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History Auto racing 1894-1942

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

  1. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,990

    kurtis
    Member
    from Australia

    Thanks for sharing T-Head.
    I look forward to some never before seen photos and stories about this great American Supercar.
     
  2. oliver sellers
    Joined: Nov 16, 2011
    Posts: 7

    oliver sellers
    Member

    Still think crash waller raced a lawhon special. I saw the car when I was little, but do not remember much about it
     
  3. Racer12
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 125

    Racer12
    Member

    Any help with info on this Duesenberg Straight 8 emblem I have would be great!

    Bob

    Duesenberg.jpg
     
  4. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 241

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    Hey Bob, that is a cool badge you got there. Please tell us more about it, where you got it, its dimensions, etc.

    Here are a few pics of some Dusenberg medallions:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    and here is one of my favorites, original Dusenberg letterhead:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 241

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

  6. Racer12
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 125

    Racer12
    Member

    It is 5 3/8" wide 1 15/16" tall. It is an eagle facing to the left. In blue letters it says "DUESENBERG STRAIGHT 8" It belonged to James L. Mannix. He was a Car Owner at Indianapolis during the 20' and 30's. It came on a home made plaque from his estate. It included a AAA tech inspection plate for 1937 for the car he entered that May, and his pit pass for the Month at Indianapolis that same year. Also 3 AAA mechanics pins from 1921-1923. Pretty cool, this is crazy but turns out he is buried not 50 yds. from my grandparents here in Indy.
     
  7. Racer12
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 125

    Racer12
    Member

    Any idea of the value of the emblem itself?
     
  8. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,990

    kurtis
    Member
    from Australia

    Any updates?

    I was going to suggest the book 'Alpine Trials & Rallies' by Martin Pfundner may be a good read but from what little i have seen it's mostly results based. These early european reliability trials attracted many from the wealthy set and extravagantly dressed women also took part.
     
  9. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,990

    kurtis
    Member
    from Australia

  10. Harry Bergeron
    Joined: Feb 10, 2009
    Posts: 345

    Harry Bergeron
    Member
    from SoCal

    To a greater extent than here in the USA, "society" and race drivers were often the same people in Europe. Since it was an amateur sport over there, wealthy sportsmen usually drove their own cars. An exception would be those promoting their own line of cars, such as the Peugeot brothers. After WW1, things changed.

    A character with rich possibilities would be Andre Dubonnet, son of the founder of the Dubonnet apertif and liquors company. He was an ace in WWI fighter aircraft, but didn't race cars until after the war, when he was also an Olympic bobsledder.

    In the 1930s he invented the modern coil/A-arm suspension system, properly called the "Systeme Dubonnet", found on GM cars of the 30s.

    Knowing how writers' minds work, I expect his story would be massaged out of all recognition.
     
  11. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,990

    kurtis
    Member
    from Australia

    I suspect this photo of the G.N. Mowgli was taken at Brooklands although i'm not sure about the identity of the gentleman. Basil Davenport maybe.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  12. deuce354
    Joined: Feb 9, 2005
    Posts: 304

    deuce354
    Member

    I see all these cool old GN cars, What does GN Stand for?
     
  13. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,682

    The37Kid
    Member

  14. Bluto
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 5,114

    Bluto
    Member Emeritus

  15. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,935

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    GN's are great fun...we had a friends GN here for a while and got to drive it quite a bit. What a fun car. It is back in the UK now. Check out the club website. http://www.frazernash.co.uk

    Kurtis neat photo!!
     

    Attached Files:

  16. model.A.keith
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 6,282

    model.A.keith
    Member

    Mr Davenport.............



    [​IMG]
     
  17. model.A.keith
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 6,282

    model.A.keith
    Member

    and family.....................



    [​IMG]


    .
     
  18. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,935

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

     
  19. Vitesse
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 264

    Vitesse
    Member
    from Bath, UK

    You suspect correctly. Here's a picture of the clubhouse as it looks now, taken from about 20 yards across to the right of the picture of Mowgli and 50 yards further back: virtually identical, apart from the fact that the upper part of the end panel on the verandah is no longer glazed. The Test Hill is to the photographer's right.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,990

    kurtis
    Member
    from Australia

    Nice photo Speed! I sense you may have been worried somewhat with all of those admirer's getting a touch too close to your exotic.:)

    Since we are a little off topic i thought i might show you another exotic in front of the famous clubhouse. This photo comes from the April 2011 issue of Aeroplane Monthy Magazine. It shows the fuselage of the former world speed record-holding Swift F.4 arriving at the museum earlier that same year.

    ..and, since we're on the subject of Brooklands, i'm eagerly awaiting my copy of 'All The Years At Brooklands. The sequel to the "Vintage Years at Brooklands" that Joseph Bayley planned'.
     

    Attached Files:

  21. Nice to see something don't change...too much

     
  22. Vitesse
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 264

    Vitesse
    Member
    from Bath, UK

    Funnily enough, I have a copy of that very book sitting right here! Bikes aren't normally my thing, but I happened to spot it in the local library catalogue the other week. I think you'll enjoy it: look out particularly for the picture on page 27 which shows a chap who would become rather more famous for something else in the 1920s and 1930s. I shan't spoil the surprise, but with the author being a bike man, he may not actually have realised who was in the picture! :)
     
  23. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,935

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    [​IMG]

    Bill Rader Sets Records With Packard Airplane-Engined Special is up on The Old Motor We have three more photos and a clipping from Automotive Industries, Aug. 2, 1917, which tells many details.

    Hopefully Jim Dillion will stop by and comment on it?
     
  24. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,882

    jimdillon
    Member

    David, I guess these old Packard racers are something I could go on and on about, good or bad. There were two different July dates that the 905 was at Sheepshead (July 14 and July27-28 of 1917). The car set a number of records for the ¼ mile, the ½ mile, the kilo, 1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles, 4 miles 5 miles and 10 miles. DePalma was a little busy during that period trying to “tune” his new 299 Packard mount into a contender. During July he was match racing Oldfield, who was driving his new Miller creation, the Golden Sub.

    Rader though was more than up to the task as his background was as a tire tester. That may sound mundane but it was anything but. As a tire tester he was on occasion required to drive the cars until the tires blew which would take some real nerve to say the least. He was quite a large fellow as can be seen in the one picture adjusting his cap (while they fill the radiator). I spoke to his son back in the eighties but there was little that his son could supply me with as to the exploits with this Packard. The riding mechanic in these shots was Fred Farber and you will notice him in a number of these early journeys with both the 905 and the 299.

    The history of this car is not something that is really rock solid and theory and some storytelling ends up playing a role. The genesis and metamorphosis of the 905 from the #2 -299 Packard racer, as told by Robert Neal in his Packard book I cannot subscribe to in anyway and I do not believe this is the same car that DePalma drove at Daytona in 1919 (which Gary Doyle went into in his Gentleman Champion book on DePalma). Packard had many racecars in the experimental department and built many more, I believe. I have said before they more than likely did not operate as if they were running a blue light special at Kmart. If one is to study this car there is no way that one could ever shoehorn the 905 engine between the frame rails of the 299 without serious use of a cutting torch. Also the length of the engine is very large when compared to the 299. The hood is longer and taller and the radiator is taller. The frame rivets are not even close to each other especially when you study the rear mounts for each engine. To believe they filled the empty holes left in the 299 chassis makes no sense. The 905 and 299 side shots do not compute in my estimation.

    In regards to this two man car versus the one man car that DePalma drove at Daytona, Packard spoke of building a car for Daytona in late 1918 after the armistice and the cars were different from every angle. Whether they used the same 905 engine that may be the case but I am not sure that is etched in stone either. When I started drawing up a blueprint for the 299 it opened my eyes to everything one has to consider in all of the dimensions including the width of the seat and frame spacing etc. Every inch counts and making major changes be it to change from the 299 to the 905 or the 905 two man car to the 905 one man car is something that has to be studied carefully. There is little room between the rails for any excess. The two man car and one man car are quite different. I do not believe Packard was trying to cut any corners when DePalma’s life was at stake. I believe they built a new car completely and although I believe Jesse Vincent’s diary was silent as to building the car (long story but he did not keep a diary during the war years-at least not dealing with Packard), I believe the diary speaks volumes when they went to sell the car. I am not sure of the exact date without going over my notes but I believe in 1921 Vincent recalled selling the 905 for $10,000 minus engine. There is a possibility this is what morphed into the Jesse Lasky Speedster out in Hollywood. The one man 905 stayed with Packard past 1923 as the car was photographed with the 1923 racer.

    I do not believe any parts from either 905 car exists. The 905 engine that is in the Smithsonian has an aero crankcase and may have been used in aero testing. To claim this was the record setting that ran at Sheepshead in 1917 or the 905 engine that ran at Daytona may require a pretty involved story. Possible I suppose. Much of the history of these early racers has gone to the wind.

    Whatever the case imagine driving that car at speed. With all of that weight on the front axle it must have been a handful when and if it got out of shape. Some of those guys had real nerve-Jim
     
  25. saacha
    Joined: Mar 20, 2011
    Posts: 161

    saacha
    Member
    from cloud 9

    Jimdillon, reading your above and previous Packard history, is really fascinating. For an "illitarate" Packard enthusiast like myself this is the Packard bible on screen.Let me say: Thank you.
     
  26. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,882

    jimdillon
    Member

    Saacha, your welcome. Once you start researching this stuff it can get to be just another car disease. I have been interested in Packard racers most of my life so at times I take it for granted. One of my favorite Packards which I believe I have mentioned to you is this Twin Six racer. It never really raced in the US but did race in your neck of the woods. It was found in the jungle (I guess for lack of a better term) of Uruguay in the 90s. The pic with the AC of Paraguay on the hood was taken in the 90s in Uruguay when the car was for sale. The pic with me in the seat was taken just after the car was uncrated upon its return to US soil. It was originally gray and the pic of us at speed was taken moments after it was taken out of the restoration shop for the first time. The ride was exhilarating but a tad crazy to say the least. The owner likes to drive fast and that day was no exception. I only wish I had been offered the car first but such is life.

    Were it not for the interruption of the great war I believe this car may have had a more interesting US history. Even its South American history is a bit clouded as is the case with so many early racers, sadly. Probably has some pretty cool history that will be forever buried. One thing is for sure is that it was a stable mate to the 905 and 299 racers and still carries the tag from the Packard experimental department where all of these Packard racers were fabricated in the 1915-1919 period. Cool car nevertheless.-Jim

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  27. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,682

    The37Kid
    Member

    Jim, I've asked about "Reversed" hood louvers on other posts, and many early Packard race cars had unique looking ones. Were they a special Packard designed item, did the work better than the normal louvers? There is a name for the design, and some Ferrari body builder used larger sized ones in the 1950's. Bob
     
  28. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,882

    jimdillon
    Member

    Bob, that is a good question and I do not have the smoking gun I’m afraid. As you know there are 4 ways that you can run a louver, the standard method of an outward louver facing back, and outward louver facing front and an inward louver facing forward and an inward louver facing back. The most logical way without getting too scientific I suppose is the standard method of an outward louver facing back and the way on the Packard racers with the louver inward facing front, at least in my estimation.

    The funny thing, I had discussions with my grandfather years ago on the hoods on the Packard racers but sadly we never discussed the principles of the louvers themselves. My grandfather worked in the department and very well may have known the story behind the louvers but I never thought of asking that question. Long story short, the Packard racer in the picture is a Twin Six and the Twin Six was a new motor that Packard was very proud of. I believe this racecar was built in 1915 and Packard had their sights on doing some racing and what would be better than showcasing the new Twin Six on a race track. Jesse Vincent had stated in early 1915 that they would have some racecars ready for later in the year and this of course was before the 299 which was not finished until early 1916. Packard had raced the 1914 Grand Prix Mercedes and won at Indy with it in 1915 (Packard did much work on that car in the experimental department and redid the body and changed to a Packard carb-etc). Also Jesse Vincent, Packard’s Chief Engineer, was basically the pit boss with DePalma driving his newly acquired GP Merc during the Decoration day race. The discussions I had with my grandfather is that they were experiencing some problems with the Twin Six racers (another story but related to high RPMs and bottom end failures). The rear ends were special units and were very stout (a copy somewhat of the Mercedes rear in the 1914 GP Merc). In my discussions with Willard Rader’s son he seemed to recollect a conversation he had with his dad to this effect.

    My grandfather had some expertise in engine vibration (which he developed while working in the engine department at Chalmers in 1913) and he told me the twin six could only take so much in RPM before developing lower end problems. There had to be some balance between this rear end setup and the 3000 max pretty much on RPM. They had to also have a bit of a cushion if they exceeded 3000.Packard in 1915 ended up acquiring the rights to the vibration damper to try and alleviate any excessive vibration disorders (and from the racecar development they may have found they needed the damper even more-who knows). Long story short, as soon as the 299 was completed in early 1916, new hood sides were made for the twin six racers to disguise the car to an extent. Since the 299 aero engine racer would have some teething problems it would not be a big deal if it broke down a little here and there. If a Twin Six racer developed problems then bad press would be most damaging. Until they got the car and engine sorted out they had to do things a little quietly. The 299 hood sides would do the trick.

    I believe many of the guys at Packard and especially in the experimental department wanted to go racing but they knew with the upcoming involvement of the US in the war and then the eventual war work put a crimp on the racecar development. The racecars were anything but front and center. The twin Six racers (I believe there were 2) were placed under tarps in the experimental department and the 299 was turned over to DePalma so he could fly the Packard colors while the experimental department worked feverishly on the liberty engine and a few hours here and there on the Packard aircraft development.

    Now the actual hood that had these inward louvers first I believe was the 299. That hood was somewhat more complex than the Twin Six hood. As stated the Twin Six hood was basically a copy of the 299 so from a casual observer it would look like the 299. What the original Twin Six hood was sadly another question I failed to ask. All of these racercars originally were gray so it is hard to tell the difference in similar cars without being “in the know”. There were differences in length of the hoods but both had the large blister on the side. That blister was not so much for looks as it was necessary to accommodate the width of the engine. The valvetrain for the overhead cam stuck out right at that point so it became a necessity for the blister or something similar. The twin six was a bit wide as well so it worked effectively on that car as well. It must be kept in mind though that the 299 was a racecar but also was a guinea pig for study on all things aeronautical. On some of the early planes I believe they had venting in the cowl area that was both inward and outward.

    Does this style of venting really work and how much did the engineers really know what they were doing? To take the second part first I believe these engineers really did know what they were doing. With aircraft study from 1915-1917 they already had already studied both supercharging and turbocharging (Sherbondy). These guys were pretty savvy. All in all the engineers during this era never cease to amaze me. Some of their header styles were also pretty decent and looked as if they knew what they were doing. They had to work within the limitations of available fuel etc so even though they may have wanted to up the compression and other such “exotic” principles they had their hands tied to an extent. Also in 1915 racecars took on a very different look. When the 300 inch era began in the US in 1915 (US since Europe was at war since 1914) the overhead cam cars were pretty fast. Pretty much from that day forward overhead cam cars would be the hot ticket. The engineers knew that the front half of the car created disturbance (they referred to it as eddying currents) and they figured the use of long tails would help straighten out some of these eddying currents. From that point on in the US, the competitive speedway racers all carried clean tails as opposed to the road race rears prevalent in prior years. I have even read that they knew of some of the eddying currents having an effect on other cars around you (long before the modern racers figured this out). They had a balance to strike between cleaning up the front half with smooth hood sides (which they used at Daytona in 1919) versus removing unwanted air from the engine compartment. These cars did heat up at speed and all without fans. The redesigned 299 body for the 1919 Indy did away with this old vented hood and they went to a smooth hood with no venting and a different blister. They no longer had to study aero for aircraft sake-now they wanted outright speed. It was a failed design and they removed it during practice for Indy and they never reinstalled the hood sides until they sold the “new body” to the European contingent that bought the body with engine #2 in late 1919.

    I have thought about the venting as well and with my limited engineering expertise, I kind of figured that the inward venting as done on these hood sides was probably pretty decent. As the air rushed over the hood (or cowling in aero) the air pressure may have had a positive effect on drawing air out of the enclosed area. It is strictly an uneducated guess that it would accomplish this in a cleaner method that with the more normal hood venting. It seems that with raised venting it may create more disturbed air than the inward design used on these racecars. Whether there is any scientific basis to my assumptions is certainly up for a short debate. I am not sure how much wind tunnels played a role at this juncture. I believe that may have been something a bit more common some 10 years down the road, although I would not be overly surprised if someone pointed out that I am wrong on that point.

    The problem with trying to answer these questions today is that we have to use a combination of common sense and reliance on a ouija board, which only goes so far in establishing the “truth”.

    I guess to give you a short answer to your question Bob, I don’t know-Jim


    299 with original bodywork-1917
    [​IMG]

    Here is the 299 and the 905 at Indy in 1919 a few days before the race with their new bodies and new smooth hood sides.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the 299 on track working on the right front wheel bearing. it was this problem that dropped the 299 out of the lead and relegated it to finish in 6th place.
    [​IMG]
     
  29. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,682

    The37Kid
    Member

    Thanks Jim! I'll search out the louver thread I started here years ago, maybe some new info is out there. Bob
     
  30. T-Head
    Joined: Jan 28, 2010
    Posts: 3,935

    T-Head
    Member
    from Paradise.

    [​IMG]

    Part III of Peter Helck Mercer racing photos are up on The Old Motor.
     

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