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When Oldfield met Ford and the 999.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 2,952


  2. Oldfeild was one of my childhood heros-did a book report on him in 7th grade
  3. 999 was certainly the first race car I ever heard of, my dad would talk about Barny Oldfield when I was but a lad.
  4. Retro Jim
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 3,860

    Retro Jim

    A true Hero in the early racing world and many of the other things that Oldfield did in his life time ! Those early years in racing must have been one damn hairy ride ! Those guys had much bigger ones than I ever had when it came to racing . I did some really stupid things when I drag raced at the track and especially street racing back in the 1970's but those early racers just were more of a man than I would ever be ! They took their life and set them aside at the pits when they raced . Nothing scared them I don't think !
    I can even think what it was like racing on a dirt track in that 999 race car ! Must have been one really crazy ride !
    Hats off to a great man and Henry Ford !
    Great story !

    Retro Jim
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  5. silverdome
    Joined: Aug 23, 2007
    Posts: 452


    What a beast of a car. I'm with you guys on it must have been plenty scary for them to jump on that thing and just rip around. Especially with no driving experience.
  6. Also in the early part of the of the twentieth century, Oldfield teamed up with Lincoln Beachy, one the early aviators; putting on automobile/airplane races. Beachy flew a Curtis pusher, bi-plane.

    They performed for thousands, before Beachy, said to be the first pilot to accomplish a loop, plunged to his death in San Francisco Bay.
  7. JackieTreehorn
    Joined: Jan 12, 2011
    Posts: 21


    What a great piece of history. Thanks for the cool post Jive Bomber!
  8. Wildcycles
    Joined: Sep 17, 2007
    Posts: 335


    Wow! What a coincidence... I was just reading about this car last night in a book about the Ford Motor Company, titled "Wheels for the World" ... Cool post!
  9. Van Dutch
    Joined: Nov 17, 2008
    Posts: 248

    Van Dutch

    Grandpop was a mechanic in a car that raced against Oldfield... and lost badly.
    Jive Bomber on top of his game with this one. Thanks for sharing it.
  10. Many times it has been asked when did hotrods start. In general terms, this shows that hotrods were here before production of stock cars. Henry Ford was not making cars yet and he used the publicity of these racers to attract investors for his companies, and then, after two failures, went on to start the Ford Motor Co. and start manufacturing cars. The Model T came in 1908 and the assembly was perfected over a five year period from 1908 til 1913.
  11. thepolecat
    Joined: Mar 24, 2009
    Posts: 687

    1. S.F.C.C.

    Now that's a speedster!
  12. Lucky77
    Joined: Mar 27, 2006
    Posts: 2,419


    Snapped a couple pictures at the Henry Ford last year. I can't remember if this is the real deal or a replica? I think its the actual car, but either way here's some color pics of the 999.

    Attached Files:

  13. Levis Classic
    Joined: Oct 7, 2003
    Posts: 4,066

    Levis Classic

    It is the actual car in the Henry Ford - Greenfield Museum and she's a piece of work.
  14. Ironic, I just found this ad on another site, featuring Barney, at a race here in British Columbia. He must have been one of the first "touring professional" race drivers. Back then this would have been seriously in the "boonies".:D Here's the site, it's interesting history.

    Attached Files:

  15. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,077


    Barney Oldfield had balls of steel.I wouldn't race that without a roll cage,too many interesting ways to die.My favorite car of his was the Benz Blitzen,which was way ahead of its time.
  16. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,087


    16.2ltr, 70-80hp @ 1500rpm.:eek:
    (diecast model)
  17. Check out Barney was a local fellow here on Vancouver Island. We even have an Oldfield road in Central Saanich. Just another local boy done good:D
  18. rdzimm2001
    Joined: Nov 5, 2006
    Posts: 45


    Sorry Rex, But Barney was born in a log cabin on a farm in the small Northwest Ohio town of Wauseon, on Jan 29.1878. I have studied his life and times for the past 35+ years and I have amassed a huge collection of photographs, newpaper and magazine articles covering his career. Like others here have mentioned he was one of the first paid professional drivers in the U.S. if not the world. While his career may have never led him to winning the Indy 500, and some of the other big races during his time, he was most fortunate to have survived to the age of 68. He actually drove his last official race in 1918 in a fund raiser event ( to support the WWI war effort). That race was run in Independance , MO. with him driving the Harry Miller inspired/built " Golden Sub." against a local driver. Many, many, stories, be they fact or fiction, have been told about this man who brought automobile racing and exposure of the automobile to the masses.
  19. jroberts
    Joined: Oct 14, 2008
    Posts: 1,464


    Like others here, Barney Oldfield was a childhood hero of mine. I remember being enthralled by the story of him being the first to go a mile in a minute. I was amazed when I read how he was told that if he went that fast the wind pressure would crush him. I marveled at his courage to go that fast any way. I love the pictures on the blog. Thanks for bringing back some great memories.
  20. model.A.keith
    Joined: Mar 19, 2007
    Posts: 6,285


    The days when racing drivers really were 'men of steel'.......must have been something to see at full throttle


  21. Slim Pickens
    Joined: Dec 15, 2008
    Posts: 3,336

    Slim Pickens

    Love this stuff. Thanks. Slim





  22. moefuzz
    Joined: Jul 16, 2005
    Posts: 4,951


    Hey 29 Bowtie,

    Oilfield also came thru Calgary and possibly toured other northern destinations.

    I recall an article in the Calgary Herald or ? Albertan circa 19early regarding Oilfield racing at the old Shepard race track (S.E. Calgary Outskirts) right around the same time. I remember seeing a re-posting of the original write up in a "sports history" book of Calgary sports/history (possibly published in the 80's).

    Oilfield toured Canada and even the west,

    thanks for the pic/poster


  23. Bigcheese327
    Joined: Sep 16, 2001
    Posts: 6,504


    The car in the Henry Ford is probably assembled from bits of both 999 and The Arrow (the yellow car that goes unnamed in the blog entry). Very cool cars.

    I believe there's a running replica somewhere. Unfortunately, I missed a shot to see it at OCF (I may be thinking of Henry Ford's sweepstakes racer, though).

  24. The 999 at the museum was last driven by Dan Gurney for a promotional bit when a chunk flew off of it and it has been on static display ever since. It is very cool with a total loss oil system. That is right all the oil starts off in individual vessels with bleeders that drip the oil where it needs to go and then it just falls off the crank through the open bottom on to the ground, no oil pan at all. I spent a summer there as an intern a long time ago and got to polish the dirt off of it. fun stuff
  25. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,980

    from Australia

    The earliest i have Oldfield racing in Canada was at the Winnipeg Exhibition Grounds, MA. in 1907. Driving the 'Geen Dragon', he was involved in a couple of 2 mile races against Bruno Seibel in the 'Red Devil'. He returned in 1908 to Delormeir Park, Montreal for the I Annual Races of the Canadian Automobile Club. There he drove a Knox in a series of races against Walter Christie. He was back in 1909, this time in the Benz at Port Erie, Ontario, once again with Christie and Louis Chevrolet who later set a record for 50 Miles. As stated in the above link posted by 29bowtie, he was at the Minoru, BC 1 mile dirt oval in the newly acquired Christie and seven days later he was at Victoria Park, Calgary, Alberta with the same car. Interestingly the other competitors were Oldfield's employees. Two weeks later he was at Gridiron Speedway's 2 mile straightaway attempting new records for the mile and half mile distances and just 3 weeks later he was at Kirkfield Park, MA in a 2 mile Time Trial in the Christie, a car he claimed to be the fastest in the world over the same distance. He also drove a Cino against Lew Heinemann's Benz in a 5 Mile Match race. I believe this is the final time Oldfield raced in Canada although the photo below has him at the Lethbridge Fair in 1912 and i don't have any records for this event.

    More rarely seen photos and new information of Barney Oldfield here...

    Attached Files:

    • jjbo.jpg
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  26. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,980

    from Australia

    Another photo of Henry Ford and the '999' taken sometime in 1925 and posing with Ty Cobb? in the Prince Henry Benz.

    Attached Files:

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