Nov 29 2014

Memories of the Long Island Old Car Club and the 80th Anniversary of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race

Walter Gosden provides this first post of a series on the Long Island Old Car Club and its celebration of the 80th Anniversary of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race. These articles are supplemented with additional photos from Walter McCarthy.


Howard Kroplick

The 80th Anniversary of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race

By Walt Gosden

The Long Island Old Car Club was started in 1947. It was an independent old car club with no affiliation to any national (AACA,HCCA,VMCCA) antique car organization. To belong you had to own a car made prior to 1923,this eventually was revised to owning a car made before 1930. Eventually at the urging of Henry Austin Clark, Jr., who was a LIOCC member, the LIOCC became a chapter of the N.Y. Region of the VMCCA (Austin was the Director of the NY Region VMCCA ) for insurance for liability.

The LIOCC had two primary old car activities over the decades - "A run for the sea" which saw 1915 and earlier cars gather in mid Nassau County and drive east 70 to 100 miles to Shelter Island, where they would stay over night in a hotel. The second activity would be to celebrate the anniversary of the 1904-1910 Vanderbilt Cup Races on their 40th, 45th, 50th etc. years.

These were a one day 'hub' tour. The start and finish was usually at the Main  Maid Inn in Jericho, NY. Participants would gather there and go on a 30-40 mile drive on a course that had been determined by the committee and return to the Main Maid Inn for mid afternoon dinner.

The last of these celebrations was in 1988 to signify the 80th Anniversary of the 1908 race. The cut off date for cars to participate was 1942 , and the newest car there was a 1938 Packard convertible. Co chairmen were : Walt Gosden who handled the registration and dinner arrangements at the Main Maid Inn., Walter McCarthy who planned the tour route, and Henry Austin Clark Jr. who put together a souvenir "goodie bag" that each registered car received.

There were over 80 cars on the tour and over 110 people at the dinner - we essentially took over the whole Main Maid Inn. Locals who came in to dine had to do so in the bar area as all the tables in the dining area were taken by "old car types" as Austin Clark liked to refer to antique car owners.

We always tried to hold the anniversary runs on a date in October that would be as close as possible to the date of the original race. October 23, 1988 would be the last time the 1908 "Old 16" Locomobile race car would be on Long Island. It was brought to the tour by Jerry Helck of New Jersey. Photo left to right: Jerry Helck and Walt Gosden.

Walter McCarthy and Old 16.

Participants were urged to dress in the style of clothes of the era of the car they were riding in. Many people did this and it really added to the spirit of the event. Photo left to right: Tim Helck, son of Jerry Helck, and Crawford Robertson, son of George Robertson.



Nov 30 2014 frank femenias 1:22 AM

Incredible event and cars! It’s the closest to travelling back than using a time machine. When may I bring the camera to see Old 8 and Old 16 side-by-side leading the pack to Ronkonkoma?

Dec 04 2014 Tom 7:21 PM

That must have been quite a day!  Hard to believe it’s 26 years ago already!

Leave a Comment