Jun 29 2012

A New Book by Joel E. Finn: The 1912 Milwaukee Races: Vanderbilt Cup and Grand Prize

Just in time for its 100th anniversary, renowed automotive historian Joel E. Finn has written a wonderful book on the 1912 Vanderbilt Cup Race and 1912 Grand Prix held in Milwaukee.

The book includes 199 amazing images, many never published before. In the Introduction, Joel Finn notes;

"Most of the images and illustrations used in this book were contained in the albums I acquired years ago and saved for this purpose. From previous experience with writing automotive racing histories, I am aware that no matter how much material is on hand, more is always needed to enrich the scenario of the story. Fortunately for this project, a number of fellow racing historians enthusiastically contributed advice and material that enhanced this work.  Among those who helped significantly were George Spruce, Howard Kroplick, John Haydon, Bill Evans and Gary Doyle."

If you are a fan of road racing and the Vanderbilt Cup Races, I strongly recommend purchasing Joe's new treasure.


Howard Kroplick

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Racemaker Press
The 1912 Milwaukee Races:
Vanderbilt Cup and Grand Prize

By Joel E. Finn

213 pages, 199 images and result charts.
Hardcover, large format: 9 x 12 inches
2012 —(Price not yet set)
ISBN 978-0-9647769-6-8

The Vanderbilt Cup and Grand Prize races that took place at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in October 1912, came at a pivotal moment for racing on American public roads. Triumph and tragedy marked the races. Bad weather wreaked havoc with the schedule and added huge expense to the event. The races proved to be a difficult undertaking from the beginning and it took enormous perseverance on the part of the organizers and the city of Milwaukee to pull it off.

The Vanderbilt Cup and Grand Prize races were the largest sporting events in the country by 1912. The Milwaukee promoters believed that spectators anxious to see the daring stars and powerful cars in action would generate a profit and would also enhance the prestige of the city. The races attracted an enormous crowd, but the organizers, nevertheless, incurred a large financial loss.

All the American driving stars came to Milwaukee to compete, driving the best and fastest competition cars of the time. The races were hard-fought and thrilling from start to finish. Unfortunately, the organizers discovered the lesson that plagued those who sponsored racing on public roads in the United States: making a profit was very difficult. In Milwaukee, that problem was exacerbated by a weather disaster that forced a two-week delay in the races and greatly increased the expenses of the event.

Had it not been for bad luck, the Milwaukee races surely would have taken their place in the history of the sport as a wildly successful event and would almost certainly have been repeated. As it was, there would be no second chance for road racing in Milwaukee.

Automotive books are sold by the distributor.
Racemaker Press
617-723-6533 U.S.A.

Click here for contact information.

1912 Vanderbilt Cup Race Images from the Howard Kroplick Collection


Jul 01 2012 Jean-Yves Lassaux 4:59 AM

Hi Howard,
Thanks for this very good news. Clearly a book for my bookcase!
About the second picture (car #15), it could be the Falcar driven by Harry Hastings who finished second of the “Pabst Blue Ribbon Trophy”, held on October 5, 1912 (non-stock chassis, 231-300 c.i.). This picture was probably taken a few days before, during practice, because of rainy weather…

Jul 02 2012 E. Dean Butler 12:35 PM

I cannot find the Joel Finn 1912 Milwaukee book on the Racemaker Press web site! Are they really the publisher?

Jul 03 2012 Howard Kroplick 12:57 PM


The publisher is Garnet Hill Publishing Company and distributed by Racemaker Press:


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