Aug 18 2011

Connecticut Humanities Council Article:  “The Hardware City Could’ve Been the Motor City ”

The Connecticut Humanities Council has posted an article on the history of the Corbin Motor Vehicle Corporation which was based in Bristol, Connecticut. The company entered their Corbin Cannonball racer in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

Some highlights from the article: "The Hardware City Could've Been the Motor City "


In 1903 the Russell & Erwin Company and the American Hardware Corporation purchased the Bristol Motor Car Company of Bristol, Connecticut. With a capital of $200,000 the company formed the Corbin Motor Vehicle Corporation and started producing automobiles, joining the ranks of fledgling car makers across the United States. Corbin Motor’s initial product line included two air-cooled models priced around $2000 and in the company’s nine years of production built over 600 cars. Models included a roadster, a touring car, and a limousine that sat seven, and the company had sales floors in Manhattan and Boston.


In order to promote the Corbin car, the company entered them in competitions and races. In 1908, at the Dead Horse Hill Climb in Worcester, MA, the car came in second place in the mile-long uphill speed race, its top speed a recorded 51 miles per hour. In 1910, the company entered a Corbin “Cannonball” racer in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race on Long Island. The company hired racer Joe Matson, winner of the 1909 Massapequa Sweepstakes, to drive the race car. In the tenth lap, the car’s water pipe broke and had to leave the race, but came in 24th place out of the thirty cars entered.

Links to related posts on


The Corbin “Cannonball” and the Alco “Black Beast” to Meet on Saturday


Article “Black Beast Roars” & a Klingberg Vintage Motorcar Festival Highlight


Nassau Sheriff Frederick Gildersleeve (in rear seat) being driven to the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race in an air-cooled Corbin.

Amazing Photos from the Archives of the Nassau County Division of Museum Services

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