The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by kurtis, Jul 18, 2009.
L to R Enzo and Tazio
This is a progran someone held as they watched that car race. Cameron Peck also owned the 1919 Hudson that Ira Vail drove in the 1919 INDY 500 he finished in 8th place. Bob
THead, nice post on the Ballot team. Here are a couple of frames of movie footage from the 1919 race.
Construction of the Nurburgring,1925-27.
1932 Monaco Grand Prix with Nuvolari on his way to victory in his Alafa 8C at the Tabac corner...
Forty years on, growing
older and older,
Still sound in wind though
your story is long,
Still (full?) of poke, though
betrayed by your solder,
What is one piston to those
who are strong?
Give us plains, or French
hills to beleaguer
The wind in our faces,
comes rain or with sun,
Speed for the fearless and
revs for the eager
Twenty and thirty and
forty years on.
From Motor Sport magazine, article by Bill Boddy.
Prescott. from H.G. Conway's 'Bugatti' (Foulis);
From "Mr. Punch Awheel" lovely old book.
Beneath the trees
I lounge at ease.
And watch them speed the pace.
A man they say was killed that day.
It was a glorious race.
Recently, thanks to Joe Freeman and Sarah Morgan Wu, as well as racing historian Jim O'Keefe, of Racemaker Press, I was sat down at Racemaker Archives in Boston to examine the legendary, even fabled Russ Catlin/Bob Russo collection. It is, contrary to the expectations of many, simply a single box containing file folders, one for each year 1909 to 1955, with an additional one labeled "1902-1908." There are no boxes full of rescued files from the Contest Board.
In the files are what appear to be the original worksheets that Arthur Means used to create the retroactive champions that first appeared in the mid-1920's. There are worksheets for the following seasons: 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1919, and -- yes -- 1920.
In addition, there are what appear to be copies of drafts of the book that Catlin was writing on the A.A.A. national championship. In the files are chapters for the following seasons: 1910, 1911, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, and 1924.
In addition to the chapter that Catlin wrote for the 1920 season, there is also an article that was submitted to Speed Age magazine, "The Unfortunate 1920 Championship Goof," which was never published; there is also a copy of the draft of the Bob Russo article on the 1920 championship that appeared in the January 1987 issue of Indy Car Racing magazine.
There is also a copy of the sheet that lists the Russ Catlin-created "champions" -- and their points! -- for the 1902 to 1908 seasons. Looking at the listing, apparently Catlin changed things for 1902 since Harry Harkness is listed as third, with 26 points, and Charles Shanks as first, with 36 points, although there is no listing of events for that season.
There is also a manuscript for his article on Tommy Milton that appeared in Automobile Quarterly, "The Great Milton!", in the collection.
Reading the chapters that Catlin intended for his book, especially those for 1918 to 1921, as well as the unpublished "Goof," article, it is clear that Catlin created an alternate reality, that there was a conspiracy by the Contest Board to keep secret that there were national champions being crowned each year, only they were not being released to the public. Richard Kennerdell is a particular target of Catlin's on this matter.
Catlin states in one place that the Contest Board accepted the 1917, 1918, and 1919 champions at a Board meeting in December 1920, where it also refused to accept Chevrolet as the 1920 champion, whereas elsewhere it is a 1924 Board meeting that accepted the 1917 to 1919 champions and changed 1920 from Chevrolet to Milton.
Given that the Contest Board material/records that Gordon White had placed on microfilm from the file cabinets at the Hall of Fame Museum at the IMS three decades ago seems to be pretty much what we have regarding the Contest Board records, what is missing from those records is any documentation as to why Arthur Means created the worksheets and the Contest Board suddenly recognizes champions for season that there were no concurrent championships and changed the 1920 champion from Chevrolet to Milton, briefly in the 20's before changing it back, and then changing it once again in 1951. I have yet to find any documention from the Contest Board explaining why this was done during the 20's or in 1951.
There is also the problem with the historical amnesia of the Board, the 1905 National Motor Car Championship somehow being actually forgotten, as well as the over 70 events that made up the 1946 championship season rather than the six aways cited.
While still digging through some of the material, what is clear is that it that it is very difficult to find a sanctioning body in any sport that has taken as many liberties with its past, its history, as the Contest Board of the A.A.A., something certainly made even more of a muddle by the likes of Russ Catlin and others.
What a mess.
Guilio Masseti's 1926 Targa Florio Delage he was killed in...
It was interesting to place the unpublished chapters that Russ Catlin wrote into the sequence with the articles that appeared in Speed Age, especially those for 1918 to 1924. As if it were not clear enough prior to this, for the 1920 season Catlin clearly misses the boat, so to speak, there being ample evidence refuting his claim that the standings were never revealed by Kennerdell prior to the end of the season.
In both the unpublished chapter for the 1920 season and the unpublished Speed Age 1920 article from 1958, the Catlin thesis is that Kennederdell never revealed the standings to the press during the season. Catlin stakes much on a telegram that Eddie Edenburn sent Kennerdell roughly a week following the 500 mile race at Indianapolis, a copy of which was originally in the 1920 folder, but which is now missing. In one version of the 1920 story, Catlin insists that Edenburn did not get a response until after the Thanksgiving event at Beverly Hills.
Catlin credits Edenburn in one instance with the credit for altering the championship schedule to match the points totals so that the press claims that Chevrolet was the champion and not Milton would be confirmed. Catlin claims that the Contest Board, when it was revealed that Kennerdell was trying to pull a fast one, balked and refused to go along with Kennerdell, who, according to Catlin, had already sent out the championship medals, the second place one going to Milton. That the medals were not created until 1926, following the 1925 season, might lead one to raise an eyebrow at this claim.
Of course, Catlin also claims that it was after Arthur Means began compiling the results for the national championships that the Contest Board chairmen from Samuel Butler to William Schimpf to, of course, Richard Kennerdell all kept secret from the press and the public from 1909 to 1915 and 1917 to 1919, that it was Means who discovered the error and went to the Contest Board that, in turn, accepted the championships, this time in 1924.
I stated that it would be very difficult to find another sanctioning body in sports that has taken so many liberties with its past, its history, as in the case of the Contest Board of the A.A.A. It is very frustrating that the documentation explaining the actions of the Contest Board in these unusual and unprecedented acts revisionism are not available. That said, it is difficult, no, impossible to accept this blatant altering of history regardless of whatever the reasons for the actions that the Contest Board may have taken, whether in the 20's or in 1951. It is an anachronism and needs to be regarded as such.
The lack of "Official" records is indeed frustrating, but it is what it is. Even if we had the original records that would not stop historians from searching for more information. Digging for the facts, and searching for new tid bits of data is half the fun.
For 1920, both Milton & Murphy had better performances on a mile to mile basis than Chevrolet. However as you know, points were not awarded at all the events, and points were not weighted equally for each race. From my perspective Chevrolet won the Championship in 1920, and I strongly believe that all the principals knew what was at stake going into the final race that year at Beverly Hills.
Was the 1920 Championship award a true messure of driver skill & performance? That is an entirely different question all together.
Below is an image that was recently posted on Mark Dill's website. I hadn't seen it before, so I thought I'd re-post it here. It was taken by the famous west coast photographer Hughes, and we can see the Golden Submarine in the background. I believe it is from Ascot Park, and dates from either November of 1917 or January of 1918.
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:RelyOnVML/> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]-->[FONT="] Just for the record: "Peter" (short for Pedro-José-Isidro-Manuel-Ricardo) Monés, marqués de casa Mauri, a dandy [/FONT][FONT="] English aristocrat of catalano-cuban ancestors, member of the British Secret Services... [/FONT]
^^^ Is this one of the Indianapolis 500 cars? The nose looks different at first glance, and I don't have any other photos to compare it to. Bob
Thanksgiving 1917 (Nov 29), start of the 50-mile Liberty Sweepstakes: first row (r-l) are Louis Chevrolet (Frontenac), Cliff Durant (Chevrolet=Stutz) and Tommy Milton (Duesenberg), second row Eddie Kaster (Mercer), Robert Delno (Stutz) and Eddie Hearne (Roamer=Duesenberg), I believe. Hearne won from Milton, Louis C., Durant, Kaster and Billy Bolden in another Duesenberg.
Oldfield had just driven the Sub to a new track record of 45.0", and did not take part in any other event that day.
No, it's a 1922 Grand Prix car. There's a family resemblence, and the engine is the same type in both cars.
More of the Lombard in the above image. Rome,1930 Littorio Airport.
While it certainly would be true that even had we complete (or close enough) records of the Contest Board that historians would continue to dig for more, but we are missing many of those records. While it might be easy for you to airily brush it off as if it were of little consequence, it merely being an inconvenience -- "it is what it is" -- for historians, the sad, sorry state of the Contest Records reflects a larger problem for various aspects of American automobile racing. Consider for a moment that we have very little, almost nothing, from the Contest Board's predecessor, the Racing Board. Little wonder that the National Motor Car Championship of 1905 was, for all intents and purposes, forgotten, although it clearly existed when you study the contemporary material.
It is now established that prior to the transfer of what Contest Board records remained in Washington, DC at the A.A.A. headquarters, that various people -- apparently Russ Catlin among them -- had "borrowed" material from the records for their own use and never returned them. Most of this seems to have simply vanished, probably never to be recovered.
The issue regarding the 1920 championship, at least for historians, is less who won than why there was any basis or rationale for changing it from one person to another, whether it was 1927 or 1951. While we can made some very educated guesses based upon a number of assumptions, that there is nothing from the Contest Board itself is, yes, quite frustrating.
The contemporary writings certainly make it clear that those contesting the 1920 championship season were fully aware of what was at stake in November at Beverly Hills. We have ample proof that the Catlin idea of a conspiracy by Kennerdell to withhold information regarding the points standngs during the season to enable Chevrolet to become the posthumous champion simply is not true. So, what exactly led Means to construct a revised championship schedule to shift the championship to Milton? Why did the Contest Board, at least for a brief period, accept the change? Why did they then change it back (other than being in error, of course)? What, exactly, led the Contest Board to create and then accept what were clearly retroactively created champions?
It is this obvious fiddling with its past, its history, without there being any documentation that is puzzling. Clearly, there was some reason or rationale for doing so, regardless of how muddled or mistaken or misguided it may have been. To historians, it is this larger question that is the issue.
I hope I did not step on your toes. The project you have been working on is both scholarly & meaningful, and I do not wish to tarnish the research you have carefully compiled. I believe that all the Hamber's that regularly contribute to this board (yourself included) are genuinely passionate about the golden era of racing.
I would love nothing more than to see original documentation regarding the AAA, and the principals involved in the sport. Such papers would yield a lot of answers to questions that historians have pondered for many years. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see vintage entry forms, driver correspondence, scoring data, or financial records?
Perhaps one day these documents will show up at a garage sale, a flea market, or an estate auction. These papers are only 100 years old, so it is quite possible they are still around. Remember, Howard Carter found King Tut's tomb 3,200 years after the pharaoh was buried.
Keep digging (no pun intended),
Anyone have a good collection of old Ford race cars? Pictures, or pictures of the collections that you might have?
Any good threads on Ford racing?
Bill Smith, Speedway, Lincoln, Nebraska, next question. Bob
Sorry, re-reading it, that did not quite come out the way I meant, so my apologies.
That we have one of those huge jigsaw puzzles with a gazillion pieces that all look the same and have managed to piece so much of it together and still have so many gaps despite some incredible effort by several people is both frustrating and a bit a bit maddening since we cannot quite pin down so many of the "whys" in this puzzle.
I am not sure that I am as optimistic or hopeful about some of the missing A.A.A. documentation turning up any time soon or, perhaps, not even later, as I may once have been. As I have become more aware of the efforts of others to unsuccessfully track down this material, the greater the odds mount against it popping up in a garage sale or Ebay, but much stranger things have happened, of course. So, I am more hopeful than optimistic.
The real fear is that when it does pop up, it will be snatched up by a "collector" and that is that for the scholars since it will disappear from the scene.
Again, while we have some very good ideas regarding the various "whys" with the various problems with the Contest Board fiddling with its history, there is nothing like cold, hard factual documentation for the historian.
From " A Racing Motorist" S.C.H. Davis book printed 1949, lovely reading !
Came across this site, with this information, that I assume many of you know.
I must admit that the interesting facts for me is that:
a. USA must have the largest amount of races ever against any other nation.
b. USA must also have the largest amount of tracks against any other nation.
Would I be correct perhaps in my asumtions?
Yes, perhaps slightly off topic in some years. Sorry.But you do see the connection to the period that interest us.
Countries with highest number of recorded fatalities (drivers, spectators, marshalls, etc)
United States (3074 fatalities)
Argentina (583 fatalities)
France (494 fatalities)
Italy (433 fatalities)
United Kingdom (307 fatalities)
Germany (246 fatalities)
Australia (204 fatalities)
Belgium (101 fatalities)
Mexico (101 fatalities)
Spain (97 fatalities)
It's been awhile since I've seen that site. What I think is interesting is the references listed for each driver bio. The research on riding mechanics is well done.
Separate names with a comma.