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History Auto racing 1894-1942

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

  1. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,731

    jimdillon
    Member

    Somewhere I have a file with a bit of the patent pictures of the 299. They pretty much patented the whole engine and bodywork of the original 1916 version. I believe they pretty much patented every part of importance. Here is a picture of the engine from the front view with the original 1916 intake manifold which was much lower than the 1917 onward version. Also a drawing of the camshaft. Somewhere I have other pictures but I have not seen them in quite a while so they must be in a file box. Also here is a handy picture of the patent on the body. The body had a small hole in the tail where you inserted a socket and when you turned the socket the body came free of the frame. There were dowel pins on the frame.
    299 Pat 1 001.jpg
    Pat 299 2 001.jpg
    Packard Patent for Race Car Body.jpg
     
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  2. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 238

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    Jim, have you accessed the full patent dockets from the National Archives? There is more to the case file than just the blue prints & legal abstract. Not always, but sometimes there are letters & correspondence between the inventor and the government examiners. Such items are not included in an on-line search. Initial patent submissions can be rejected, then revised & amended to satisfy the government examiners.

    The U.S. Patent files used to be in College Park Maryland, but were moved to a new facility in Kansas City a few years ago. The folks in KC are really nice, and can scan & e-mail you the docket in a short amount of time. Scanning & copying fees are quite reasonable.
     
  3. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,731

    jimdillon
    Member

    Billy thanks for the tip. When and if I do a book on Packard racing exploits, it will be a road I have to go down. I do have a file on the patents but it is buried right now. If I went down every alley with the car and the engine, I almost believe I could track it week by week it seems (maybe moreso in some instances)-enough to put most readers to sleep, I suppose. Thanks for the tip though especially if they are nice. A couple of places where I did quite a bit of research are anything but nice, sadly.
     
  4. Thank you!

     
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  5. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 231

    blueprint2002

    Thanks Jim. Couldn't ask for better!
     
  6. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 238

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

  7. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 238

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

  8. SteveLines
    Joined: Jun 15, 2007
    Posts: 119

    SteveLines
    Member
    from England

    What is the date and race for this photo please? I am trying to id the car on the front left.
     
  9. THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,668

    THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Member
    from FRENCHTOWN

    I wonder how those guys got the number on the radiator core to stand out so visibly. My efforts there seem lacking. Maybe sprayed over a template mask?
     
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  10. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,731

    jimdillon
    Member

    Steve the picture is the second row of the 1919 participants of the Indy race. Far left is Eddie Hearne in the Stutz that placed second, then Art Klein in the Book Peugeot (note the badge on the bottom of the radiator that was a Detroit Athletic Club badge allegedly), then Paul Bablot in the Ballot. The Book Peugeot recently sold for 7.2 million. One of the Ballots that raced survives although I do not have my notes handy as to which one.
     
  11. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 238

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

  12. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,731

    jimdillon
    Member

    After checking, the surviving Ballot from the 1919 race is the Bablot #33 car. They were straight 8s that were quite impressive in several respects. I have a file somewhere but sometimes it is easier to borrow some pics from the web.

    040429-37RW0690aFC23-900x600.jpg
    19_Ballot-Indianapolis-DV-11-AI_e003.jpg
     
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  13. THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,668

    THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Member
    from FRENCHTOWN

    Stunningly beautiful and exquisitely executed engine compartment.
     
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  14. Probably painted on with a heavy brush and lots of paint.

     
  15. SteveLines
    Joined: Jun 15, 2007
    Posts: 119

    SteveLines
    Member
    from England

    Thanks Jim. I thought the Stutz may be Tom Alley's Pan American which I think was entered as the Bender Special in the 1919 Indy 500. I am trying to find photos of this car. There are only two or three of it on the internet.
     
  16. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,731

    jimdillon
    Member

    Steve you are correct that there are few pictures of the Bender that are common on the web. I have a few pics of when it was called the Pan American and of course the common picture as posted below. Jack Fox in his Indy book used this photo probably due to the scarcity of photos (although IMS should have an official photo and probably does). You may try and contact the Motor Speedway for the 1919 official photo. I may have a pic and may have to look more closely at track shots although it may be hard to make out any details. If you see a track shot it carries the #26.

    I do have some copies of old xerox copies of the Ben Gotoff scrapbook which you may be able to get a better copy from Tom Saal, that shows the car after it finished it's racing career in the top AAA ranks. In the scrapbook there are several photos and it is easy to identify as it has two filler caps on the tail where almost all cars only had one.

    The Bender is in the above lineup photo although quite fuzzy, to say the least. It started on the outside row, five cars back from the Stutz that we discussed. If you look behind the Stutz is Louis Chevrolet in the #7 Frontenac, then Gaston Chevrolet behind Louis in the #41 Frontenac, then Durant in the #1 Stutz is behind Gaston, then Kurt Hitke in his Roamer is behind Durant, then the dark car in the row behind Hitke is Tom Alley in the Bender.

    I could try and locate my poor copies of the Bender in the scrapbook and try and clean them up but you would do better to contact Tom Saal who was the caretaker of the scrapbook.

    The Bender was the highest finishers of the Millers in the first of many 500s.

    The funny deal is that Jerry Gebby, whom I admired and met with thought this car was a Mercer which put me on a quest to write my piece on Mercer racing cars. I did wait until he passed though as Jerry could be a bit rough around the edges when you questioned him. I did have a few arguments with him, including in person and we had some lively discussions. Funny thing I think it made him laugh in a sense that I was such an upstart to challenge him. We got along quite well and he pointed out where he was on the track taking pictures of the 1919 Indy 500. If you look in the lineup picture below, Jerry is the gentleman with the light colored cap holding his camera and his head is right below Rene Thomas in the #31 Ballot on the pole. Pretty cool that he was able to witness such great race cars and racing in general. Wish I could take a trip back. 19startr.jpg

    Alley Bender-1919-4.jpeg
     
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  17. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 768

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    So, what do you think, Jim, are there Mercer genes in this Pan-American/Bender? When I looked into this claim several years past, I identified one possible donor car, which I lost track of right around the time when Alley built the P-A...
     
  18. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,731

    jimdillon
    Member

    Michael, that is possible and in our investigations some 100 years hence, we may get a couple of the details wrong. I will try and dig out the original articles from the 80s on The Mercer Mystery? I believe Mercer had two sets of overhead cam cars, both designed by Eric Delling. I believe Mercer had 3 of the 1915 cars with differing bodywork in some respects from the 1916 cars. I believe one of the 1915 cars ran in competition after they were withdrawn from the 1915 Indy and I believe they used one of the 1915 bodies with one of the 1916 engines but it is possible that one car was available. The trouble is I have very few decent pictures for a decent comparison.

    Maybe when I dig out the old articles it may stimulate some brain cells.
     
  19. SteveLines
    Joined: Jun 15, 2007
    Posts: 119

    SteveLines
    Member
    from England

    Jim, Michael, thanks for your input.

    Tom Saal very kindly posted the scrapbook to me a few years ago so that I could scan all of the photos. A very kind gesture from him which I greatly appreciated. I now just have to find these scans! There were a number of the P-A being raced on into the 1920s after its front line career had ended (when the formula changed).

    There is a super photo of the P-A on the internet in its pre Bender guise, having crashed! The hood is off and the radiator dislodged so some great detail can be seen including the OHC Miller 4 cylinder. I once asked the IMS but they told me they didn't have any photos.

    There must be other pictures of it out there though! Maybe this thread will stir things up and something "new" may come of it.
     
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  20. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,731

    jimdillon
    Member

    Steve & Michael there are probably are pictures out there but they may be in private collections. Many of the old photos I know reside in private collections. Will keep looking as I am sure you will. The Pan American photo with the hood off I included in my article on Miller and I do not believe there is any question that the Pan American/Bender was an aluminum SOHC Miller 4 cylinder.

    Here is a picture of the Mercer Mystery articles when I belonged to the now defunct National Auto Racing Historical Society (in case you wonder what Tom Saal is referring to at NARHS). The 1915 Mercer and the Bender look a bit different in a number of respects, including right drive versus left drive. There was another Mercer 22-70 but I believe that car ended up in Barney Oldield's care or collection. Mercer Mys 1 001r.jpg Mercer Mys 2 001r.jpg Mercer Mys 3 001r.jpg
     
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  21. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 238

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    Thank you Jim & Steve for your comments. It is really fun to learn about Jerry Gebby, Fred Roe, & Fred Usher, and the detective work they were doing years ago.

    Here's a couple more shots from 1919. These are from the panoramic photo taken at the start of the race. 1919 Drivers a.jpg 1919 Drivers b.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
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  22. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 768

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    Thanks for the article, Jim, I hadn't read it so far.

    If Gebby thought it was one of the 1915 Mercers, then I guess his whole point is moot. I don't see Alley converting the car from RHD to LHD, especially since he was going to install an engine exhausting to the left, which was a major consideration those days. Also, he was aiming at the board tracks, for which some drivers prefered a RHD configuration, while LHD was prefered on dirt tracks. This is not all black on white science, but converting the steering was a major job, and circumstantial evidence appears to be not in favour of such an effort.

    My line of thinking was more of the 5-litre Mercer of 1914, which was LHD from the start. There would have to have been quite a lot of modification to turn it into the Pan-American of 1917, but the overall lines are quite similar. This car appears to have gone to the Schillo brothers of Chicago in 1915, and seems to have been Otto Henning's ride before he switched to the Ogren in 1916. Alley lived in Chicago at the time, and was of course involved in the Ogren saga, too, so the connections are there, but that's far from conclusive evidence, I know. Also, the Schillos raced many different Mercers over many years, as I think they were Mercer agents for the Chicago area, so there's additional source for confusion. It may be a red herring anyway.
     
  23. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 768

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    As for that Mercer mystery photo at the end of the second article, that's of course Tacoma Speedway in Washington, unmistakably. But the mystery doesn't end here: the number 11 on the car appears to make for an easy ID, as the very first race on that track was won by Grover Ruckstell in a #11 Mercer, but I have seen a picture of that car and it's one of the 1913 450 CID cars with updated bodywork. This here looks like a modified raceabout, such as were used in goodly numbers on local fairground tracks and the like. Joe Thomas drove one like that in the area, but he's not in either picture. Other locally owned Mercers were driven by Harry Stratton, Ernie Schneider and Hugh Swartz, so it's my guess that one of them is in one of the pictures. On the other hand, it could be local dignitaries, posing for the camera! Judging from the number on the print, it must be summer of 1919.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
  24. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 768

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    Now to Ben Gotoff, who raced as "Ben Giroix" only in 1917 (I don't know why, probably just showmanship). I have for him 65 appearances from 1915 to 1925, although he does appear to have stayed away from racing completely in 1919 and '20. His first race in my records is AAA, all the others are IMCA (presumably, in some cases) which was then 90 % entertainment and perhaps 10 % sport. The IMCA some of you remember from the sixties and seventies was the other way round, 10 % entertainment and 90 % sport, so it's sometimes necessary to remind people of how things were different 100 years ago.

    Gotoff has the distinction of finishing second in the very first IMCA main event, driving the Ohio "999", a sort-of-famous dirt track racer of the time, once driven by Bob Burman many years earlier, winning a few minor races. Else, Gotoff mostly raced a #8 National for Ernie Moross in 1915, dressed up as the 1912 Indy winner although I doubt it was - the original was already owned by the IMS, I think. This car ran sometimes in the under 300 CID class, although scrutineering at IMCA events was not very reliable, so it may have been bigger, actually, but not like the 500 CID car it purportedly was. It was once also described as an 8-cylinder in the previews, typically written by IMCA staff, so you know now how to treat this sort of info!

    In 1916 and '17, Gotoff (and "Giroix") drove a 450 CID Sunbeam pretty much exclusively, then a 300 CID Chalmers in 1918 and a 22HP Isotta-Fraschini later that year. When he returned in 1921, he was seen in a Maxwell ("ex-Oldfield") and at least once in a Frontenac (scoring one of his infrequent main event wins at Muskogee/OK in October), then from 1922 onwards in a "Miller Special" - whether that was always the Pan-American/Bender or at least sometimes also the ex-Cadwell "brother-of-submarine" is not exactly clear to me. Late in 1923, he raced a Duesenberg of unknown provenance at least once, and finished second at Hutchinson/KS in the Richards, a former Indy car based on a Hudson Super Six (this was the 1919 300 CID version, not the later Junior Specials with Miller-made chassis).

    Gotoff had at least one more race appearance in 1924 driving a Templar Special, and was mentioned in various previews during the following two years, once back in a Miller again (presumably one of the 3-litre straight 8 usually driven by Fred Horey and Sig Haugdahl), but whether he actually still raced I don't know. For the record, and with due acknowledgement to the fact that IMCA race results didn't mean much to anyone, I have him winning three main events, finishing second five times and third twice, nine more finishes outside the top three and about three dozen top three finishes in preliminary heat races, including seven wins.
     
  25. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 768

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    The Alley/Miller ("Pan-American Special", "Bender Special" etc.) was driven in 1921 extensively by Ray Claypool, and occasionally by Verne Soules. Claypool was one of the star drivers in the early IMCA days, however it is not exactly clear how one qualified for such a lofty position - in his case, after a couple of inconsequential 1917 appearances, he was pretty much the Johnny-on-the-spot when the organisation experienced a bit of a lean time in 1919. Other drivers, like Emory Collins for example, served as foot soldiers for more than ten years before they were allowed to become achievers - strange world, or maybe only the whimsical nature of the entertainment business?

    Claypool was from Kansas City/MO, although early reports also refer to Atlanta/GA or Texas. He pretty much had a choice of cars as long as he raced, and amongst them were the Wisconsin Special (soon to become Haugdahl's "record" car), the Simplex "Zip", a purportedly "ex-Milton" Duesenberg, the Alley/Miller, a Delage, a Premier and a Peugeot, to name just the most colourful. In 1925, he had a bad accident at Grand Forks/ND which slowed him down some, but he remained active and a winner until retirement in 1927.

    Soules was from Chicago, and raced IMCA between 1917 and '22. He was even more of a foot soldier than Gotoff, and raced what appears to have been Gotoff's hand-me-down National in 1917 and '18. He mostly raced a Darracq in 1919, and a Paige in 1920, before fading away in an assortment of cars of questionable reputation. In fact, even though his presence was reported at a couple of 1921 events, I am not sure whether he raced at all after September of 1920 - he may have served as a mechanic, mainly.
     
  26. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,731

    jimdillon
    Member

    Good stuff Michael. With as much as we know about all of the old great cars that ran during the era, imagine all the stuff that we will never know. I still appreciate though all of the effort by historians to fill in the blanks-it was a great era.

    Billy some of the old historians were quite passionate. I became pretty good friends with Fred Usher. He had a treasure trove of letters, pictures and what not. I imagine he had a cabinet full of files and wonder what ever became of it. I only corresponded with Fred Roe on a few cars but he was quite the Duesenberg guru with a bunch of info as well.
     
  27. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 238

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    I always enjoy your comments Michael, your research here paints a clearer picture of the era, and all the wonderful details.

    The equipment that Gotoff & Claypool had a chance to compete in is phenomenal!

    Steve, you have us all in suspense here …….

    ZZZ
     
  28. SteveLines
    Joined: Jun 15, 2007
    Posts: 119

    SteveLines
    Member
    from England

    I will try and find the pictures soon. They are on a remote hard drive somewhere, tucked away!
     
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  29. TorpedoKid
    Joined: Jun 23, 2019
    Posts: 1

    TorpedoKid

    The car was not using the Nickel Iron batteries on this day. It was using Gould batteries. Walter Baker used the Nickel Iron batteries in one of his production cars he used in a race in Michigan. Also, the 105 mph claim is surely a mistake which was widely spread at the time when the KPH value was confused for MPH. So far I have spent 10 years accumulating data and images related to this car. Here is my website.https://www.bakerelectrictorpedo.com I also wrote the only book on the subject and I am having them printed soon but for now you can find it on Amazon here.https://www.amazon.com/Baker-Electr...ctric+torpedo&qid=1561322779&s=gateway&sr=8-1 I am also on Netflix on the final episode of the white rabbit project because I consulted them on the show. -TG
     
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  30. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 6,824

    noboD
    Member

    Even 63mph would be cruising pretty good for an electric at that time.
     

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