Mar 11 2020

Kleiner’s Korner: Another Poole Connection to the Vanderbilt Cup Races

As shown in the Helck Family Collection of letters to Al Poole from his brother Alex, we can establish that Alex also counted Joe Tracy as a friend and was deeply involved with the design and manufacture of automobiles.  Alex worked in England for various auto manufacturers and in many letters suggested how to improve the cars in which Al drove or acted as mechanician.  The letters shown here show Alex's personal interest in the 1906 Locomobile and the Vanderbilt's 1904 90 H.P. Mercedes Racer.

Art Kleiner

In this 1906 letter, Alex agrees with Joe Tracy that it would be good for him to come to America for the Vanderbilt Cup Race to ensure "things go okay".   Later in the letter he asks Al how much such a trip would cost noting he has 60 pounds saved. 

Al Poole was Tracy's mechanician in the 1905 American Elimination Trial, 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race, 1906 American Elimination Trial and the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race.  Tracy would also hand the wheel over to Poole in other races. 

Alex attended many automobile shows in London and Paris and often commented to Al in his letters about the cars that he saw.  Here he notes that William K. Vanderbilt, Jr.'s 90 H.P. Mercedes Racing machine he witnessed at the 1904 Paris Auto Exposition, a show that "was very decent, although there was nothing new much".

At this time Al was staying at the Roache's Hotel in NY.  Not sure a good name for a hotel!

1904 Mercedes Racer

Often times Alex would relay his experiences acting as chauffeur and mechanic for various gentlemen of London.  In one letter he describes his experience driving a Mr. Alexander Meaden across the continent and receiving a testimonial (e.g., a recommendation) for future employment.  And that he has "proved himself absolutely sober, drinking, I think nothing but water".

Alex many times ended his letters with this salutation.


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