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History Auto racing 1894-1942

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

  1. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,023

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    Great pictures, It is amazing how early they figured out the importance of quickly closing up the hole in the air they had just blasted through.:cool:
     
  2. memaerobilia
    Joined: Mar 24, 2004
    Posts: 191

    memaerobilia
    Member

    Does anybody have any good photos of the MIDGET race cars, when they ran at Roosevelt Raceway Long Island? Most people are aware of the two Vanderbilt Cup races there. My dad was a small part of the racing there. It was either 1937 or 1939, when he claimed that they had used one of His midget racers, for the Grand Opening publicity photos, on the track, the day before opening. I was hoping for some old newspaper archive photo (It was likely a number 8 or a number 9 car)or? to confirm it. he did tell stories about the fact that the midget races there, were, initially, open to parimutual betting, but the betting had to be ended, after a brief period, due to the fact that many of the midget car drivers, had friends betting on the races, for them, and they often knew, WHO was going to win, by holding back, or allowing certain cars/drivers to pass them etc. They, apparently made a princely sum, and it ended quickly. The auto racing was replaced by horse racing, (trotters and pacers, with a portion questionable finishes, themselves...)which continued for decades.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  3. Vitesse
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 264

    Vitesse
    Member
    from Bath, UK

    I don't have any pictures - I'd also be interested in seeing some! - but I can give some historical background of the brief flowering of midgets there.

    The original company failed in March 1938, having racked up losses of a million dollars. In July, despite an announcement made at the end of May by a Los Angeles amusement park owner called Frank C Hulbert that he had secured a ten-year lease on the track and would be promoting a 300-mile stock car race there on Labor Day, Roosevelt Raceway reopened under new owners as a midget racing venue, before closing again at the end of September 1938 after suffering both a betting scandal and a fatality during a race. It was next used the following June, as what the press scornfully dismissed as a “two-bit parking lot” for the crowds attending the Westchester Cup polo matches at nearby Meadow Brook. Finally, on August 12th 1939 the track hosted the national midget racing championship: this was the final race ever run at Roosevelt Raceway and ironically attracted the biggest crowd ever seen there, estimated variously at anywhere between fifty and sixty-three thousand. Another promised stock car race scheduled for September 9th 1939 was initially postponed and then cancelled and finally, in early 1940, the site was sold and redeveloped as a harness racing track, featuring a more traditional type of horse power.
     
  4. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,823

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    13501663_1616481995347383_3201680338873108603_n.jpg 1920 Gallion,course de cote.Rene' Thomas driving the Sunbeam.
     
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  5. memaerobilia
    Joined: Mar 24, 2004
    Posts: 191

    memaerobilia
    Member

    Thank you for those several specific dates, Vitesse. Do you happen to remember a source/report, with more details, for the above info? I was always fascinated by the betting situation. But even without betting availability and temptations, My Dad referred to several Eastern tracks where the races and finishes were (virtually) "Hippodromed." His words..
     
  6. Vitesse
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 264

    Vitesse
    Member
    from Bath, UK

    Mostly picked up and assembled from occasional press reports I found on Google News Archive (when it was still possible to search it easily!) and other sites like Newspapers.com. They tended to be AP and UPI reports off the wires that they were just using as column fillers. The bit about Hulbert definitely came from Billboard, which is available via Google Books Advanced Search and can be quite informative on racing promoters etc. Possibly some info from Howard Kroplick's Vanderbilt Cup website too. I wasn't able to find any race reports apart from some very basic stuff about the August 1939 meeting, but there don't seem to be any NYC papers available online apart from the New York Times, which as far as I could tell washed its hands of the place after the 1937 Vanderbilt - they didn't even report the ARCA meeting in September 1937, which was the final event on the road circuit. I've seen an unattributed press advert for the aborted September 1939 stock car race too.
     
  7. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,823

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    13439014_1619742945021288_5320005270483241093_n.jpg Rene' Thomas driving Delage in 1923 Tours Semblancay grand Prix de l'ACF
     
  8. WillyNilly
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 240

    WillyNilly
    Member
    from NorCal

    Hi everyone. Didn't know where to post this. I am looking for information regarding a old race track for prewar cars in Southern California. I remember seeing a newscast or short story a few years ago about this race track that still exists in a neighborhood. It's an oval and they featured a couple of prewar cars driving around the "track". Yu could see the neighbors sitting on their porches watching these old cars driving around. The old center paddock was a park or playground. Sound familiar?
     
  9. 64 DODGE 440
    Joined: Sep 2, 2006
    Posts: 4,052

    64 DODGE 440
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from so cal

    Probably thinking of Grand Ave in Corona.
     
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  10. WillyNilly
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 240

    WillyNilly
    Member
    from NorCal

    Thanks Dodge! Thats the one I was thinking of.
     
  11. drtrcrV-8
    Joined: Jan 6, 2013
    Posts: 1,232

    drtrcrV-8
    Member

    It's been covered before, but "google" the history again : now a main street, but originally a ONE MILE DIAMETER CIRCLE!!!! That's bigger than Indianapolis( Corona = 3,14+/- mi , Indy = 2 1/2 mi)
     
  12. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,860

    jimdillon
    Member

    You are correct that the Corona course was larger than Indy but not quite 3.14 mi -at least not according to the race records of the day (mid teens). The Corona Boulevard Course in length was 2.76895 miles around during the mid-teens when the big races were run. The winning speeds were often averaged in the high 70 mph range although Eddie Pullen won the November 26 1914 race at 87.89 mph with one of the Type 45 Mercers. This was quite impressive when the 1914 Indy race was won by Rene Thomas in a Delage that averaged 82.47. I have read that Pullen's speed was the fastest time ever recorded in any competition anywhere (there were a couple of faster times at Brooklands but not in competition, allegedly). I am not sure I would bet the farm on this claim but nevertheless the course was a pretty fast surface and race cars could stretch their legs. Not sure that any of the cars in the video ever recorded times near 100 but the National probably could run in the 70s comfortably.
     
  13. Six Ball
    Joined: Oct 8, 2007
    Posts: 3,023

    Six Ball
    Member
    from Nevada

    Talk about all left hand turns, just one big left hand turn. I think the 1912 Indy speed was 60 + -.
     
  14. WillyNilly
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 240

    WillyNilly
    Member
    from NorCal

  15. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,860

    jimdillon
    Member

    WillyNilly Note the date that Oldfield ran the Christie to the 100mph record (1916) as opposed to Pullen's feat in 1914. That being said I am not certain of the claim of Pullen's "fastest" race but it was quite impressive in my opinion. Just a big T-head with a 440+cubic inch-depending on the date (although Mercers were a super car for the day in my opinion).

    Oldfield's Christie was a pretty cool car but was more of assault speed car and not really a registered AAA car for competition (in 1916) as it did not meet the 300 cubic inch spec. The first car to meet spec that exceeded 100mph at Indy was August 2, 1916 was the Packard 299. I am including a picture of the car on that date with the driver Willard Rader being congratulated by Packard's chief engineer Jesse Vincent. Also a picture of the engine as it sits today. Packard had just recently finished the car but changed intakes to the one pictured which helped its performance. This car with updated bodywork led the 1919 Indy for the better part of the first half but a frozen wheel bearing delegated it to a 6th place finish.

    As I understand Oldfield ran the bricks at a touch under 1:28 for slightly over 100mph. The Packard record was an average of five watches and ran 1:29:32 for slightly over 100. This was the fastest time with a true AAA styled racecar meeting cubic inch spec since Boillet ran 1:30:13 in 1914 with his 380 inch Peugeot (within cubic inch spec for 1914) which figured to slightly less than 100mph (I have not confirmed this with separate research but simply re-reported what was written on August 3 1916 when discussing the record).

    As a side note Willard Rader had a pretty sizable set of stones to be sure. I spoke to his son Frank years ago and he told me his dad was fearless. One of his jobs was to test cars at speed to see how they reacted when the tires went down (or exploded I su img036-2.jpg 029_19A.JPG ppose). At 100 in one of these cars had to be an experience for sure.
     
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  16. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 240

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    Would that be the original radiator shell in the picture Jim?
     
  17. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 240

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    Here is a very cool shot from the archives of the DPL.
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. WillyNilly
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 240

    WillyNilly
    Member
    from NorCal

    Jim, thanks for catching that. I missed the date. Good info you have.
     
  19. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,860

    jimdillon
    Member

    Billy I believe the car had three different radiators and this was the original one. I have a great picture of the front and it appears to be the same. Packard radiators were shorter and fatter and none of them carried the machine screw holes for holding the racing screens like this radiator. Brad Skinner found it at a swap meet back in the 70s (Hershey).

    By the way that is a great picture of the Peugeot when it was owned by the Book brothers (driven by Art Klein in the 1919 Indy). I am assuming the two little guys had some ties to the Book family. This picture was most likely just before or after the 1919 Indy event as it still has the little tag on the lower right corner of the radiator. The car allegedly carried a DAC (Detroit Athletic Club) tag during the 1919 race. The Books were members of that pretty classy club. I swung by the club years ago and asked if they had any pictures of the car but sadly they did not. I had spoken to Mrs Herbert Book (widow of one of the brothers) about the car when she was in her 80s. A real car person for sure-I had a great time talking to her about this car and others on two occasions.

    In the spirit of trying to get things straight I referenced Willard Rader's son as Frank. I have not looked at my notes in 20 some years and I believe his name was Richard Rader. Frank is the first name of the riding mechanic in the car (I believe it may be Frank Farber).

    WillyNilly, it seems that the HAMB is one of the places where I can use this semi-useless information and have it appreciated-I hope.
     
  20. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 240

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    Jim, Thanks for your comments on the radiator. It is amazing that it survived, and turned up at Hershey.

    I also appreciate your notes on the Book family, and your detective work in tracking down data on the Peugeot. I've often wondered about the DAC, and the other notable clubs in the Detroit area. The photo shows Joe Boyer, and I believe his 2 young boys in his driveway. If you google his address, you'll see that the garage looks pretty much the same as it did back in the day.

    Notes on the photo give a date of May 1924 (not sure how accurate that is). Boyer did campaign this car in the summer of 1923, and there is a crappy newspaper photo of the #29 machine in competition at Hawthorne with Boyer behind the wheel.

    Billy
     
  21. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,860

    jimdillon
    Member

    Billy you may be right on the boys being Boyer's sons. The Boyer family certainly had money. I most certainly would be interested in any photo of this car in Boyer's possession in 1923 or 1924. The 29 was the number used on the car at Indy in 1919 and at Beverly Hills in early 1920 with Art Klein driving in those events. According to Mrs Book they shipped out three cars to the West Coast in late 1919 and only returned with one, that being the Detroit Special (which they kept at least through the mid 30s). She believed they sold the 1914 GP Mercedes and the Peugeot. She was very fond of Art Klein and actually took the trip from Detroit with Art Klein for the 1919 race as her husband was already at the track with both cars (Detroit Special and Peugeot). She thought it was possible they sold the car to Art as her family were also very fond of Art and he certainly liked the car. Art Klein ended up selling his Peugeot to Lindley Bothwell (which exists to this day in their care) and I always assumed it was this car. Bothwell's car is claimed to be Resta's car but I believe Resta may have used his mount when he created his Resta Special which he drove in some 1919 races. There were a limited supply of these Peugeots for sure.

    I would really appreciate that photo even if it is "crappy". It is better to try and get this stuff correct than to continue with inaccuracies.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  22. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 240

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

  23. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,860

    jimdillon
    Member

    Thanks Billy. I must admit I am a bit confused. I suppose Boyer could have bought the car in the early 20s and raced it for a few years and then sold it to Klein but I am using ouija board logic mores than research which can be a risky business in search for the truth. Might need a bit more research to figure it out.Thanks Jim
     
  24. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 770

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    This is an interesting discussion. I, too, had found the report posted by Billy, but suspected it to be a "generic" racing picture - newspapers of the time were quite fond of showing pictures of racing cars with no or little relation to the accompanying caption; I have seen Fiats "masquerading" as Bugattis, even a portrait picture of Louis Chevrolet that was supposed to show a local dirt track driver. But Billy's earlier picture of Boyer posing in the Peugeot lends a new perspective to that report.

    Boyer had raced with de Palma, Dario Resta, Howdy Wilcox and Leon Duray, even Louis Chevrolet on one occasion, on the three successive weekends before that Hawthorne race, at Toledo/OH, Danville/IL and Quincy/IL, but only at Hawthorne was the Peugeot mentioned. Duray drove his two-man Miller, while at least one Frontenac completed the line-up in addition to de Palma's Duesey. It was, apparently, a series of match races, with an overall classification arirved at by adding up points; de Palma won all three.
     
  25. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 240

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    Given the stellar line up of drivers & machines, you'd think there would be more photos of the Hawthorne event in Chicago. A large crowd, and multiple daily newspapers in the metro area, would make one think it would be a shutterbug's kind of happening.
     
  26. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,823

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

  27. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,823

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    13627251_10153910850534032_5693201940722722814_n.jpg Avus 1934,from the Polish National Archive
     
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  28. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 240

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    Floyd Clymer was one of the first historians to shine the spotlight on the golden age of racing. Early in his career he got "pinched" on a federal beef for mail fraud. Below is a link to his Fort Leavenworth prison docket. The file has some 180 pages of material from 1930 & 1931.

    https://catalog.archives.gov/id/30624457
     
  29. Vitesse
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 264

    Vitesse
    Member
    from Bath, UK

    Nice! Earl Howe in his 8CM, sitting on the middle of the front row of the grid. Presumably in conversation with the ever-faithful Thomas. Stuck's Auto Union partly visible behind His Lordship - and behind that you can just see the grille and front wheel of de Paolo's Miller. The more visible Auto Union at the back is zu Leiningen's and the Alfa driver is Varzi.
     
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  30. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,823

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

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