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History Auto racing 1894-1944

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by kurtis, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,951

    kurtis
    Member
    from Australia

    This is the Ostewig-Wisconsin entered in the 1916 Indy 300 by Swan Ostewig who was an Apperson dealer. It was driven by Ora Haib to 10th place.
     

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  2. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    This is another photo of a very early racer that I have which is only identified as a circa 1905 Pipe. It has what appears to be an early low mounted front radiator so I would think that date might be correct. I have heard of them before and know that they are either from the UK or the continent. How well did they do in racing? I believe they also built passenger cars. Can someone fill us in on them?
     

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  3. LeeStohr
    Joined: Oct 21, 2009
    Posts: 89

    LeeStohr
    Member
    from Virginia

    The 'Big Dick' has to be one of the best race car names ever !
    In the fall of 1901 Edgar Apperson left Haynes-Apperson and joined his brother Elmer.
    They designed and built their own car, and in 1904 won the Motor Age Cup Road Race. The winning car was nicknamed the Jackrabbit, and the brothers adopted that name for future models. In 1907 the company offered a special racing Jackrabbit called the 'Big Dick' capable of 90mph and costing $15,000. Supposedly 15 of them were sold.
    I gathered this from internet sources, could be errors.
     
  4. Vitesse
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 217

    Vitesse
    Member
    from Bath, UK

    Automobiles Pipe was a Belgian company which operated from 1898 to 1922, their most successful racing driver being Lucien Hautvast. Their active competition career stopped in about 1908, but there are odd minor events after that. There's virtually nothing in English on the net about the company, but a Google search using "Automobiles Pipe" + "Belge" will bring up the RVCCB site, which has a brief history in French. The search defaults to L, presumably because that's as far as they've got with the Flemish translation, but if you access it via Google Translate and then click on P at the top, it will take you to the right page. You can also find quite a bit about Hautvast, but there's nothing comprehensive, although someone did write a biography of him - again probably only in French and/or Flemish.
     
  5. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    Vitesse... thanks so much for the info I will give that a try. I have used the translation feature before on Google and it works pretty well.
     
  6. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    A photo of Sig Haugdahl with one of his many race cars. I thought this one was interesting because it included his mechanic. The photo's caption is below, I do not know if it is correct but I do know they could not spell. Under the photographers name it does list Jacksonville.

    Was Chai his usual mechanic? Does anyone know anything about him?

    "Haugdahl & Fiat & Jimmie Chai mechenic at Jaksonville Florida track"
     

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  7. ehdubya
    Joined: Aug 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,296

    ehdubya
    Member

    I noticed I made a mistake with that first batch of Benning pics post #1960, only the first two showing the tower are Benning, the others in that post with the Blitzen etc are Laurel.

    There are four pictures in the library of congress titled York Pa May 11 1915, they show some of the cars from the earlier York mystery pic. They're not the same quality and two are very moldy.
     

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  8. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    Great photo from left to right ......Enjoy, T-H

    Birds Eye View of Indianapolis Motor Speedway During 500 Mile Race - May 30, 1911 . Photo by Charles Bretzman.

    This Cirkut photograph provides a spectacular view of the track, infield garages, aerodrome, and surrounding countryside during the first 500 Mile Race. The race was won in six hours, forty-two minutes and eight seconds by Ray Harroun driving his #32 Marmon "Wasp."
     

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  9. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    I looked at enlargements of each frame and found this was the best one. Look just below the ballon and you can see the Simplex banner.
     

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  10. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
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    from Paradise.

    Ehduba... Thanks for the great photos, this is my pick of the litter, it is a T-Head Mercer Raceabout. From the photo it is hard to tell the year, but as it has headlight brackets it is fairly safe to date it as a 1912-14. The 1911 models did not come from the factory with headlights. They had a single search light in the middle of the dash.

    The only other car I can identfy is the Cole, third from the left which is easy because of the big emblem on the top of the radiator.
     

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  11. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 1,308

    jimdillon
    Member

    David I really like the 2 light colored sport models in the fourth picture frame. I wonder if any of the cars in the pictures have survived-Jim
     
  12. hddennis
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 33

    hddennis
    Member
    from Georgia

    A few days ago there were some National race cars pictured and although it jogged my memory, my computer was at the repair shop and I couldn't post this picture. This was given to me by Tony LaPorta from Copake, N.Y. over 40 years ago. Tony and Peter Helk were great friends and he did most of the mechanical caretaking for Old 16 while it was owned by Peter. Sorry for the poor condition of the image, a friends toddler rearranged the image years ago. Tony said the car pictured was in Copake at the time and was being prepped to be given to a young couple traveling through to California in exchange for their 20 something touring that had thrown a rod. Tony knew nothing about the car but said neither the couple nor the car were ever heard from again. I wonder if it ever made it? Sure would be a tale to tell the grandkids!
    As poor as the image is I wondered if there are any details that tell anymore about this particular car?

    Howard Dennis
     

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  13. ehdubya
    Joined: Aug 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,296

    ehdubya
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  14. model.A.keith
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 6,203

    model.A.keith
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  15. model.A.keith
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 6,203

    model.A.keith
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Riley Brett and Cotton Henning


    [​IMG]
     
  16. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,951

    kurtis
    Member
    from Australia

    I'd be interested to know the reasoning behind the name.

    Here is the 1907 NYT article i mentioned. It gives a short overview of what is available from the major manufacturer's that year.
     

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  17. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    A smiling Peter DePaolo the Driver with the car before the race and at Mines Field Ca. The 1934? Ford was Sponsored and probably owned by Fahy-Lawrence 827 S. Figueroa in Los Angeles.
     

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  18. Buildy
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,521

    Buildy
    Member

    ehdubya,

    Thanks for posting those York,PA fairgrounds photos. I`m pretty sure those are the ones I had but couldn`t find.
     
  19. Buildy
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,521

    Buildy
    Member

    T-head,

    Now that is a car that could fit in multiple threads around this place!

    Some of Henry`s finest tin.
     
  20. model.A.keith
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 6,203

    model.A.keith
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD vAlign=bottom><TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD>Joel


    </TD><TD>Thorne


    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD><TD vAlign=bottom>[​IMG]


    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>[​IMG] </TD><TD>Born


    </TD><TD>16/10/1914


    </TD><TD>96 years ago.


    </TD></TR><TR><TD>[​IMG] </TD><TD>Died


    </TD><TD>17/10/1955


    </TD><TD>55 years ago, aged 41


    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE align=center><TBODY><TR><TD>Joel Wolfe Thorne Jr. was a wealthy daredevil sportsman, heir to Chase Manhattan Bank & Pullman Railroad Fortunes, he was origionally from New Rochelle, N.Y. and led a "playboy" life that included fast motorcycles, fast cars, fast boats and aeroplanes.
    Joel first went to Indy as a spectator in 1933 after graduating from Rutgers and went back the next year working as a mechanic for Lou Moore. He first tried to qualify in 1936 when he aquired a front wheel drive Shaw/Offy. This was the first car to have an "Offenhauser Engineering Co.' badge on the engine. Shaw had raced the car in the 1935 Indy 500 and finished second and the following year, it was raced by 'Babe' Stapp. He qualified second and was leading until the crankshaft broke. Unfortunately Joel failed to qualify. He tried again the next year and once more came up short. In 1937 he also raced an Alfa Romeo Tipo B 2.9L in the Vanderbilt Cup race in July.
    He finally made the grid for the Indy 500 in 1938 finishing ninth. A further improvement to seventh came the following year followed by a career best fifth in 1940. In 1941 he was involved in the crash between Tomei and Andres, which put him out of the race. It happened on the sixth lap, in a closely bunched field, Louis Tomei, in a front wheel drive machine, dropped below the white apron line on the inside of the track to overtake some slower cars. Emil Andres was alongside and Joe Thorne was slightly behind. When Tomei went below the white line he skidded on the loose dirt and shot back up the track, locking wheels and forcing Andres into the wall and collecting Thorne.
    He started Thorne Engineering in Burbank for the purpose of building race cars for his Indy 500 attempts and employed craftsmen such as Kurtis, who went on to create the Kurtis-Kraft roadsters which dominated Indianapolis races throughout the 1950s.
    In 1938 Joel built a land speed record car in his Thorne Engineering Racing Shop in Burbank. The streamlined Thorne Racer was intended to be Americas challenge to the headline making Mercedes 'Silver Arrow' & Auto Union record breakers. The war intervened and the car was eventually bought by Lou Fageol who turned it into an Art Deco machine named the Fageol 'SuperSonic'.
    Kurtis built a futuristic road car for Thorne in 1938, which, among other unique features, incorporated a three wheel configuration—one in front and two in the back. Thorne used the car regularly in the Los Angeles area.
    In the 1946 Indy 500, the first following WWII, Joel was supposed to have driven his Thorne-Sparks special, but broke his leg a month earlier in a motorcycle accident. Tony Hulman, the owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, had invited Rudolf Caracciola to race at Indy. However, his Mercedes-Benz W165 did not clear Swiss customs. Caracciola was thus hired by Joel to drive Thorne's "Big-Six" Thorne-Sparks racer, which was basically a supercharged version of the traditional 4-cylinder Offenhauser engine with two more cylinders added.
    Caracciola, who had experience on banked circuits from the Avus track in Berlin to the Monza banking in Italy, adjusted well and was soon lapping at 118 mph, good enough to qualify. Fortunately he was forced to change his linen cloth helmet for something that more closely resembled a crash helmet, as during a practice run, Caracciola crashed in Turn 2 and was thrown from the car. It is thought that he was struck in the face by a bird or a stone, suffering a severe concussion and fracturing his skull. George Robson was then brought in to race the car and went on to win.
    After the war Thorne also set his sights on Unlimited hydroplane racing. He was a last-minute choice to drive ASTRAEA II in the 1949 Presidents Cup at Washington, D.C., after regular pilot Ed Stair was suspended for a driving infraction. Thorne climbed into the unfamiliar craft and finished sixth.
    In the 1950s, Thorne planned on starting his own Unlimited team and ordered a hull (to be named SCAT) from the Ventnor Boat Works, designed by Norman
    Lauterbach. SCAT was reported to resemble Hot Metal and Aluminum First, a couple of Ventnor products of the late 1940s. Thorne's Unlimited Class ambition, however, was never realized.
    Thorne who also worked as a stunt pilot for Paramount Pictures, was killed when, on way to his home in Las Vegas, he crashed his airplane while taking off from Burbank, California into an apartment building. He was fatally injured along with the three unfortunate occupants, including a new-born baby.




    Thorne LSR car




    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    .

    .
     
  21. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    Great post on Joel Thorne, someone else that should be remembered was the real brains behind the operation...... Art Sparks. He was a racer-mechanical genius that worked for Thorne and made it all happen.

    He had a lot to do with the sucess of the Big Six and the two Little Sixes that followed and all three survive. I have helped a friend w/one of the Little Sixes at a racing event and it is a marvel of engineering created by Sparks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  22. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,951

    kurtis
    Member
    from Australia

    In a previous page i posted a photo of the Hughie Hughes driven Rayfield - Hughes Spl. Indycar from 1914 that inevitably suffered crankshaft damage and didn't make race day or qaulifying and seems to have disappeared and lost forever.
    Information of the car and the Rayfield Company didn't come easy either but enough photos from T-Head's collection confirmed it as one of the ugliest cars ever to race at the Brickyard.
    Never one to let something like this slip away and be forgotten i've put it in my 'To find' folders in the hope of finding it's history. In the meantime i thought of all the makes that have some semblance to it. Renault immediately came to mind but so did the 1912 Theophile Schneider. The chassis is different but the seat and scuttle mounted radiator position has me thinking. Maybe, maybe not but it's close.
    More on the French car later if there is interest.
     

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  23. Buildy
    Joined: Jan 29, 2008
    Posts: 1,521

    Buildy
    Member

    Joel Thorne and Art Sparks,1938

    [​IMG]

    Joel Thorne-1936 Vanderbilt Cup

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  24. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    I found these photos of a very distintive looking racing car at Daytona and was wondering if anyone had any information on it or the driver, O.D. Pete Craig

    The second photo at the Tampa Fairgrounds track.

    The third photo his Racing Assoc. card for 1922.

    The forth photo of him as a mechanic in Cassie Wingate's San Juan Garage Ford special.

    And the fifth photo of him passing what looks like a stalled Packard in the car from the first photo with the cowl changed.
     

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  25. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 596

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    Fiat??? The car looks like an early incarnation of his Wisconsin "LSR" car!

    Jimmy Chai later worked as a mechanic at Indy, and even entered a couple of cars in the forties. He was based in Joliet, IL. I didn't know he had any connections to Haugdahl! Thanks for that picture!!!
     
  26. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    Well, that is exactly what I thought but the caption as I said right of wrong said Fiat. It seems to be smaller than the Wisconsin Special but maybe this was an earlier version. He had so many different cars its hard to tell.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  27. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 596

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    A few errors in that: Thorne first tried Indy in '36 in one of his own cars, with a Dodge engine, but AAA wouldn't let him drive. Then, he acquired the Pirrung/Offenhauser, not the first car with an Offy engine, but maybe the first "big car" - there were already a number of Offy Midgets around by then. His failure to qualify fast enough precipitated his infamous car buying spree, but that's a story in itself.

    Then, the Sparks-Thorne cars were hardly "basically a supercharged version of the traditional 4-cylinder Offenhauser engine with two more cylinders added" - that's engineering ignorance to the power of three! Next, you will say that the Ford Cosworth DFV was basically two Model T engines on a common crankcase!!!??? Lastly, George Robson did not take over Caracciola's car to win the 1946 '500' - "Caratsch" crashed the "Big Six", while Robson drove a "Little Six", very different cars!
     
  28. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    Here is Haugadahl in yet another car at Jacksonville on the track and the second photo identified as Daytona.

    The car behind him in the first photo I have seen before with him involved with it.
     

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  29. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 596

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    I am not exactly clear on the location, but I don't think it's from the Vanderbilt Cup - Thorne supposedly drove #25 in 1936, and his #22 in 1937 was a Tipo B Alfa. This car, however, is the Miller '255' that Thorne bought from Art Sparks after the 1936 Indy 500. It is the same car in which Les Spangler had been killed in 1933. This may be Milwaukee, Roby or Syracuse - I am guessing the latter, because of the riding mechanic, which would make it a 1937 photo.
     
  30. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,985

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    The first photo is a present day photo of the #10 Little Six engine I took a few years ago when I helped a friend run it at Loudon NH. They were a masterpiece most of which is magnesium. A 6 cyl. DOHC w/a centrifical supercharger blowing thru an intercooler that is visible.

    Second photo was of its second place finish at Indy in 39. Its sister car won in 1946 and this car also placed well in 46. It ran at Indy I believe 4-5 times always doing well.

    The last photo of Sparks and Thorne. They were kind of like the old couple.
     

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