Jan 08 2013

Mechanician Joe Marx in the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race

Jack T: "I was going through some of my Dad's (age 87) pictures and found two photos of the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race. It appears my great-grandfather, Joe Marx, was a mechanic for the #7 car driven by William Luttgen. Do you have any additional photos and information on my great-grandfather?"

Jack, your great-grandfather was the mechanician for the #7 Mercedes driven by William Luttgen in the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race. Pharmacuetical magnate George McKesson purchased  the Mercedes racer just ten days before the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race. Brown immediately commissioned photographers Spooner & Wells to document his car before and during the race.  Many of these photos are posted below.


Howard Kroplick


Practicing Prior to the Race

Driver William Luttgen (left) and Mechanician Joe Marx (right)

On a practice run at the intersection of Jericho Turnpike and Willis Avenue in Mineola. Krug's Hotel can be seen on the north-west corner.

1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race

On the Hairpin Turn on Wheatley Road in Old Westbury.

Joe Marx was not smiling in this photo.

The great artist Peter Helck based this sketch on the above photo.

Back at Krug's Corner during the race. Note the chain-link fence holding back the crowd.

Joe Marx leaning during the turn.

Two photos of Luttgen and Marx on the Vanderbilt Cup Race course.

The #7 Mercedes passing the Westbury grandstand and press box. The photographer on the left documented the race in the following film. Luttgen and Marx can be seen at the 19 second and 46 second marks of the film.


Jan 12 2013 Howard Kroplick 11:33 AM

From Jack T:

“Thanks so much for the information and pictures!”

Feb 03 2013 Robert Luttgen 9:43 PM

Jack T.,

My grandfather was William Luttgen, the driver of the number 7 Mercedes.  I suspect that our grandfathers worked together in New York City on the Upper East Side, at a machine shop that was at some point called the Mercedes Repair Company.

William Luttgen had been a mechanic for Mercedes in Germany, serving as mechanician in several early races for the driver Foxhall Keene, who encouraged him to immigrate to America.  Long story, but his Mercedes experience brought the machine shop he found work at enough business that William was able to get a partnership stake in 1905.  Eventually he bought out his partners becoming sole owner.  I believe that the shop name had been changed to the Mercedes Repair Company by 1906, but I don’t really have all the history.

The family has a photo of the front of the shop with my grandfather sitting in a racing Mercedes on the sidewalk.  Most of the shop employees are in the photo if I am correct.  It would be interesting to see if your grandfather is in the picture, but I am not sure which of my cousins has the photo. 

If I can dig up any old photos of the shop I will try to pass them along through Howard.

Robert Luttgen

Apr 25 2019 Peter Grillo 11:24 AM

Do you know where I can purchase a a high resolution print/photo of the attached William Luttgen 1906 Vanderbilt Cup photo? This is a great photo.
  - Peter
Howard Kroplick
I will send you my best resolution that I have of this image. In exchange, please take out a $25 membership in the Roslyn Landmark Society. Enjoy,



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