Jun 20 2016

Mystery Foto #25 Solved: The #31 Falcar Driven by Hughie Hughes at the 1910 Savannah Challenge Race

Chuck Rudy Jr. needed your help to solve this weekend's very challenging Mystery Foto.

Chuck Rudy Jr. (June 20, 2016):  Got a pic….not sure if it would work with your mystery photo as is was in Savannah.  I got the pic and was told it was Joe Dawson…..right away I said no way.  So I research the pic and poked around.  The finish tower is the distinctive bowed balusters of the Savannah S/F line tower……so I kept looking and it appears to be a Marmon but things didn’t pan out.  However I found there was a race called the Savannah Challenge which had three FALcars int eh race and one was number 31 with Hughie Hughes at the wheel.  My question…..is there anyway to verify that is true?  If not possible for a mystery photo due to it’s obscure smaller engine race do you know someone who could look and say yay or nay? Any help is appreciated…..I love the way the lads are soaked in dirt and the tires in oil…..or vice versa.  I believe it is the end of the race as I would doubt removal of the mitts and a mud towel would be used in a pit stop…..but I’ve been wrong before.

Answers to the Mystery Foto questions:

  • Where was this race held? Provide a rationale

Savannah, Georgia. Rationale: The distinctive officials' stand.

  • Identify the race, driver and mechanician

1910 Savannah Challenge Race held on November 11, 1910. Driver Hughie Hughes and mechanician W. Annesberger were driving the #31 Falcar, which finished third. 

The winner of the race was Joe Dawson driving the #36 Marmon. Washington Roebling II was second in a Mercer. Roebling was a manager for the Mercer company and the only son of Charles Roebling and nephew of Washington Roebling, builders of the Brooklyn Bridge. In 1912, at only the age of 30, Washington Roebling II lost his life while returning home on the R.M.S. Titanic

  • Link the Mystery Foto to the Vanderbilt Cup Races

Hughie Hughes was winner of the 1908 Meadow Brook Sweepstakes in the M35 Allen-Kingston. Hughes also drove in three Vanderbilt Cup Races: 1911-finished 13th in a Mercer, 1912-finished second in a Mercer and 1915-finished 9th in an Ono)

Joe Dawson, the winner of the 1910 Savannah Challenge Race, finished second in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race driving a Lozier.

Kudos to Ariejan Bos (see Bos' Bonus) for correctly identifying this Mystery Foto which has challenged racing historians for almost 60 years.



Howard Kroplick

Note the Falcar logo on the mechanician.

The unique officials' stand in Savannah.

The distinctive F-A-L-C-A-R logo which matches the logo on the shirts/sweaters of driver Hughie Hughes and mechanician W. Annesberger in the Mystery Foto.

Book "The Great Savannah Races" by Julian K. Quattlebaum, MD

The definitive book on Savannah racing described the 1910 Savannah Challenge Race won by Joe Dawson.

Our Mystery Foto appeared in Dr. Quattlebaum's book. However, the car was misidentifed as the #31 Abbott-Detroit driven by Montague Roberts in the 1911 Tiedeman Race held in Savannah.

Note the Falcar logo on the mechanician.

Bos' Bonus (Submitted by Ariejan Bos)

Ariejan Bos: I could find only one other photo of the same car: in the magazine MoToR, though wrongly captioned with the Tiedeman Trophy. Reports of the Savannah Trophy can be found in most magazines, but photos are scarce. I send also the report from Motor Age, showing the Falcar #35 at full speed.

Motor, December 1910: Start of the Savannah Trophy Race

Motor Age, November 17, 1910

Motor Age, November 17, 1910


Jun 20 2016 Howard Kroplick 10:15 PM

From Ariejan Bos (Netherlands)

The scene shows the Falcar #31 of the English driver Hugh ‘Hughie’ Hughes with mechanician Armsburger during the 1910 Savannah Challenge Trophy. This race for cars with piston displacements between 231 and 300 ci was held on November 11,1910 the day before the American Grand Prize, and was run on the same course. The race was run concurrently with the Tiedeman Trophy (for cars with piston displacements between 161 and 230 ci), but started an hour earlier due to the difference in racing distance. Hughes would finish on third place.

The race was won by Joe Dawson in a Marmon. The link with the Vanderbilt Cup is that Hughes would compete in the 1912 Vanderbilt Cup, in which he ended on 2nd place. He also started in the 1915 Vanderbilt Cup, finishing on 9th place.

Jun 20 2016 Chuck Rudy 10:53 PM

Thank you to Howard for making this a Mystery Foto and Ariejan for the verification and extended background information on what was a difficult foto.  It took the balcony of the S/F tower for me to start putting the puzzle together or I might still be scratching my head.

Jun 21 2016 frank femenias 8:18 PM

Difficult indeed. Was looking in all the wrong places for the balcony. Nice thorough info on racer and track, correcting the long mislabeled photo. Good mystery Chuck.

Jun 23 2016 Chuck Rudy 10:08 PM

Frank Femenias…..Thank you, sir, for the appreciation.  It was nice to be reassured the research was sound, however I’ve just ordered the book which was mentioned by Howard.  One can never have too much information….or photos to compare.

One other item which relates to the Vanderbilt Cup is the Savannah course was used the next year for the 1911 Vanderbilt Cup.  Which I guess could be called the first “second generation” Vanderbilt Cup as it was no where near Long Island.


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