Jun 18 2009

Newsday- Alco In the Garage

Today's Newsday's "In the Garage" column by David Fluhrer features the Alco--6 Black Beast Racer. Highlights include:

1909 Alco-6 "Black Beast"

The owner: Howard Kroplick (2008)

What makes it interesting: "The car won two Vanderbilt Cup Races on Long Island -- 1909 and 1910 -- and raced in the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911," said Kroplick, a Vanderbilt Cup historian. "It is one of only 12 known existing cars of the 5,000 built by the American Locomotive Company of Providence, RI." In the two Vanderbilt competitions, regarded by many as the world's most prestigious auto races of the time, the Alco averaged more than 60 miles per hour, he said.

The "Black Beast" features a 100-horsepower, six-cylinder engine displacing more than 680 cubic inches. With a curb weight of 3,300 pounds, it can reach a maximum speed of 120 miles per hour. By comparison, the 1909 Model T Ford produced just 22 horsepower from a 176-cubic-inch engine, according to edmunds.com.

Where he found it: "I found the car for sale on the Internet by a classic car dealer located in Brussels, Belgium," he said. "It was shipped to the United States by a cargo freighter."

Condition: Kroplick said the car has just finished a restoration to its 1909 condition in a Redding, CT shop owned by an expert who had worked on the Alco when it was owned by the Harrah's Automobile Collection in the 1970s. An article he provided said that its rusted remains had been found in an Ohio barn in 1968. "I have over 150 photos of the car participating in 15 auto races," Kroplick added. The Alco recently won the "Most Outstanding Vintage Automobile, Pre-1910" award at the Greenwich (CT) Concours d'Elegance.

Value: "In 1909, it was built for approximately $6,000 (the equivalent of $146,000 in today's dollars)."

Tips for owners: "If you can find an Alco," Kroplick said, "buy it and have a lot of fun."

Personal comments: "I have written a book, Vanderbilt Cup Races of Long Island,' so the car was a natural," Kroplick said. He's published extensive information on the Alco, the Vanderbilt Cup Races and the LI Motor Parkway on his web site, www.vanderbiltcupraces.com.


Leave a Comment