Sep 23 2016

Helck Family Collection: December 1944 Esquire Article “Robertson Comes Through”

 In the December 1944 issue of Esquire magazine, Paul Gallico provided this profile of George Robertson and the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race. The article was accompanied by a reproduction of this classic Vanderbilt Cup Race painting by Peter Helck.

The article and photos are courtesy of The Helck Family Collection.


Howard Kroplick

George Robertson (left) and Peter Helck (right) in Old 16 heading to a Carmel, New York meet in 1947.

Reproductions of Peter Helck's "Robertson Comes Through" painting was part of the poster series made availabe by Esquire magazine in the 1940s.


Sep 25 2016 Ronald Sieber 2:20 PM

Great article and photos. Captured the excitement of the time.

BTW, are those holes in the ground in front of the grandstands supposed to be for servicing the cars? Maybe this is where we got the term “pit lane”...

Sep 25 2016 S. Berliner, III 5:31 PM

Horrors!  Rank heresy!  I have always loved Peter Helck’s paintings and visited him in Boston Corners but never questioned his accuracy.  It seems to me, now, though, without resorting to a microscope and calipers, that the painting shows the balloon tires he had on the car, not the thinner ones used back during the race.  Anyone?  Sam, III

Sep 25 2016 frank femenias 11:47 PM

Great article/photos. The foreign cars appeared invincible. Robertson’s 1:48 tire change was a remarkable feat by itself, no doubt carefully orchestrated, I wonder if they left the tools behind and just ripped out of there! Now fifty dollars to view the races from your parked car in 1908, what does that translate to today? And the spectator’s three hour+ train ride back home from Levittown to L.I.C. via LIRR. Priceless stuff guys. Thank you again for this portal back to the past.

Sep 26 2016 Rich 1:47 PM

That painting is as good as any SI cover!  It’s October, lots of mud, slippery surface and sliding cars (e.g. don’t try this at home commercials), might’ve just rained. 

And the crowd loves it.

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