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Thread: Old Race Tracks

  1. #421
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    In the 1909 Santa Monica Light Car Race there was a Buick # 9, entered by the Howard Auto Company.
    This was one of the first races for Charles Howard. Early on Charles Howard bet on the future of the automobile, buying a ticket to Detroit. There he finagled a meeting with Will Durant, the owner of Buick Automobiles and future founder of General Motors.Attachment 69914
    Durant sent him back home to establish dealerships and soon Howard, at age 28, was in charge of the Buick franchise for San Francisco. Howard sold 85 cars in just one year, at the astronomical price of $1,000 each. In 1909, Durant showed his gratitude by giving him control over all distributorships in the western United States. Almost 20 years later he bought a cheap racehorse as he saw it had potential.
    You can see that story in the movie "Seabiscuit."

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    p.s. Why were most US built cars RHD at this time in 1909 ?







    (Ken H)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 07-01-2021 at 06:45 AM.

  2. #422
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    I found this article regarding steering wheels on the right and then the left.
    Name:  LHD in the USA.JPG
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    (Ken H )

  3. #423
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    I found this collection of the early Santa Monica races at a library which I contacted and they were happy to have them put on TRS but they would be grateful if I could identify the photos a little better than "Two Cars in Motion" or "Two cars and Crowd " etc..
    So I will give it a go. They are not in order by year.

    First the two cars in motion is a photo taken at the February 1914 event.
    William Carlson and his mechanic are anxiously looking back from their Mason # 10 as they round the Deadman's Corner ahead of the fast approaching Mercedes # 12 of eventual race winner, Ralph De Palma.

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    I also found this clipping of how important these races were to the growth and establishment of Santa Monica back in the early 1900s.

    " The Santa Monica Road Races were held 1909-1919. They were instrumental in keeping Santa Monica from being annexed into Los Angeles.

    Put on by the city, auto dealers, and real estate developers, they were used as a promotion to bring people to Santa Monica from across the country. The course (which can be run today) ran from Ocean & Montana to Wilshire Boulevard, uphill to San Vicente and back to Ocean. Barney Oldfield, Ralph DePalma, Eddie Pullen, and Terrible Teddy Tetzlaff competed in what were the biggest race meets in the country at that time."




    (Ken H..to be continued )
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 07-11-2021 at 06:26 AM.

  4. #424
    World Champion Roger Dowding's Avatar
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    " Ken H..to be continued " We hope so,
    what a good find..
    my latest picture is much newer, but still old, have a look at the Northern Sports Car Club thread.

    Cheers Ken H.

    Roger

  5. #425
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    Thanks Roger,
    Motoring and racing history is fun and I enjoy plunking away at it even it is regarding a location / event far from Aotearoa.

    The early Santa Monica races were photographed by Bartlett, Adelbert, 1887-1966 (photographer)
    The copyright holder of these items has granted permission to make them publicly available on the web.

    This next photo was titled; "Is this the Start or the Finish ?"

    This a scene from the grandstand by the Start / Finish line on October 14, 1911.
    It shows the first event with Bert Dingley being flagged away at 8.30 am in his Pope-Hartford # 2.
    The cars were set off in 30 second intervals for as you can see due to the smoke and dust etc. !
    The next car is the # 5 National driven by Charles Merz.

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    Note the large crowd in the stands and also notice how well the women that were present, were dressed.
    The Los Angeles Times reported on the 1911 event;
    " The crowds stretched around the entire eight mile course and down the sides of Ocean Front Boulevard as far as the eye could see."



    (Ken H..)

  6. #426
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    February 26 1914. Vanderbilt Cup Race. Santa Monica.

    Starting in front of the large crowd.
    Gil Anderson in his Stutz # 3 ( This was the first Stutz ever built )
    in front of Fiat # 9 driven by Frank Verbeck.

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    ( Ken H ..)

  7. #427
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    1914 February 26th.
    As seen in my earlier post. the LHD Mason # 10 of William Carlson was still leading the RHD Mercedes #12 of Ralph DePalma further around the course.
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    But at the end the Mercedes had come through to win easily as shown in this scene from a Mercedes brochure.
    " Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday "

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    For the first time on TRS. A short clip of Charlie Chaplin at the 1914 Santa Monica races.



    Some slapping shown that would not be tolerated in any filming today !


    (Ken H..)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 07-14-2021 at 06:37 AM.

  8. #428
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    More photo identification.
    "Two Cars and Crowd."
    Is actually Harry Grant in his Isotta # 1 waiting to start alongside the # 2 Mercer of Spencer Wishart before the 1914 event.

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    The number 12 Mercedes was a two year old car in 1914 but with the skillful driving of Ralph DePalma made it a winner here at Santa Monica and a year later the same car and driver won the 1915 Indianapolis 500.
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    Name:  # 12 Mercedes. Feb. 1914.jpg
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    It was surprising to find that a Mercedes powered Mercedes would not win a Grand Prix event in the US for 100 years when Lewis Hamilton won the 2014 US Grand Prix at Austin, Texas.




    ( Ken H)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 07-21-2021 at 02:13 PM.

  9. #429
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    Another fast Mercedes at that time was known as the "Blitzen Benz" driven in 1911 by Bob Burman who sadly lost his life at the at the 1916 Corona race as told in the Post # 395.
    A good description of the car and it's history can be found in this article.

    http://www.autospeed.com/cms/article...zenBenz&A=2745


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    (Ken H...)

  10. #430
    I purchased the Klemantski book on Blitzen Benzes, interesting how much muddied "history" there is. I didn't realize there was more than one. Muddied like NZ history is becoming

  11. #431
    While Benz and Mercedes were close at that time, they weren't to merge until 1926.

  12. #432
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    When one sees how little crowd control there was at early Vanderbilt races, it is surprising there were not more incidents like the one that happened at Santa Monica in November 1916 that hastened the end of road racing at this site.

    Vanderbilt road racing and lack of crowd control, 1904
    https://www.loc.gov/item/00564552


    This peaceful present day photo of the place in Santa Monica where in 1916 a Marmon racer driven by Lewis Jackson, had steering failure on this slight curve and jumped the curb across about where that white vehicle is parked.
    Although there were 4 fatalities and others injured and it happened on the 13th lap, the race carried on and finished as scheduled on the 48th lap !

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    A graphic of when things go horribly wrong.

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    (Ken H)
    Last edited by khyndart in CA; 07-26-2021 at 06:44 AM.

  13. #433
    Plenty of Old Race Tracks in this new NZ book on Road Racing Circuits, 157 of them actually. http://www.theroaringseason.com/show...-on-the-market

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