Sep 17 2013

Mystery Foto #33 Update: Three Possible Locations for this Rare Photo of “Old 16”

The Homer Historical Society of Homer Illinois has submitted this Mystery Foto of  "Old 16", the winner of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

Ray Cunningham, president of the Homer Historical Society, writes: "We are not sure exactly when it was taken. Wilbur Tutor took the photo in the teens".

Answer to the Mystery Foto:

Assuming the photo was taken from 1913 to 1919, the most likely location was Joseph Sessions' garage in Bristol, Connecticut. If the photo was taken in 1913 or 1914, the location may be  in Locomobile executive A.L. Riker's  Connecticut farm. The artwork is still a mystery!

Update September 20, 2013: Jerry Helck (former owner of Old 16 and seen with George Robertson below) has forwarded this excellent comment:

About Old 16, after the race and a big celebration in Bridgeport (a school holiday, I believe) it was displayed at Locomobile Dealer showrooms all around the country. I think this may have lasted two years, maybe a bit more, then back to the factory until Riker took it to his home (farm?) in Manchester, CT. I've seen the wagon shed where (I was told) the car was kept until Sessions talked him out of it and took it home to Bristol and built a second garage just to house it and all the spare parts that could still be found at the factory.

I've seen that garage also, and that's definitely not it in the photo either

If Mr. Cunningham could confirm the existence of a Locomobile dealer in or near Homer in the 1908-1911period,  I'd regard that as a pretty strong clue.

Stay well,


Congrats to Art K., Greg Oreiro, Ariejan Bos and Frank Femenias for their excellent submissions.



Howard Kroplick

Art Bonus: Identify this painting.

Classic Images of Old 16

George Robertson and Jerry Helck in Old 16.


Sep 15 2013 Art K. 8:07 AM

How about either the A.L. Riker farm or the Joseph Sessions garage in CT.  Would the artwork be a early sketch by Peder Helck?

Sep 15 2013 Greg Oreiro 9:43 AM

I don’t know the painting, but as per your entry from the website, there’s two places the car could have been; either Riker’s farm, or in a garage on his Bristol, Connecticut depending on if the picture is pre, or post 1914.

  “Locomobile used “Old 16” extensively to promote its manufacturing prowess after the race, but as the novelty faded, it was placed in storage in a barn on Riker’s farm. Joseph Sessions, whose firm did much of the casting for the Locomobile engine, purchased the car in 1914. It was housed in a garage on his Bristol, Connecticut farm that was specially built to care for the car. There it was revered for 27 years and only driven by Sessions who occasionally took it to meets of the Veteran Motor Car Club.”

Sep 15 2013 Betsey Murphy 12:36 PM

Wouldn’t it be great if it was taken in “Locomobile Headquarters” - Maltby’s Garage in Jericho!!!  If it is - I will definitely need a copy for our collection!! Really neat! Can’t see the piece of art - looks like handcuffs to me!

Sep 15 2013 Ariejan Bos 12:46 PM

The Locomobile probably is seen here in a farm shed of Andrew L. Riker, where the car remained roughly between 1910 and 1920. My efforts to identify the poster on the wall were fruitless, so I hope somebody else comes up with the solution. All I can say is that the poster, advertising apparently a tire make, must have been designed in the early 1900’s and has some resemblance with the well-known Michelin poster by Pignouf.

Sep 16 2013 frank femenias 11:06 AM

Location could be Joe Sessions’ service garage for Old 16 on his farm in Bristol, CT, after he purchased the racer in 1914. The storage room looks more like a service garage than of a barn setup where the car was previously stored on Rikers farm after the races.    I’m clueless on the painting that looks like a lady riding a unicycle or running on top of an auto tire down a dirt roadway.

Sep 18 2013 Ted 6:35 PM

What about the bonus question? Not sure on that one are you guys? Sure would like to know for myself if possible

Sep 19 2013 frank femenias 11:41 PM

Ted: After some unsuccessful net searching, I think Ariejan has the best guess as it being a tire advertisement. I can see the ad now stating something about, “Run with the best tires”. I believe the white fence with the blurry writing in the center of the portrait may solve the mystery. This one is a toughie!

Sep 20 2013 Ted 12:34 AM

Thanks for that bit of info on that Howard. I couldn’t see anything you saw at all,not even when I blew it up. Now to mystery 34

Sep 21 2013 frank femenias 2:02 AM

Wow. Thank you for clarifying Mr. Helck. This truly remains a mystery. The caption in the photo I think may also help solve the mystery

Sep 22 2013 R Troy 11:17 PM

It’s neat to see it in such a different context.  We’re all used to old shots of it racing, new shots of it being shown off.  This is so different!

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