 500 for 1911, 1913, and 1914 with Carl at the wheel. The earliest connection that Carl had with motor racing seems to point to late 1901 when he raced at Dallas, TX on October 2 and at Toledo, OH on October 28. At Toledo he used a Winton car.
Fisher raced in the mid-west during 1903, 1904, and 1905 at such tracks as Chicago (Harlem) IL, and Cleveland (Glenville) OH. In 1905 Fisher had a special "all-out" racer constructed, a 60 horsepower Premier, for the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup race, but it proved to be overweight by the existing rule limit of 2200 pounds and couldn't run at the Cup race. Fisher, with the new Premier, was to have taken part in the Vanderbilt Cup elimination trials held on September 22, 1905 at Mineola, New York but the entry was scratched. Later Carl raced the Premier on the dirt tracks.
During 1904 Fisher and James Allison invested in a new patented device developed by Percy C. "Fred" Avery. Avery's idea was to use portable acetylene compressed filled cylinders as a source for an illuminate, to be used on motor car lamps, for night-time driving. Avery, Allison, and Fisher formed the Concentrated Acetylene Company in 1904 to manufacture this lighting mechanism. Avery left the firm in 1906 and the company was then renamed the Prest O Lite Company, Inc. The Prest O Lite illumination system proved a huge success and made both Fisher and Allison millionaires. In 1913 Allison and Fisher sold the Prest O Lite company to Union Carbide for $9,000,000. It was a good time to sell the business as the acetylene lit automobile lamps were about to be replaced by electric powered lights. Hitherto the filaments in the electric bulbs were too fragile for automobile use.
Fisher probably got the idea for constructing a new huge modern motor speedway in the Indianapolis area in 1908, under the influence of the 2.75 mile concrete Brooklands oval built at Weybridge, England in early 1907. The Brooklands oval first opened on June 17, 1907. Carl surmized that the Indiana auto makers needed a large high speed track to test their cars and, in addition, money making races could probably be successfully staged on the track as well. Aviation, balloon, and motorcycle meets were also envisioned by Carl. Fisher somehow managed to talk Allison, Newby, and Wheeler into helping finance the Indianapolis Motor Speedway project. It is to be noted however that Fisher already in late 1905, in conjunction with the Indiana Democratic party boss Thomas Taggart (1854-1929), had tried to construct a five mile circular racing oval at French Lick Springs, IN. Taggart was the 18th mayor of Indianapolis and had served as such during the years 1895 to 1901.
2. JAMES A. ALLISON. James Allison (Fisher's chief partner in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway venture) incorporated and formed in 1915 the Indianapolis Speedway Team Company. The company was, at first, just an auto machine and repair shop. Its main function was to maintain, upgrade, and service the nine 300 cubic inch class racing cars now purchased by Allison and Fisher for use in the major AAA races, including Indianapolis itself. These nine vehicles then consisted of two 1914 Grand Prix Peugeots, four 1914 Maxwells, and three newly constructed cars copied directly from the two 1914 Grand Prix type Peugeots, built by the Premier Motor Manufacturing Company in late 1915/early 1916. In early 1917 Allison's shop switched over to war work and now quickly specialized in building aviation motors, engine bearings, and other parts. Eventually the name was changed to the Allison Engineering Company.
After the Great War (1914-1918) the Allison shop took their old model Premier and Peugeot racers out of storage and prepared them for the 1919 "500". The drivers assigned to them were George Buzane (Premier) while Jules Goux and Howard Wilcox got the two Peugeots. Two of the Allison shop entries made the race day lineup and finished 1st (Wilcox) and 3rd (Goux).
Allison was born in Marcellus, MI on August 11, 1872. The family moved to South Bend, IN and in 1880 to Indianapolis. When his father Noah established the Allison Coupon Company, James was assigned to the print shop. After his father's death James took over the business. Like many others in the 1890s Allison was envolved with bicycling.
Carl Fisher had lost all interest in the Speedway by the early 1920s and it was rumoured during May 1923 that the 1923 "500" would be the Speedway's last race, with the entire grounds (433 acres) to be sold after the contest. After 1923 Allison ran the Speedway for the years 1924-1927. In 1927 Eddie Rickenbacker, who knew that Allison was now semi-retired, asked James if he could purchased the Allison Engineering Company. Allison suggested instead that Rickenbacker buy the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Eddie got interested in the idea, raised the necessary funds in Detroit, and bought the Speedway on September 1, 1927 for $700,000. In his last years James was in bad health. Allison died on August 3, 1928, at age 55, from bronchial pneumonia. James had just been married on July 29 to his former secretary Miss Lucille Massett of Miami, FL. and virtually died on his honeymoon. The marriage had taken place at the home of Carl Fisher at Montauk Point, Long Island.
Allison Engineering was sold to General Motors in 1929 and became known as the Allison division of GM in 1934. During World War II the Allison division was famous for its production of V12 aviation engines used to power P38 and P51 fighter aircraft. Such engines became mostly war surplus after World War II but many of them were eventually used up as powerplants for unlimited hydroplane racing boats during the years 1946 to 1985.
3. ARTHUR C. NEWBY. Newby was born on a farm located in Monrovia, IN in 1866, but came to Indianapolis as a youth. For a time, beginning in 1882, he worked at the Nordyke and Marmon Company. The Nordyke and Marmon Company was established in 1851 and, at first, built flour milling machines. The first Marmon prototype automobile was constructed in 1901 or 1902 and contained a V2, water cooled motor. The real production of Marmons began in 1904 with a V4 type motor, i.e. Model A. In 1890 Arthur founded the Zig-Zag Cycling Club and also instituted a new firm, the Indianapolis Chain and Stamping Company, on December 24, 1900 with Edward C. Fletcher and Glenn G. Howe to manufacture bicycle chains. By 1899 it sold 60% of the chains used in the U.S., at which time the company was sold to the American Bicycle Company, i.e. Albert A. Pope. Later this firm was called the Diamond Chain Company. From 1894 to 1899 Arthur was connected to the Hay and Willite Manufacturing Company which made the Outing brand of bicycles. Arthur even put up an Indianapolis 1/4 mile board oval in 1898, located at 30th and Central Avenue, for bike races. In 1900 Newby was one of the original founders of the National Motor Vehicle Company which engaged in motor racing from 1905 to 1912. National cars were entered in the events held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the first four years of its operation, i.e. 1909-1912.
Newby, who appears always to have been a very kindly soul, was greatly perturbed by racing's dangers. He was very upset about two Speedway accidents, i.e. 1. Merz's crash in a 300 mile race (August 21, 1909) which killed three persons, and 2. the death of pilot Thomas "Tom" Kincaid (1883-1910) during a test session (July 6, 1910). Both Merz and Kincaid were driving Nationals at the time. The National racing team was highly successful during the 1910 and 1911 AAA seasons and Nationals won major events at Atlanta, Bakersfield, Elgin, Oakland, Philadelphia, Santa Monica, in addition to their triumphs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Among the pilots that drove Nationals in 1910-1911 were Johnny Aitken, Joe Dawson, Louis Disbrow, Don Herr, Harvey Herrick, Al Livingstone, Charles Merz, Howard Wilcox, and Len Zengle! After the Dawson/Herr combination won the 1912 Indianapolis 500 with a 491 cubic inch National, the firm got out of racing entirely.
In 1916 Arthur sold his interests in the National Motor Vehicle Company and went into semi-retirement. 1924 was the last year for the National car. In his later years Newby was a quiet philanthropist who gave donations, sometimes anonymously, for medical research, to hospitals, education projects, and indigent individuals. Arthur never married and since 1920 had lived with a cousin and her daughter. Newby died on September 11, 1933 after a long illness from heart disease.
4. FRANK H. WHEELER. Wheeler was born in Manchester, Iowa in 1864. Frank came to Indianapolis c. 1901 as a traveling salesman. Frank began work at age 15 as a salesman for the Hall Safe Company. Harry C. Stutz introduced him to inventor-designer George M. Schebler (1865-1942) from Batesville, IN who was working on carburetors. In 1902 George patented his new ideas and Wheeler soon became the chief selling agent for Schebler Carburetors. In 1905 Schebler and Wheeler became business partners and formed the Wheeler-Schebler Carburetor Company. The new firm prospered.
With Wheeler as an partner in the Indianapolis Speedway ownership, the Wheeler-Schebler Carburetor Company became involved with racing at the Speedway. The company sponsored the biggest event in the inaugural three day auto racing meet at the track. The contest was a 300 mile race for the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy, run on August 21, 1909. The race, which had 19 starters, proved catastrophic as the track surface broke up. Merz's National blew a tire on lap 71, left the course, and overturned among the spectators lining the outside fence. Merz was unhurt but his substitute mechanic, Claude Kellum, was thrown out and struck the fence with a terrible force. Kellum was killed along with two spectators, but race continued. On lap 81 driver Bruce Keen (Marmon) crashed and the AAA decided to stop the race at 235 miles. Only six cars were still running. The official results gave the win to Leigh Lynch (Jackson) who had averaged 55.8 mph. Behind Lynch came 2. DePalma (Fiat), 3. Keen (Marmon-actually out), 4. Stillman (Marmon), and 5. Harroun (Marmon).
Another Wheeler-Schebler Trophy race took place at the Speedway on May 28, 1910. It had 19 starters and the distance was now down to 200 miles. Ray Harroun (Marmon) was the victor by averaging 72.065 mph. Ray was followed over the line by 2. Leigh Lynch (Jackson), 3. Johnny Aitken (National), 4. Arthur Chevrolet (Buick), and 5. Frank Fox (Pope-Hartford). During July 1909 Schebler put together a passenger car powered by a V12 engine. In late 1912 Schebler retired because of ill health and sold his interest in the carburetor business to Wheeler, although the firm was still called Wheeler and Schebler.
The Wheeler-Schelber trophy was eight and half feet high, weighed 893 pounds, and was made from sterling silver. It was supposedly worth $10,000 in 1909 and had been designed by Tiffany and Company of New York City. After 1910 nobody knew quite what to do with it, but by 1923 it was awarded to the driver who led the 500 mile race at the 400 mile mark. It was stated that any driver who led three 500s in row at 400 miles, could take permanent possession of the trophy. In 1932 it was finally given to Harry Hartz because vehicles owned by him led the 500 at 400 miles, three times in a row, i.e. in 1930 (Arnold), 1931 (Arnold), and 1932 (Frame). Probably Hartz didn't know what to do with the Wheeler-Schelber trophy either.
1915 witnessed a U.S. speedway building mania with new ovals going up in Chicago, Des Moines, Omaha, Providence, Sheepshead Bay, Tacoma, and Twin City. Wheeler was heavily involved financially with the new Twin City 2 mile concrete motor speedway. Its concrete surface did not set well and was rough and full of waves right from beginning, which made it totally unsuitable for racing. And in addition the fans never showed up. When the Twin City track failed, Wheeler lost a bundle. Frank was in such a bind that in 1916 or 1917 he sold all his shares in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to James Allison.
Then Wheeler's health began to fail and he had long been a diabetic. After a return trip from Florida in February 1921 Frank suffered from constant melancholia and worried over trifles. A close business associate of Wheeler, a Mr. Seymour Avery, had killed himself on February 29 because of illness. On May 27 Wheeler blew off the left side of his head with both barrels of his favorite shotgun, in the bathroom of his palatial home. He does not appear however to have been broke at this time and is still described as a millionaire. On the same exact day, Ralph DePalma won the pole position at Indy with a speed of 100.75 mph in a Ballot.
OTHER NEW TRACKS 1909-1910. The first major U.S. speedways constructed specifically for motor racing were built in 1909. They were the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the 2 mile Atlanta Motordrome, which staged a five day meet beginning on November 9, 1909. The longest distance event at the inaugural Atlanta meet was a 200 miler run on November 9, and won by Louis Chevrolet (Buick) with an elapsed time of 2:46:48 (71.94 mph). Bert Dingley (Chalmers-Detroit) placed 2nd at 2:53:53, and Lee Lorimer (Chalmers-Detroit) was 3rd at 2:55:10. The first of the big U.S. board track ovals was the 1 mile circular Playa Del Rey which opened on April 8, 1910. The Atlanta track staged automobile races for only two seasons (1909-1910), while the Playa Del Rey oval closed down in early 1913 after suffering some fire damage.
The important 1910 U.S. automobile races with the winners are:
1. April 8 Playa del Rey CA 100, Harroun, Ray, Marmon, 78.8 mph B stock chassis only 300 cubic inch limit
2. April 8 Playa del Rey CA 50, DePalma, Ralph, Fiat, 75.1 mph B 600 cubic inch limit
3. April 17 Playa del Ray CA 100, Harroun, Ray, Marmon, 78.57 mph B stock chassis only, 600 cubic inch limit.
4. May 5 Altanta GA 200, Harroun, Ray, Marmon, 66.0 mph D stock chassis only 450 cubic inch limit
5. May 6 Altanta GA 60, Endicott, William, Cole, 59.5 mph, D stock chassis only 230 cubic inch limit
6. May 6 Altanta GA 50, Lytle, Herbert, American, 74.2 mph, D FFA
7. May 7 Altanta GA 200, Kincaid, Tom/Aitken, Johnny, National, 66.1 mph D stock chassis only 600 cubic inch limit
8. May 27 Indianapolis IN 100, Kincaid, Tom, National, 71.8 mph BR stock chassis only, 450 cubic inch limit
9. May 28 Indianapolis IN 200, Harroun, Ray, Marmon, 73.0 mph BR 600 cubic inch limit
10. May 30 Indianapolis IN 50, Harroun, Ray, Marmon, 70.5 mph BR stock chassis only 300 cubic inch limit
11. July 2 Indianapolis IN 100, Burman, Bob, Marquette-Buick, 74.5 mph BR stock chassis only 300 cubic inch limit
12. July 4 Indianapolis IN 200, Dawson, Joe, Marmon, 73.4 mph BR stock chassis only 600 cubic inch limit
13. Aug. 26 Elgin IL 170, Buck, Dave, Marmon, 55.1 mph R stock chassis only 300 cubic inch limit
14. Aug. 26 Elgin IL 230, Livington, Al, National, 60.6 mph R stock chassis only 450 cubic inch limit
15. Aug. 27 Elgin IL 305.03, Mulford, Ralph, Lozier, 62.5 mph R stock chassis only 600 cubic inch limit
16. Sept. 3 Indianapolis, IN 100, Hearne, Eddie, Benz, 75.0 mph BR FFA
17. Sept. 3 Indianapolis IN 100, Wilcox, Howard, National, 72.0 mph BR stock chassis only 450 cubic inch limit
18. Sept. 5 Indianapolis IN 50, Hearne, Eddie, Benz, 79.4 mph BR FFA
19. Sept. 5 Indianapolis IN 200, Aitken, Johnny, National, 71.2 mph BR 600 cubic inch limit
20. Oct. 1 Long Island NY 126.4, Endicott, William, Cole, 54.9 mph R stock chassis only 230 cubic inch limit
21. Oct. 1 Long Island NY 189.6, Gelnaw, Frank, Falcar, 58.4 mph R stock chassis only 300 cubic inch limit
22. Oct. 1 Long Island NY 278.08, Grant, Harry, Alco, 65.1 mph R (Vanderbilt Cup) stock chassis only 600 cubic inch limit
23. Oct. 8 Fairmount Park, PA 202.5, Mulford, Ralph, Lozier, 58.07 mph R 600 cubic inch limit
24. Oct. 8 Fairmount Park PA 202.5, Aitken, Johnny, National, 54.64 mph R 450 cubic inch limit
25. Oct. 10 Fairmount Park PA 202.5, Zengle, Zen, Chadwick, 57.8 mph R 750 cubic inch limit
26. Nov. 7 Atlanta GA 250, Horan, Joe, Lozier, 72.73 mph D FFA
27. Nov. 7 Atlanta GA 200, Dawson, Joe, Marmon, 68.4 mph D stock chassis only 600 cubic inch limit
28. Nov. 11 Savannah GA 190.3, Knipper, William, Lancia, 57.27 mph R 230 cubic inch limit
29. Nov. 11 Savannah GA 276.8, Dawson, Joe, Marmon, 62.99 mph R 300 cubic inch limit
30. Nov. 12 Savannah GA 415.2, Bruce-Brown, David, Benz, 70.5 mph R FFA (American Grand Prize)
31. Nov. 21 Santa Monica CA 151.5, Tetzlaff, Teddy, Lozier, 73.29 mph R stock chassis only 600 cubic inch limit
32. Nov. 24 Santa Monica CA 202.8, Tetzlaff, Teddy, Lozier, 71.72 mph R FFA
Edited by john glenn printz, 16 April 2012 - 17:02.
Posted 30 September 2006 - 18:31
Nobody competing in the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911 could have divined its ultimate importance or that this event would still be held in the 21st century! In any case Mulford was the very first man to complete an Indianapolis 500 mile race without a relief driver (1911) and the Frenchman Jules Goux, in 1913, was the first winner to achieve victory at Indianapolis without relief, piloting a 1912 Grand Prix L76 type Peugeot.
THE MOTOR AGE 1909-1915 U.S. NATIONAL DRIVING CHAMPIONS. In 1909 the American automobile journal MOTOR AGE started naming who they regarded as the most outstanding U.S. racing driver of the year and MOTOR AGE's selections soon acquired a quasi-offical status during the period 1909-1915 for most U.S. automobile writers. The MOTOR AGE's picks (all these selections were actually made by Chris G. Sinsabaugh, 1872-1943) for these years were; 1909 Bert Dingley, 1910 Ralph Mulford, 1911 Harvey Herrick, 1912 Ralph DePalma, 1913 Earl Cooper, 1914 Ralph DePalma, and 1915 Earl Cooper. Up to 1908 perhaps, the make of the winning vehicle was considered, more important than that of the winning driver. But now there occurs a very slow, subtle or decided shift in this matter. In any case MOTOR AGE's selections accustomed the interested motorcar public to think of an annual U.S. National Champion racing driver for each given season, even if the said selection was actually Sinsabaugh's and not officially from the AAA itself.
The major 1911 U.S automobile races with their victors are:
1. Feb. 22 Oakland CA 98, Bigelow, Charles, Mercer, 57.3 mph R 300 cubic inch limt
2. Feb. 22 Oakland CA 152.9, Merz, Charles, National, 66.8 mph R 600 cubic inch limit
3. Feb. 22 Oakland CA 163.84, Dingley, Bert, Pope-Hartford, 65.7 mph R FFA
4. March 28 Jacksonville FL 106, Disbrow, Louis, Pope-Hartford, 78.5 mph BE FFA
5. March 31 Jacksonville FL 300, Disbrow, Louis, Pope-Hartford, 77.07 mph BE FFA
6. May 30 Indianapolis IN 500, Harroun, Ray/Patschke, Cyrus, Marmon, 74.5 mph BR 600 cubic inch limit
7. July 4 Bakerfield CA 150, Herrick, Harvey, National, 48.5 R FFA
8. Aug. 6 Galveston 150, Zengel, Len, National, 71.37 mph BE FFA
9. Aug. 25 Elgin IL 169, Hughes, Hughie, Mercer, 64.6 mph R stock chassis only 300 cubic inch limit
10. Aug. 25 Elgin IL 203, Herr, Don, National, 65.6 mph R stock chassis only 450 cubic inch limit
11. Aug. 26 Elgin IL 305, Zengel, Len, National, 66.2 mph R stock chassis only 600 cubic inch limit
12. Sept. 3 Columbus OH 200, Knight, Harry, Westcott, 53.2 mph D
13. Sept. 9 Cincinnati OH 150, Jenkins, John, Cole, 54.0 mph R 300 cubic inch limit
14. Sept. 9 Cincinnati OH 200, Hearne, Eddie, Fiat, 56.6 mph R 600 cubic inch limit
15. Oct. 9 Philadelphia PA 202.5, Bergdoll, Erwin, Benz, 61.1 mph R 750 cubic inch limit
16. Oct. 9 Philadelphia PA 202.5, Mulford, Ralph, Lozier, 60.1 mph R 600 cubic inch limit
17. Oct. 9 Philadelphia PA 202.5, Disbrow, Louis, National, 58.3 mph R 450 cubic inch limit
18. Oct. 9 Philadelphia PA 202.5, Hughes, Hughie, Mercer, 57.9 mph R 300 cubic inch limit
19. Oct. 14 Santa Monica CA 151, Keene, Bruce, Marmon, 68.7 mph R 300 cubic inch limit
20. Oct. 14 Santa Monica CA 151, Merz, Charles, National, 74.2 mph R 450 cubic inch limit
21. Oct. 14 Santa Monica CA 101, Nikrent, Louis, Buick, 59.2 mph R 231 cubic inch limiit
22. Oct. 14 Santa Monica CA 202, Herrick, Harvey, National, 74.9 mph R FFA
23. Nov. 27 Savannah GA 291.38, Mulford, Ralph, Lozier, 74.0 mph R (Vanderbilt Cup) 600 cubic inch limit
24. Nov. 30 Savannah GA 411.36, Bruce-Brown, David, Fiat, 74.4 mph R (American Grand Prize) FFA
Edited by john glenn printz, 21 September 2010 - 20:22.
Posted 02 October 2006 - 08:34
I am now following your postings here at TNF, some entirely new to me in content. Those statements are really fascinating and I try to learn more about it. Unfortunately I am presently deeply involved in another project about European racing but I will make sure, to always watch and read your postings here.
I hope a publisher can be found, so we can read more about your findings from your meticulous research.
Posted 02 October 2006 - 18:48
Posted 03 October 2006 - 19:38
THE FRENCH GRAND PRIX AGAIN 1906-1911. The ACA had taken over the U.S.'s "international" contests in 1908/09 but in the meantime Grand Prix racing, or more specifically the French Grand Prix, had come to a complete halt. The Gordon Bennett Cup events of 1903, 1904, and 1905 had been the most important automobiles races staged anywhere in the world during those three years. The new French Grand Prix, its replacement in 1906, now became the most important and prestigious motorcar race anywhere in the world. However the French Grand Prix was not held during the years 1909, 1910, and 1911. The French auto industry had not been too happy with the actual results of the first three Grand Prixs. The foreigns entrants to the French Grand Prix were all trying earnestly to beat the French "at their own game". The French had won the 1906 with Renault and the Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz (1873-1944), but in 1907 the Italians won, i.e., Fiat with the great Felice Nazzaro (1880-1940), and in 1908, the Germans, i.e., Mercedes, with Christian Lautenschlager (1877-1954).
The principal U.S. automobile races for 1912 with the winners are:
1. May 4 Santa Monica CA 101, Joermann, George, Maxwell, 61.8 mph R 230 cubic inch limit
2. May 4 Santa Monica CA 151.5, DePalma, Ralph, Mercer, 69.5 mph R 300 cubic inch limit
3. May 4 Santa, Monica CA 303, Tetzlaff, Teddy, Fiat, 78.7 mph R FFA
4. May 30 Indianapolis IN 500, Dawson Joe/Herr, Don, National, 78.7 mph BR 600 cubic inch limit
5. July 5 Tacoma WA 150, Pullen, Eddie, Mercer, 61.9 mph R 300 cubic inch limit
6. July 5 Tacoma WA 150, Cooper, Earl, Stutz, 66.3 mph, R 450 cubic inch limit
7. July 5 Tacoma WA 200, Tetzlaff, Teddy, Fiat, 69.5 mph R 600 cubic inch limit
8. July 6 Tacoma WA 250, Tetzlaff, Teddy, Fiat, 66.0 mph R FFA
9. Aug. 25 Columbus OH 200, Wishart, Spencer, Mercer, 57.6 mph D FFA
10. Aug. 30 Elgin IL 152, Hughes, Hughie, Mercer, 65.4 mph R 300 cubic inch limit
11. Aug. 30 Elgin IL 203, Merz, Charles, Stutz, 66.1 mph R 450 cubic inch limit
12. Aug. 31 Elgin IL 254, DePalma, Ralph, Mercedes, 68.4 mph R 600 cubic inch limit
13. Aug. 31 Elgin IL 305, DePalma, Ralph, Mercedes, 68.8 mph R FFA
14. Oct. 2 Milwaukee, WI 299.5, DePalma, Ralph, Mercedes, 68.9 mph R (Vanderbilt Cup) 600 cubic inch limit
15. Oct. 3 Milwaukee WI 173.4, Endicott, William, Mason, 57.6 mph R 230 cubic inch limit
16. Oct. 3 Milwaukee WI 220.6, Roberts, Mortimer, Mason, 58.5 mph R 300 cubic inch limit
17. Oct. 5 Milwaukee WI 409.8, Bragg, Caleb, Fiat, 68.5 mph R (American Grand Prize) FFA
18. Nov. 5 Brighton Beach NY 100, Mulford, Ralph, Mason, 58.7 mph D FFA
Edited by john glenn printz, 12 December 2012 - 19:39.
Posted 04 October 2006 - 19:46
And so, just when (1909) the AAA started promoting the indigenous U.S. "stripped stock chassis" events in conjunction with the MCA, European Grand Prix activity began a three year (1909-11) hiatus. And with the ACA staging but one event annually at best, howbeit "international" in nature; or holding no Grand Prize at all, as in both 1909 and 1913, the AAA during the period 1909 to 1915 literally took over all the "big-time" automobile racing contests, all across the U.S. This meant, both in its ultimate effect and in reality, that the ACA virtually handed over to the AAA the whole entire gamut and all the sanctioning of the most important U.S. motor racing events.
The most significant U.S. motor races for 1913 and their victors are:
1. Jan. 1 San Diego CA 183.4, Hill, George, Fiat, 57.1 mph R FFA
2. March 2 San Diego CA 200, Carlson, William, Benz, 59.1 mph R FFA
3. May 30 Indianapolis IN 500, Goux, Jules, Peugeot, 75.9 mph BR 450 cubic inch limit
4. July 4 Columbus OH 200, Mulford, Ralph, Mason, 59.4 mph D FFA
5. July 5 Tacoma WA 200, Cooper, Earl, Stutz, 70.6 mph R 600 cubic inch limit
6. July 7 Tacoma WA 250, Cooper, Earl; Stutz, 70.28 mph R FFA
7. July 28 Galveston TX 100, Disbrow, Louis, Simplex, 71.4 mph BE FFA
8. July 29 Galveston TX 100, Ferguson, Armour, Peugeot, 71.4 mph BE FFA
9. July 30 Galveston TX 100, Chandler, Billy, Mason, 69.1 mph BE FFA
10. Aug. 9 Santa Monica CA 445.25, Cooper, Earl, Stutz, 73.7 mph R 600 cubic inch limit
11. Aug. 29 Elgin IL 301, DePalma, Ralph, Mercer, 66.8 mph, R 300 cubic inch limit
12. Aug. 30 Elgin IL 301, Anderson, Gil, Stutz, 71.2 mph R 450 cubic inch limit
13. Sept. 9, Corona CA 251, Cooper, Earl, Stutz, 75.0 mph R 450 cubic inch limit
14. Sept. 9 Corona CA 301, Cooper, Earl, Stutz, 74.6 mph R FFA
15. Sept. 9 Corona CA 102.45, Waterman, Ed, Buick, 63.06 mph R 230 cubic inch limit
Edited by john glenn printz, 14 January 2010 - 20:16.
Posted 06 October 2006 - 20:01
Although there were no French Grand Prixs held during 1909-11, some of the older 1908 Grand Prix cars or simular models imported to the New World did extremely well, to say the least. The makes included here would be Benz, Fiat, and Mercedes. Millionaire Spencer Wishart 's (1889-1914) 1908 G.P. Mercedes took 4th place overall in the first 1911 Indianapolis 500. Ralph DePalma (1883-1956), in another 1908 G.P. Mercedes nicknamed the "Grey Ghost" and owned by E. J. Schroeder, led the 1912 Indianapolis 500 for 196 laps, all the but the first two and the last two. And Ralph, in the same car, won both the 1912 and 1914 Vanderbilt Cup races.
EUROPEAN DOMINANCE IN THE U.S., I.E. IMPORTED FRENCH AND GERMAN 1912 TO 1914 CONSTRUCTED GRAND PRIX CARS QUASH THE AMERICAN MAKES DURING THE PERIOD 1913 TO 1919. The European machinery used in the French Grand Prixs of 1912, 1913, and 1914, (where there were no American entries) were all of very advanced technical design and construction. They proved even more dominant in the big U.S. races, 1913 to 1919. The Americans soon found these new imports were more than they could handle. Indy rookie, Frenchman Jules Goux (1885-1965), won the 1913 Indianapolis 500 by over a 13 minute margin (still the largest winning margin ever at Indy) in his 1912 Grand Prix Peugeot (Type L76) over Wishart's American built Mercer. The next year at Indianapolis, another rookie Frenchman, Rene Thomas (1886-1975), proved victorious in a 1913 Grand Prix model Delage. Another Frenchman, Arthur Duray (1881-1954), finished second overall in a 3-litre Peugeot racing car designed for the smaller special "coupe de l'auto" voiturette class races. For 1914, DePalma won both of the Elgin road racing events and then the next year (i.e., 1915) won the Indianapolis 500, at a record average of 89.84 mph. The car used for all three of these races was a 1914 Grand Prix Mercedes, examples of which had finished one-two-three at Lyon, France, on 4 July 1914 in the race for which it had been originally designed. A 1913 Grand Prix Peugeot (Type EX3) won both the Vanderbilt Cup and Grand Prize races held at San Francisco in early 1915 when driven by Dario Resta (1882-1924), the "conquering invader" from England.
THE INCREASING IMPORTANCE OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 AND ITS NEW STATUS AS THE U.S.' TRUE "INTERNATIONAL" EVENT 1913-1920. The first Indianapolis 500s of 1911 and 1912 were of domestic interest and importance only, but that would change in 1913. Without a Grand Prize or Vanderbilt Cup race for 1913, the Indianapolis 500 became the leading U.S. automobile race event of the year. And for the 1913 "500" the European firms of Isotta-Fraschini of Italy, Peugeot from France, and Sunbeam of England sent over teams. For the 1914 Memorial Day 500, Bugatti, Delage, and Peugeot, all from France, entered cars. Delage and Peugeot completely routed the Americans with a 1-2-3-4 (i.e. Delage, Peugeot, Delage, Peugeot) finish! With the total sucession and elimination of all motor racing in Europe because of the Great War (1914-1918), the Indianapolis 500 became the most important automobile race in the entire world for 1915, 1919, 1920, and perhaps even in 1921 as well. Of course the Speedway itself was shut down for 1917 and 1918 when the U.S. was engaged in World War I, and ran no races those two years.
The most prominent 1914 U.S. automobile races and their winners were:
1. Feb. 26 Santa Monica CA 294, DePalma, Ralph, Mercedes, 75.4 mph R (Vanderbilt Cup) 600 cubic inch limit
2. Feb. 28 Santa Monica CA 403, Pullen, Eddie, Mercer, 77.2 mph R (American Grand Prize) FFA
3. May 30 Indianapolis IN 500, Thomas, Rene, Delage, 82.4 mph BR 450 cubic inch limit
4. July 3 Tacoma WA 200, Hughes, Hughie, Maxwell, 74.2 mph R 600 cubic inch limit
5. July 4 Tacoms WA 250, Cooper, Earl, Stutz, 73.4 mph R FFA
6. July 4 Sioux City IO 300, Rickenbacker, Eddie, Duesenberg, 78.1 mph D 450 cubic inch limit
7. July 30 Galveston TX 50, Mulford, Ralph, Peugeot, 75.5 mph BE FFA
8. Aug. 1 Galveston TX 50, Mulford, Ralph, Peugeot, 59.9 mph BE FFA
9. Aug. 3 Galveston TX 50, Mulford, Ralph, Peugeot, 63.1 mph BE FFA
10. Aug. 21 Elgin,IL 305, DePalma, Ralph, Mercedes, 73.6 mph R 450 cubic inch limit
11. Aug. 22 Elgin IL 305, DePalma, Ralph, Mercedes, 73.5 mph R FFA
12. Sept. 7 Brighton Beach NY 50, DePalma, Ralph, Mercedes, 52.2 mph D
13. Sept. 7 Brighton Beach NY 100, DePalma, Ralph, Mercedes, 59.5 mph D
14. Sept. 26 Kalamazoo MI 100, Burman, Bob, Peugeot, 63.6 mph D FFA
15. Oct. 22 Galesburg IL 100, Mulford, Ralph, Duesenberg, 64.5 mph D FFA
16. Oct. 24 Minneapolis MN 100, Alley, Tom, Duesenberg, 65.5 mph D FFA
17. Nov. 26 Corona CA 301.8, Pullen, Eddie, Mercer, 87.8 mph R FFA
Edited by john glenn printz, 10 November 2011 - 15:43.
Posted 07 October 2006 - 07:34
Originally posted by john glenn printz
Millionaire Spencer Wishart 's (1889-1914) 1908 G.P. Mercedes took 4th place overall in the first 1911 Indianapolis 500. Ralph DePalma (1883-1956), in another 1908 G.P. Mercedes nicknamed the "Grey Ghost"... A 1913 Grand Prix Peugeot won both the Vanderbilt Cup and Grand Prize races held at San Francisco in early 1915 and then placed 2nd at Indianapolis in 1915 when driven by Dario Resta (1882-1924).
Precisions concerning Mercedes and Peugeot :
The Mercedes racers driven by Wishart and DePalma were not 1908 Grand Prix cars.
The 1908 Grand Prix engine had the bore/stroke dimensions of 155/170 or 155/180 mm (both dimensions started - Lautenschlager won with 155/170 mm). These engine had two low-mounted camshafts operating an overhead valve via pushrod and rocker and an exhaust valve located in a pocket (F-head). A rebored 175/180 mm version was used for sprints and record runs.
The cars driven by Wishart and DePalma (a third one was imported to America for George Clark) had the dimensions of 130/180 mm, one low-mounted camshaft and three overhead valves per cylinder, one large intake and two smaller exhaust valves. This engine had been developed in view of the 1909 Grand Prix formula which limited the bore of four-cylinders to 130 mm (the 1909 Grand Prix de l'ACF was to be run on the Circuit de l'Anjou near Angers - was cancelled). The engine was also used in the 37/90 touring car. In view of the American 450-cubic inch formula, the engine of the Grey Ghost received a new block with a bore of 114 mm.
The frames (wheelbase 270 cm) of both types were the same - improvements in detail on the 130-mm cars.
= = = = = = = = =
The Peugeot driven by Resta in the 1915 San Francisco races was an ex-1914 Indianapolis 5.6-liter (100/180 mm) = a modified (by the factory - lower frame, front and rear springs below the axles) 1913 Grand Prix car.
Resta's mount in the 1915 Indianapolis 500 was an ex-1914 Grand Prix 4.5-liter (92/169 mm).
Posted 08 October 2006 - 15:52
Posted 21 October 2006 - 19:46
Later in 1915, the amazing Resta would finished 2nd, now piloting a 1914 Grand Prix type EX5 Peugeot, at the Indianapolis 500 mile classic. Here, in a second supreme test, the 1914 Grand Prix type Mercedes once again, as at the 1914 French Grand Prix, decisively defeated the 1914 Grand Prix type EX5 Peugeot. But that was pretty much the end of American success for the 1914 racing type Mercedes. In the inaugural race staged at the new two mile Chicago (Maywood) board track, a 500 miler run on 26 June 1915, Resta sped to victory in the Peugeot, posting a 97.58 mph average. The Italian Jean Porporato placed 2nd in a Sunbeam. Dario later won 100 milers at Chicago (7 Aug. 1915) and at Sheepshead Bay (2 Nov. 1915) using the EX5 model. Peugeot cars of the EX5 type, in 1916, the first year for the AAA National Championship Driving title, won ten of the fifteen events included in the 1916 AAA Championship schedule when piloted by Resta and a recently rejuvenated Johnny Aitken (1885-1918). These 1916 wins included wins at Indianapolis (30 May 1916), the Vanderbilt Cup (16 Nov.1916) and the Grand Prize (18 Nov. 1916). The Peugeot type EX5 was also victorious at Indianapolis in 1919 and in a 50 mile sprint qualifying contest held at Beverly Hills on 28 Mar, 1920, seven years after it had been designed and constructed! The Americans could hardly catch their breath with the superior design technology and speed shown by these older imported ex-Grand Prix cars from Europe.
The top 1915 motor racing events staged in the U.S. with the winning car makes and drivers:
1. Jan. 1 San Diego CA 305.1, Cooper, Earl, Stutz, 65.3 mph R FFA
2. Feb. 3 Glendale CA 101, O'Donnell, Eddie, Duesenberg, 47.6 mph R FFA
3. Feb. 7 Ascot CA 100, O'Donnell, Eddie, Duesenberg, 59.2 mph D FFA
4. Feb. 27 San Francisco CA 402.2, Resta, Dario, Peugeot, 56.1 mph R (American Grand Prize) FFA
5. March 6 San Francisco CA 300.7, Resta, Dario, Peugeot, 67.3 mph R (Vanderbilt Cup) 600 cubic inch limit
6. March 17 Venice CA 301.2, Oldfield, Barney, Maxwell, 68.3 mph R FFA
7. March 20 Tucson AZ 103.1 Oldfield, Barney, Maxwell, 67.2 mph R FFA
8. April 29 Oklahoma City OK 199.5, Burman, Bob, Peugeot, 67.9 mph R FFA
9. May 31 Indianapolis IN 500, DePalma, Ralph, 89.8 mph BR 300cubic inch limit
10. June 9 Galesburg IL 100, O'Donnell, Eddie, Duesenberg, 62.5 mph D 450 cubic inch limit
11. June 26 Chicago IL 500, Resta, Dario, Peugeot, 97.5 mph B 300 cubic inch limit
12. July 3 Sioux City IO 300, Rickenbacker, Eddie, Maxwell, 74.7 mph D 450 cubic inch limit
13. July 4 Tacoma WA 250, Ruckstell, Grover, Mercer, 84.7 mph B 450 cubic inch limit
14. July 5 Tacoma WA 200, Pullen, Eddie, Mercer, 84.9 mph B 450 cubic inch limit
15. July 5 Omaha NE 300, Rickenbacker, Eddie, Mazwell, 91.7 mph B 300 cubic inch limit
16. July 9 Burlington IO 100, Burman, Bob, Peugeot, 47.3 mph D 450 cubic inch limit
17. Aug, 7 Des Moines IO 300, Mulford, Ralph, Duesenberg, 86.9 mph B 450 cubic inch limit
18. Aug. 7 Chicago IL 100, Resta, Dario, Peugeot, 101.8 mph B match race
19. Aug. 20 Elgin IL 301.8, Cooper, Earl, Stutz, 74.9 mph R 300 cubic inch limit
20. Aug. 21 Elgin, IL 301.8, Anderson, Gil, Stutz, 77.2 mph R 450 cubic inch limit
21. Aug. 28 Kalmazoo, MI 100, DePalma, Ralph, Stutz, 65.3 mph D FFA
22. Sept. 4 Minneapolis MN 500, Cooper, Earl, Stutz, 86.3 mph C 300 cubic inch limit
23. Sept. 18 Providence RI 100, Rickenbacker, Eddie, Maxwell, 67.1 mph C 450 cubic inch limit
24. Oct. 9 Sheepshead Bay NY 350, Anderson, Gil, Stutz, 102.5 mph B 300 cubic inch limit
25. Nov. 2 Sheepshead Bay NY 100, Resta, Dario, Peugeot, 105.3 mph B match race
26. Nov. 20 Phoenix AZ 110, Cooper, Earl, Stutz, 63.8 mph D FFA
27. Nov. 25 San Francisco CA 100, Cooper, Earl, Stutz, 55.2 mph R Match race
Edited by john glenn printz, 08 November 2011 - 15:22.
Posted 22 October 2006 - 18:52
This was the first occasion when Miller built a complete racing engine. Burman had this new Miller built replica dubbed a "Burman", with his name clearly embossed on the engine's two side water jacket covering plates. I believe that Griffith Borgeson is wrong here where, in his book THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE AMERICAN RACING CAR (New York, 1966, page 110), he thinks the original Peugeot engine was replaced by a single cam motor of Miller's own design. Bob entered the car, as such, with the new Miller constructed motor in the 1915 Indianapolis 500 calling its engine a "Burman". This was of more than just academic interest in 1915, as Indy that year had a rule that no more than three cars of any given make could start in the race. Anyway the Indianapolis officials duly inspected Burman's car and claim, and decided that the car was a Peugeot. If there had been a new single cam Miller engine design in the car, I think Burman's claim would had been upheld, but as it was it was merely a twin cam Peugeot replica.
Edited by john glenn printz, 17 December 2010 - 13:59.
Posted 23 October 2006 - 08:31
In any case, Burman's Peugeot engine was rebuilt with the twin-cam head. According to Motor Age, the old 5.6-liter block (100/180 mm) was repaired, and Burman used this repaired block in April 1915 in a match race at Ascot when he defeated Louis Disbrow in the Simplex Zip.
In addition, Miller built two new blocks in the dimensions of 3.66/7.10 inches or 93/180 mm in view of the 300-inch formula.
It is known that Fred Offenhauser, draftsman John Edwards and mechanic Eddie Arnet, and of course Burman himself, were involved in the rebuild of the Peugeot.
Are the names of other collaborators known?
The rebuild of the Peugeot included two new front axles and steering arms. Burman purchased the blank steel for these parts in Chicago. Then the parts were finished in Los Angeles, according to Motor Age not by Miller but by another Los Angeles shop.
Is the name of this shop known?
Were the new engine blocks completely made by Miller or did Miller just finish some blocks which were supplied by a specialist?
Posted 23 October 2006 - 19:25
The whole Burman project came to a halt when Bob was killed at the Corona road race on 7 Apr. 1916 driving his 1913 Grand Prix Peugeot. Burman's son, Earl, however continued to work on these two cars at Miller's shop until late 1916. But with no further money coming in the two "Burman" cars were soon probably put under a tarp at the Miller factory and no futher work was done on them. At possibly the same time that Miller was building a whole new replica of Burman's exploded 1913 Grand Prix Peugeot's engine (c. late 1914/early1915), Miller was also reconditioning the second example of the 1913 Peugeot EX3 type car in the U.S. This car, owned by Alphonse Kaufman of the Peugeot Import Company located in New York City, had just been previously been in the hands of Eddie Rickenbacker who ran it at Corona on 26 Nov.1914 and at San Diego on 9 Jan. 1915, right before Eddie took over the captaincy of the newly formed Maxwell racing team. It was this very Peugeot, as has been already said, that Resta drove to victory at San Francisco in both the Grand Prize (27 Feb. 1915) and the Vanderbilt Cup (6 Mar. 1915). Barney Oldfield had purchased a 1914 Grand Prix Delage and had it rebuilt and overhauled at Miller's shop in late 1915.
These cars, and others, furnished the "textbooks" for Harry Miller, as Borgeson so aptly stated. In April 1917 the Delage's engine was replaced by a Miller single cam 289 cubic inch four cylinder motor. In this form the car won a Uniontown 112.5 mile event (3 Sept. 1917), against 13 other starters, when driven by Frank Elliott (1891-1957).
P.S. Miller's earliest connection with motor racing that I can trace was in 1906. Miller was Ernest Keeler's riding mechanic in the 22 Sept. 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Eliminating Trials. The car was a 45 horsepower Oldsmobile. The car managed to complete only one lap of the ten scheduled and its performance was totally dismal. Keeler was later killed in a race at Point Breeze, PA on 24 Nov. 1906.
Bob Burman began his racing career in 1906 using a Jackson stock car. Bob raced the Jackson marque during 1906 and 1907. By early September 1908 Bob had become a member of the Buick racing team.
Edited by john glenn printz, 30 July 2012 - 15:39.
Posted 27 October 2006 - 12:29
In Nov. 1909 Frederick "Frank" Louis Maytag (1857-1937), of later washing machine fame, bought the Mason Company which now became the Maytag-Mason Motor Co. And in 1912 Fred Duesenberg designed his first "all-out" racing car which featured the famous "walking-beam" valve activators or levers. The Duesenberg designed racers during the years 1912, 1913, and early 1914 ran as "Masons". The two Duesenbergs entered a Mason, driven by Lee Oldfield (1889-1978), in the 1912 Indianapolis 500, but engine problems prevented it from qualifying. Lee had been involved in a horrific accident at Syracuse on 16 Sept. 1911. On a wet track Oldfield lost control after a tire burst and his Knox car plowed into the spectators, killing nine persons immediately, while two more died later, and six others had serious injuries including Lee himself.
This is the same Lee Oldfield, who in 1937, entered the first rear engined racing car at Indianapolis. Lee, who is no relation to Barney Oldfield, later served on the AAA Contest Board Technical Committee. Later in 1912 Masons won two important events; with Mortimer Roberts (1892- ?) winning a 220.64 mile road race with eight starters at Milwaukee (Oct. 5), and Ralph Mulford (1884-1973) won a 100 miler at the Brighton Beach dirt track against twelve other competitors. For 1913 a Mason car was victorious at Columbus, Ohio (July 4) in a big 200 mile dirt track contest, again with Mulford, and Billy Chandler (1890-1924) won a 100 mile beach race at Galveston, Texas on July 30. At Indianapolis in 1913 a three car Mason team started with Jack Tower (1885- ?) having had the fastest qualifying time of all, posting 88.23 mph. In the race itself none of the Mason entries fared well. Tower crashed in the first turn on lap 42 and the car flipped over. Tower broke his leg and Lee Gunning, the mechanican, had three fractured ribs. Sometime in 1914 the Duesenberg brothers ventured out on their own and opened their own business (the Duesenberg Motor Company) in St. Paul, Minn. to built and sell high performance engines for cars, boats, aircraft, and to maintain their own racing car team. In mid-1914, for the first time, the Duesenberg racers were now called or named Duesenbergs proper. At Indianapolis, in May 1914, two of their cars are called Duesenbergs and one is still run as a Mason.
Edited by john glenn printz, 21 September 2010 - 18:14.
Posted 27 October 2006 - 18:49
Originally posted by john glenn printz
... This Miller single cam 289 cubic inch 4 cylinder engine was miscaptioned by MOTOR AGE (27 May 1915, page 22) as the type being used by Burman at the 1915 Indianapolis 500 and installed in his EX3 1913 Grand Prix Peugeot chassis.
I think the illustration in Motor Age, 27 May 1915 - page 22, shows the rebuilt block of Burman's 5.6-liter/L56/EX3 Peugeot. In my eyes it is not miscaptioned. The same block can be seen on the photo page 14 of Gordon Eliot White's Offenhauser book. The two camshafts and their housings are not mounted. The spur wheel carrier is misleading. It is not the block of a single overhead-cam engine.
Posted 30 October 2006 - 20:37
THE 1915 AAA SEASON. The AAA Contest Board during 1909-1915 had thus witnessed and undergone great and very rapid changes. In 1909 the mileau was mostly "stock chassis" road races whereas in 1915 you had mostly all-out, thoroughbred racing cars, competing mainly on the brick (i.e., Indianapolis) and the new wooden board type ovals. Road racing, as such, was already beginning to fade out. 1915 was a big, big year for racing in the U.S. for there existed many races, many drivers, and many racing cars of various make and design. The American thoroughbred racers of Duesenberg, Maxwell, Mercer, and Stutz, battled the European makes of Delage, Mercedes, Peugeot, and Sunbeam. In 1915 and 1916 the AAA circuit and/or schedule was moving towards completely uniform car regulations, in this case a 301 cubic inch limit (Class E), for most of its major contests. Now the same cars, drivers, and teams would show up at most of the important AAA races. This uniformity would lead to a new, major, and novel innovation, introduced by AAA Contest Board Chairman Richard A. Kennerdell (d. 11 Dec. 1928 at either 62 or 64 years old, the contemporary sources differ), in early 1916.
World War I, which started in the Balkans (Serbia), in July 1914 with the Austro-Hungarian bombardment of Belgrade, stopped all racing in Europe itself until 1919. The Great War would prove to be a major influence on the American AAA racing scene, allowing the U.S. racing car engineers and constructors time to catch up (i.e. 1917-1919), but only after the completion of the 1916 season. Motor racing continued in the U.S., even after our entry into the European war in April 1917 and never completely stopped, even in 1918.
Edited by john glenn printz, 15 November 2011 - 14:18.
Posted 30 October 2006 - 21:49
And double space the paragraphs...
It's all interesting stuff, so how about we make it appeal to a slightly wider audience?
Posted 31 October 2006 - 09:46
(the illustration published two weeks later on May 27 shows the same block) :
Posted 02 November 2006 - 21:30
Waldo Dean "Eddie" Edenburn, d. 21 Sept. 1934, (DETROIT NEWS,16 JAN. 1916, page 27) had this to say about the subject under the subject heading "A. A. A. in Future to Name Best Driver." Quote, "For several years it has been the custom for almost every critic of the race game to pick a champion driver and car after the season has closed. Lately the trade publications of the automobile industry have figured it out on a point basis and the picking of one publication has been accepted as "official" for about three years. However next year the writers will not be able to imitate Walter Camp, as the American Automobile Association is going to officially pick a champion driver and also a champion car. The driver gets a brassard and the car's maker a silver cup. Richard Kennerdell, chairman of the contest board, has suggested this new plan and will designate the races on track, road and speedway, that will figure in the championship. The chairman had stated that possibly a dozen races would be taken into account, but has declined to pick the events until a later date."
The LOS ANGELES TIMES (23 Jan. 1916, pt. VI, page 3), under the heading "CONTEST BOARD TO PICK CHAMP" has this to say (quote), "The contest board of the American Automobile Association has tentatively decided to select the master driver and master car in the 1916 speedway and road racing circuit, thus following the example set by MOTOR AGE during the past several seasons of selecting the champion driver and car for road racing and also for speedway racing. Plans are yet chaotic, but the suggestion has been made to award the driver so distinguished with a gold medal, carrying his profile on the front and a suitable inscription on the back and further to give him $500 in gold. The complete details of the award will be worked out by the contest board."
Edited by john glenn printz, 27 September 2010 - 13:08.
Posted 04 November 2006 - 20:38
Posted 05 November 2006 - 11:57
It is doubtful that Burman considered a single-cam alternative.
During the winter of 1914-15, Burman and the Miller shop worked on the Peugeot. The reconstruction involved a repaired 5.6-liter block and two new 300-inch blocks. All three blocks had two overhead camshafts, Peugeot fashion.
During the next winter, 1915-16, Burman and the Miller shop worked on the three Premiers which started in the 1916 Indianapolis 500 - without Burman who was killed at Corona in April 1916.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Premiers were designed by Burman and assembled in the Miller shop.
The Premiers had two overhead camshafts. The cylinder dimensions were 93/169 mm or 3.66/6.65 inches. 93 mm was the bore of the previous 300-inch block used in Burman’s reconstructed Peugeot. 169 mm was the stroke of the 4.5-liter factory Peugeot. So the Premiers displaced 280 cubic inches, 20 inches below the limit. Probably the shorter stroke was good for more engine speed.
Later, the Premiers were described as Peugeot copies.
Posted 05 November 2006 - 19:16
What we really need are more photographs, or just one very clear photo, of this particular engine with its top part in place, to say definitely if it was a one cam or two cam motor. However I think your idea that it is a picture of a twin cam engine may be correct. After Burman's fatal wreck at Corona (8 Apr. 1916) the Burman's EX3 Peugeot chassis was rebuilt at Miller's shop. At some point (early 1917?) a new Miller 289 cubic inch, single cam 289 four was installed in it. This car now ran as the Erbes Special in some 1917 AAA races and its pilot was Andy Burt (1890-?). A photograph of this Erbes Special appears in Mark Dees MILLER DYNASTY (1981, page 31) but is miscaptioned as the Burman rebuild of "early 1915". Actually the photo is from early 1917 and a young Fred Offenhauser is seated in the car. Harry Miller didn't have much real success until the 1922 AAA season and his early doings, 1915-1921, are very confused and enveloped in much obscurity. The contemporary evidence is very scanty. I reconstruct Miller's early history differently than either Borgeson or Dees. I will have more to say about Miller in my forthcoming 1916-1920 section.
Edited by john glenn printz, 17 July 2009 - 20:28.
Posted 06 November 2006 - 10:12
I never found an illustration showing one of Burman’s reconstructed Peugeot engines including the camshafts.
There are several photos and drawings of the original Peugeot block. The 1913 Peugeot had two overhead camshafts driven by a train of spur gears.
- The shape of the spur gear carrier is typical for Peugeot. The same carrier appears on Burman’s reconstructed block.
- Each camshaft of the Peugeot was enclosed in its own aluminum tunnel. Each tunnel was supported from the cylinder head by studs which acted as distance pieces (the valve springs were exposed). The points where these studs were screwed into the block are typical for Peugeot. Again, these points appear on the Burman/Miller block – clearly visible on the photo in White’s Offenhauser book – page 14.
So for me it is 100% sure that the Motor Age photo shows the block of a twin-cam engine.
Of course, it would be easier to have a photo of the complete engine at hand.
= = = = = =
A photo of the Premier engine would also be extremely interesting. In the contemporary press there were insinuations that the Premier used cup-type tappets.
Cup-type tappets were used in two 4.5-liter/L45/EX5 Peugeots. The two other 4.5-liters used the older L-shaped tappets (four 4.5-liters were built in 1914 – all of them were shipped to America until October 1915).
Since the Premiers reflected many details of the 4.5-liter Peugeot, it is possible that Burman (who designed the Premiers) also took over the latest tappet layout.
= = = = = =
Miller origins :
Miller made a lot of money with his Master carburetors so that in 1914-15 he had enough financial background to start the production of engines and even complete cars. But where did he find the technical background?
According to the The Los Angeles Times, Miller was not alone: A few other Los Angeles shops were involved in the reconstruction of Burman’s Peugeot, and supplied the components for the Premiers. The names of these shops are not mentioned. Did Miller take over one or several of these shops?
Posted 06 November 2006 - 13:15
Posted 10 November 2006 - 19:59
There was no great fanfare, flourish, or to-do about the inauguration of the National Champion format of awards, based on a point system, in early 1916. The new arrangement was usually just casually mentioned in the general automobile racing news. The new point system eventually arrived at before the running of the 13 May 1916 Sheepshead Bay 150, generally gave the top ten placing drivers points, and was based largely on the race mileage run. Thus a 250 mile race gave more points for the same placement as a 100 miler, and a 300 mile race gave more points than a 250, etc., etc.; thus the various events did not necessarily give the same number of points. In the 13 May 1916 Sheepshead Bay 150, Eddie Rickenbacker, sped to victory in a Maxwell, averaging 96.23 mph. Thus Rickenbacker had the honor of both (1) being the first person ever to lead the AAA National Championship standings and (2) winning the very first AAA National Championship race. The very first issuance of points by the AAA Contest Board read; 1. Rickenbacker 600; 2. DeVigne 320; 3. Vail 170; 4. Devlin 90; 5. Adam 55; and 6. Watson 35; (Sources: DETROIT NEWS, 21 May 1916, Autos, page 8; NEW YORK TIMES, 21 May 1916, Autos, page 9; INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 23 May 1916, page 18, etc.).
Edited by john glenn printz, 14 July 2009 - 18:58.
Posted 12 November 2006 - 16:46
Interestingly, there is a listing of events in an article found in the 2 February 1916 edition of The Washington Post (pg. 12) which caught my attention. Here are the events listed:
Automobile Racing Schedule for 1916
13 May / Sheepshead Bay
30 May / Indianapolis
17 June / Chicago
28 June / Des Moines
4 July / Minneapolis
4 July / Sioux City
15 July / Omaha
5 August / Tacoma
18-19 August / Elgin
15 September / Indianapolis
30 September / Sheepshead Bay
7 October / Tacoma
14 October / Chicago
An interesting tidbit to mull over....
Posted 12 November 2006 - 17:23
I found an article in the 5 March 1916 Boston Globe (pg. 78) that mentions the system. The scoring system went like this:
1st place, 10 points
2nd place, 6 points
3rd place, 4 points
4th place, 3 points
5th place, 2 points
6th place, 1 point
7th place, 7/8th point
8th place, 3/4th point
9th place, 5/8th point
10th place, 1/2 point (changed since other articles seem to agee that it was 1/2 point rather than 1/8th point. hdc)
There were 23 "road and speedway contests" that made up the events used for determining the Mason points total.
1st, Cooper with 51 points
equal 2nd, Anderson & O'Donnell with 38 points
Rickenbacher had 32 points from speedway contests. There is no listing given of the events.
The article also notes that Cooper was the 1913 champion.
The Horseless Age rankings were then given:
1 -- Cooper
2 -- Anderson
4 -- Resta
5 -- Rickenbacher
6 -- Oldfield
7 -- De Palma
8 -- Ruckstall
9 -- Burman
10 -- Pullen
11 -- Mulford
Interesting how there are 23 events in the Mason Point System for 1915 and 25 events listed in the Catlin article on 1915 in the June 1955 issue of Speed Age.
So, there were apparently Mason Points determined for at least 1914 and 1913. Certainly not an official AAA championship, but at least gives an inkling of where Means & Haresnpe may have gone when they created their retrospective championships in the 1926/28 period, since information on this "Mason Point System" may have still been around and known by at least one of them.
Just food for thought.
There are two additional articles that cover much of the same material, another article in the Boston Globe on 24 October 1915 (pg. 42) and the New York Times of 12 Decemebr 1915 (pg. S 3).
The October article in the Globe lists the standings of the manufacturers for 1915:
1 -- Stutz, 127 7/8 points
2 -- Maxwell, 70 1/2 points
3 -- 65 7/8 points
4 -- Peugeot, 49 3/4 points
5 -- Mercer, 23 points
In 1913, there were 18 events used in the Mason Point System and 17 events for 1914. In Catlin's Speed Age articles for those years (the April and May 1955 issues, respectively), the number of events used was nine and 11, once more, respectively.
Also, there is some difference in the two Globe articles as the point value for 10th place, one stating it as 1/2 point and the other as 1/8th point.
Plus, while I am at it....
.... the Motor Age rankings for 1919 are based upon its own points system (Lambert Sullivan, 25 December 1919) and the top five look like this:
1, Eddie Hearne
2, Roscoe Searles
3, Howard Wilcox
4, Joe Boyer
5, Tommy Milton
For 1919, Catlin uses 21 events and Motor Age uses 29 events.
Tidbits that in and of themselves probably mean little, but when placed in a context.....
Posted 14 November 2006 - 12:54
The Trenton Evening Times, 23 October 1915, pg. 11, is the same article as in the Globe and Times. The only item being one-half point for tenth and 22 rather 23 vents for the Horseless Age compilations. The same article appeared in the Syracuse Herald of 24 October 1915, pg. 13, with Cooper as the “all-around champion.” Similarly, the Indianapolis Star for 31 October 1915, pg. 18, states that “Horseless Age picks Earl Cooper” as the season champion. Again it puts tenth place at one-half point. It mentions that Cooper scored 24 points in the road races against the 20 of Resta. The 32 points that Rickenbacher picked up on the speedway events was tops in that category. Once more, thanks to the Manitoba Free Press of 5 November 1915, pg. 8, we see the same article with the additional information that this was announced by Jerome T. Shaw of Horseless Age.
Thanks to the Syracuse Herald of 19 December 1915, pg. 16, we also get the selections of Motor Age as well as Motor. In an article entitled, “Who is the Champion Speedway Driver?” it gives the choices of these two periodicals. Motor Age split its speedway championship selections into two categories, one for the bigger venues – Indianapolis, Chicago, New York, and the Twin Cities; another for the one-mile tracks – Omaha, Des Moines, Providence, Sioux City, and Tacoma.
Motor Age selected Gil Anderson for the first group of venues and Eddie Rickenbacher for the second group of tracks. Earl Cooper was declared to be the road race championship for the season, repeating for the second time.
C.G. Sinsabaugh of Motor, declared the champion to be Dario Resta, with Rickenbacher as the runner-up, and Gil Anderson and Earl Cooper “in the first flight.”
Note: Much of the Trenton article was too poorly reproduced to read, something which, sadly, I encounter all too often with newspapers on microfilm or online.
Posted 14 November 2006 - 13:23
Almost forty years later, after the AAA had already announced on 3 Aug. 1955 that the 1955 racing season would be their last, that the final AAA Championship contest was staged at Phoenix, AZ on 6 Nov. 1955. A front shock absorber had collapsed on Jack McGrath's (1919-1955) car late in the race and the front axle was constantly being hammered against the car's frame. But McGrath, in third place, kept going. Finally on lap 86 the front axle's right side snapped off and the car went into a series of violent flips. McGrath sustained severe head injuries and was beyond help. The alpha and the omega. Well, automobile racing has always been dangerous.
By 21 May 1916 the B. F. Goodrich Company, the maker of Silvertown cord racing tires, announced it would give $5000, $3000, and $2000 to the three top drivers respectively in the final 1916 AAA Championship point standings; and the Bosch Magneto Company pledged $3500 and a Bosch Cup, worth $1000, to the year's Champion, plus $1000 for second place and $500 for third. It had also been decided by May 21 that the fourth point race would be a 150 miler at Des Moines on June 26 (Sources: SYRACUSE HERALD, 7 May 1916, page 12 and NEW YORK TIMES, 21 MAY 1916, Autos, page 9). There was no Indianapolis 500 in 1916 for the Speedway's management had decided to cut the Memorial Day classic down to just 300 miles for 1916, thinking that a race lasting all of 5 1/2 hours was just too long. The Speedway's notice of the smaller distance for the 1916 Memorial Day race had been posted in October 1915. Later in the year 1916, on Sept. 9, the Speedway tried another experiment by having a one day program, the "Harvest Classic", consisting of three contests of 20, 50, and 100 miles, but the attendance was minimal. Johnny Aitken (1885-1918) won all three in the then dominant 1914 EX5 type Peugeot. On the next occasion for a big race, i.e. 1919, the Speedway reverted back to the 500 mile format.
Edited by john glenn printz, 14 July 2009 - 18:59.
Posted 15 November 2006 - 02:20
True, no great fanfare, but news about the championship was covered in big city newspapers and auto magazines . All in all it seems to have been covered much better than early Grand Prix championships.