Dec 13 2016

Mystery Foto#50 Solved:The 1911 FIAT S74 Driven by Barney Oldfield in the May 1912 Santa Monica Race


The Heck Family Collection challenged you again to identify this weekend's Mystery Foto.

Mystery Foto questions:

  • Identify the make and year of the racer

1911 FIAT S74

  • Why was this racer historically significant?

This racer won the 1911 American Grand Prize as the #48 FIAT driven by David Bruce-Brown in Savannah, Georgia.

As seen in the Mystery Foto, it raced as the #22 Maier Select Kid in the 303-mile Dick Ferris Trophy Race held on the 8.4-mile Santa Monica road course on May 4, 1912. It was driven  to a seventh place finish (last place) by Barney Oldfield. The race car was reportedly the first California racer to billboard a product other than an auto manufacturer on its hood.

  • Who was the owner of the racer when the photo was taken?

Edward Maier, owner of the Maier Brewery in Los Angeles and a California baseball team the Vernon Tigers. Maier purchased the racer in the spring of 1912 from attorney Eugene E. Hewlett, the FIAT agent.

  • What was Maier Select?

A beer brewed at the Maier Brewery. The Maier Select Kid was the nickname for the race car.

  • Identify at least one person in the photo

Barney Oldfield - the driver of the Maier Select Kid for the May 1912 race. Oldfield had been away from racing for one year due to his suspension by the AAA for his match race versus boxer Jack Johnson. This was Oldfield's initial appearance on the Santa Monica course.

  • Link this racer to the Vanderbilt Cup Races

The racer had previously been driven to victory in the 1911 American Grand Prize by David Bruce-Brown, who participated in the 1910 and 1911 Vanderbilt Cup Races. Barney Oldfield participated in the 1914 and 1915 Vanderbilt Cup Races.

Congrats to the following who correctly identified the Mystery Foto as the FIAT driven by Barney Oldfield in Santa Monica: Chuck Rudy, Guillermo, Dick Gorman, Art Kleiner, Steve Lucas, Greg O., Rick R, and Ariejan Bos.

Kudos and thanks to Chuck Rudy and Art Kleiner for submitting additional photos and documentation.

Enjoy,

Howard Kroplick


1911 American Grand Prize, Savannah , Georgia

David Bruce-Brown winning the race in the #48 FIAT S74.


The FIAT Mailer Select Kid

Courtesy of Barney Oldfield by William F. Nolan

Courtesy of Barney Oldfield by William F. Nolan

"Oldfield pulled a wool cap over his head, donned a cloth face mask (to combat dusk) and prepared to resume his career."

Submitted by Art Kleiner

Submitted by Chuck Rudy, Jr.:  Chuck: "One in my wheel house.  Here’s a photo from May 4, 1912 at Santa Monica.  Barney appears to have found a bigger hammer." 

Courtesy of Harold Osmer Publishing. Submitted by Art Kleiner.

The New York Times, March 31, 1912. Submitted by Art Kleiner.

The New York Times, April 27, 1912. Submitted by Art Kleiner

Courtesy of Auto Racing Comes of Age by Robert Dick. Submitted by Art Kleiner.

Courtesy of California Baseball by Chris Goode- Submitted by Art Kleiner


This Mack Sennett seven-minute1912 film The Speed Demon was shot on the Santa Monica course. Clips of the actual Santa Monica road race can be seen at the 2:49 to 3:46, 4:10 to  4:284:56 to 5:05,and  5:33 to 5:38 marks.  Check out the great crowd scene at 6:03 to 6:14.


The Maier Brewing Company and Maier Select Beer

KCET: Lost LA: From Eastside Lager to Maier's Select Malt Tonic: A Brief History of L.A. Beer

Submitted by Art Kleiner



Comments

Dec 08 2016 Chuck Rudy 11:05 PM

The car is the 900 c.i. F-I-A-T which showed up, I believe, in 1911.  The car shown was the first which had a non automotive sponsor on the bonnet.  The racer was owned by, I believe, the LA based Maier Brewery who was advertising their “Select Kid” brew.

This photo may be May 4, 1912 of Barney Oldfield in the Santa Monica AGP…....which was run the same weekend as the Vanderbilt Cup on the same course.  Barney must have had some difficulty that weekend as I’ve a photo of him in the pits appearing to survey a mechanical problem.

Anyway, glad to see a beer question.  It gave me a chance.

Chuck

http://www.hopublishing.com/real-road-racing.html

Dec 09 2016 Guillermo 6:29 PM

Fiat S74 14.3 lts. with Barney Oldfield. Maier was a Brewery in Los Angeles and Maier Select was it`s featured brew. “Select Kid” was the name of the car and the first that was billboarded without a car brand in South California.

Dec 10 2016 Dick Gorman 9:37 AM

Mystery Foto #50…The car in the photo is a 1912 FIAT. This car was historically significant because painting the Maier Select Kid logo on the hood marked the first time something other than an auto maker was billboarded on a California race car.
The owner at the time was, I believe, Maier Brewery. Maier Select was a beer. I think we see Barney Oldfield in the driver’s seat. This car ran in the Vanderbilt Cup race in Santa Monica in 1914. What I get a real kick out of on these early race cars is their engine size. This FIAT had 4 cylinders of 3.5 liters each giving us a massive 14 liters.

Dec 10 2016 Art Kleiner 5:12 PM

Identify the make and year of the racer: 1912 Fiat

Why was this racer historically significant?  First racer to have non-car advertising

Who was the owner of the racer when the photo was taken? Edward Maier, owner of Maier Brewery Comany and baseball team the Vernon Tigers

What was Maier Select?  Beer

Identify at least one person in the photo: Barney Oldfield

Link this racer to the Vanderbilt Cup Races: Competed against some cars that ran and possibly was itself in Santa Monica Vanderbilt Cup Races

Dec 10 2016 Steve Lucas 10:39 PM

I think that’s a FIAT S74, possibly built in 1910. Not sure of the significance but it could be the same car that raced in the 1912 VCR as car #29 driven by Teddy Tetzlaff and car #9 in the 1914 VCR driven by Frank Verbeck. The owner of the car was Eddie Maier, a Los Angeles businessman and I believe the date of the photo is 1914. Maier also owned a brewery and “Maier Select” was one of his products. I think the driver in the photo is Barney Oldfield who competed in both the 1914 and 1915 Vanderbilt Cup races.

Dec 11 2016 Greg O. 10:08 PM

My feeble, incomplete guesses!
-Identify the make and year of the racer
1911 FIAT S74
-Why was this racer historically significant?
Raced in Santa Monica. “Select Kid” on the hood was the first time something other than an auto maker name billboarded a Southern California race car
-Who was the owner of the racer when the photo was taken?
Unsure.
-What was Maier Select?
LA-based Maier Brewery whose Maier Select was its featured brew
-Identify at least one person in the photo
Barney Oldfield driving. You can see his cigar coming through his mask!
-Link this racer to the Vanderbilt Cup Races
I think this raced in the 1914 Santa Monica Vanderbilt Cup Race

Dec 11 2016 S. Berliner, III 11:25 PM

Sure looks like a 1908 FIAT S79, a baby brother to the 1908 FIAT SB4 “Mephistoles” land speed record car.  The S79 set a record of 290 km/h (181ΒΌ mph) on LI in 1912 (I find this rather hard to believe).  Beyond that, without doing some homework, deponent sayeth not.  Sam, III

Dec 12 2016 Rick R 2:25 PM

This is a 1911 S-74 FIAT that was owned by Ed Maier of the Maier Brewery in Los Angeles.  He owned many of the cars that Barney Oldfield raced. Maier Select is the name of a Beer be brewed.  It’s significance is obvious as being an overhead cam monster.

Dec 12 2016 Ariejan Bos 6:47 PM

What seems certain is that the racer is a Fiat S74 with Barney Oldfield at the wheel. The location wouId be Santa Monica, but I found two dates, 1911 and 1914. 1912 seems to make more sense, because Oldfield started in that race on a Fiat S74 and I have a picture of him wearing a Select Kid Maier overall during the race, but the text on the car seems to be absent. So I’m not sure.
The Fiat S74 was first used during the American Grand Prize of 1911, but was officially designed for the French Grand Prix of 1911, which never took place.

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