Jan 15 2013

Walter McCarthy Provides the Answers to His Mystery Photo Challenge

Last week, VanderbiltCupRaces.com contributer Walter McCarthy provided this challenge to all viewers to identify this photo.

The Challenge: Provide some or all of the following information:

-What is going on in the photo?

-What is the year and make of the car?

-Who is in the car?

-Bonus: Where was the photo taken and its year?

The answers are below.


Howard Kroplick

Update 1/15/2013:


Walter McCarthy: All the correct information in the picture is a s follows:

This was a teeter-totter contest held at the 1939 VMCCA Raceland Meet in Framingham, Massachusetts. The teeter contest was won by 21-year old Austin Clark, Jr. with 1910 Ford touring car. Clark won the contest since he was able to go back and forth between the low and reverse pedal of the Ford using both feetmaking it a lot easier than other cars.

The copy accompanying the photo read:

"The teeter contest was then gotten underway, and was carried off in decisive fashion by Austin Clark in a 1910 Ford who achieved perfect balance by riding his low and reverse pedals alternately.  Smith H. Oliver’s first trial was successful through his admirable stop in the exact center of the platform, but in a second attempt he found it impossible to slip his Stutz’s low and reverse gears as readily as did the planetary Model T.  He was awarded second place.

This event taught many members the planetary low speed bands must grip tightly if steep grades are to be climbed, but this was cheerfully charged to experience for there were no consolation prizes. The design of the teeter was agreed to be a masterful calculation, since a perfect balance was possible, but not crazy enough to create ties and run-offs."

Congrats to Ted, Phil, Hugh, Roger and Walt for solving parts of the mystery!!


Jan 11 2013 Ted 3:17 PM

I’ll take a wild guess as what’s going on,he’s trying to balance the vehicle,as to what year and make it is,I can’t, I can say it’s a pickup truck and as to where it is and what year, by looking at the picture it does’nt look like the early 1900s, more like 1950s on a field somewhere,have no idea who driving it, that’s the best I can do, How’d I do? Howard, I’ll check back tonite or some time tomorrow. It could even be early 60s by the clothes they’re wearing.

Jan 12 2013 Phil 1:27 AM

I can answer the What’s going on question. The car is being driven onto a Teeter Totter, and the idea is to get the car in the right spot to balance the Teeter Totter.


Jan 12 2013 Ted 4:57 PM

We both have the same idea,I just did;nt know the name Teeter Totter. Am I right on that answer? Still don’t know about the other questions. Any hints on this one Howard? I’ll be back

Jan 13 2013 hugh nutting 2:54 PM

The Teeter Totter game was popular at club events in the 1950s and 60s. The idea was to balance you car in the shortest amount of time to win.  We still had one in the early 1970s at the Boulder Flatirons Old Car Club vs the Longmont Antique Car Club meets in Colorado.  I am guessing the car here is a 1911 Ford T or and early 1912 before they added fore doors to the touring cars.

Jan 13 2013 Roger A. Price 7:26 PM

The car looks like an early Ford T.  Looking at the body, it looks like an ‘09 Touring.
I agree that it’s a teeter totter, trying to balance the car.  I think that the photo was taken in the early ‘60s or late ‘50s.  I can’t figure out who the driver was.

Roger Price

Jan 14 2013 Walt Gosden 8:02 PM

O.K. folks you got the device named correctly, it is a teeter totter, and yes, the car is a real early Ford T circa 1909 (later brass radiator model T’s had front doors) . The driver is Henry Austin Clark Jr. , and I believe the location is Massachusetts and it is pre WWII, say 1939.

Jan 17 2013 Ted 6:50 PM

Thanks for taking my answer as correct,even though I did’nt know what it was.

Jan 20 2013 Tom Cotter 12:34 PM

I once did that at the BMW Driving Center in Greenville, South Carolina.  Believe it or not, I was able to fine-tune, and get the teeter-totter into an exactly level position by using the electric fore-aft seat adjuster for my seat!

Jul 16 2014 Roberto M Rodriguez 12:00 PM


Do you have a record of who was there with a Simplex - Crane with a Victoria top? Just saw an amazing movie of the 39 Meet and the Simplex - Crane sure looks like the one in the Museum. Also shows up at the 1940 Meet.

(Seal Cove Auto Museum)

Leave a Comment