Mar 15 2008

Eddie Rickenbacker and the Vanderbilt Cup Races

Was Eddie Rickenbacker ever a driver in the Vanderbilt Cup Races? My uncle, Clyde Virgil Latta, was a mechanic with Rickenbacker around 1915 and 1916. I don't know if Clyde was associated with Rickenbacker before those years or not. Clyde was an extremely short man, not more than 5' tall, probably made a very light-weight mechanic. I'd love to find a photo of him with Rickenbacker.

Your book looks very interesting.


Mar 15 2008 Howard Kroplick 12:32 PM


Great to hear from you.

Eddie Rickenbacker participated in one related American Elimination Trial and two later Vanderbilt Cup Races.

As shown in the above image from the book, when he was 16 years old, Rickenbacker was the driving mechanician in a Frayer-Miller car during the 1906 American Elimination Race held two weeks prior to the Vanderbilt Cup Race. The car completed only 1 of the 10 laps and did not qualify to race for the Cup.

In the 1915 and 1916 Vanderbilt Cup Races, Rickenbacker participated as a driver and later drove in the Indianapolis 500.

I have several images from the period of 1914 and 1916 of Eddie and his mechanicians in their racing cars. Based on various newspaper articles of the day, Rickenbacker used several different mechanicians in these races. However, it appears these images include Rickenbacker and Pete Henderson in the cars. I will keep searching for a photo of your uncle.

Jan 30 2020 Thom Dickerson 7:31 PM

I have several photos that my Dad had shot while he worked the race circuit as a ride along mechanic from 1911-15. He was one of the Santa Barbara Naval Reserve Volunteers joined in 1915 and entered WW1 as QM2 later advanced to ACMM. I have one the may have your uncle with Eddie Rickenbacker.

Feb 01 2020 S. Berliner, III 10:15 PM

Just ran across this old blog and new comment.  Dunno ‘bout Clye Latta but note the Maxwell name on Eddie’s shirt (as opposed to the cap): “Max Well”!  Also note the windscreen - it’s quite literally a screen!  Sam, III

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