Feb 13 2010

A Visit to the Amazing Simeone Foundation Museum

On Saturday John Cuocco and I had a memorable visit to the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum located in Philadelphia. Assembled by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Frederick Simeone over a span of 50 years, the Museum collection contains over 60 of the rarest and most significant racing sports cars ever built.


We were honored to receive a personal tour of the Pre-World War I racers by Dr. Frederick Simeone.


As can be expected, I immediately began to look for the racers related to the Vanderbilt Cup Races. When I saw this banner of Old 16 and Willie K at the 1908 race, I knew that I would not be disappointed.


This is the powerful 60-HP American Underslung known for its ability in long distance racing. "Underslung" refers to the chassis which was slung under the front axles, unique for its time. The huge 40-inch tires provided excellent clearance for road races.


February 15, 2010 Update: The #23 American racer driven by William Wallace participated in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race, finishing 26th.


An identical car to this 1912 National Speed Car was the only stock car to win the Indy 500 (1912). Nationals finished 7th and 12th in the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Race and an impressive 3rd, 4th and 13th in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race.


February 15, 2010 Update: The #11 National driven by William Mertz finished 7th during the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Race.


February 15, 2010 Update: The #11 National can be seen here during the race passing under the Jerusalem Avenue Motor Parkway Bridge. The Hempstead Plains grandstand and press box are in the distance in the background. Note the guard rails on both sides of the road- another pioneering feature of the Motor Parkway.


February 15, 2010 Update: Here is the #10 National which finished third during the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race, averaging 64.7 mph. The racer was on the Merrick Avenue Motor Parkway Bridge in East Meadow. The chimney of the Meadow Brook Lodge can be seen on the left.


The Mercers were considered the most versatile race cars of their era as evidenced by this spectacular unrestored 1913 Raceabout.


February 15, 2010 Update: Two Mercers participated in the Wheatley Sweepstakes which ran with the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Races, finishing 4th and 8th. In this photo, three Mercers were lined up prior to the 1910 race at their headquarters at August Porrier's Garage in Garden City. The #42 Mercer can be seen in the middle with driver E.H. Sherwood and mechanician H.M. Ozier. The car was owned by Washington Roebling, II , the nephew of one of the builders of the Brooklyn Bridge and a victim of the Titanic sinking. To the right was the #47 Mercer with driver W.T. Fry and mechanician C.M. Kitrell. The Mercer on the left was likely a backup racer.


February 23, 2010 Update: Here is a close-up of the front of the middle car identifying it as "Entrant No. 42". The only other #42 that ran in the Vanderbilt Cup Races and Sweepstakes was #42 Hudson of the 1909 Massapequa Sweepstakes which looked totally different.


Dr. Simeone and I spent some time together discussing his magnificent collection and his beautiful book "The Spirit of Competition". Dr. Simeone was quite familiar with the Alco Black Beast Racer and offered valuable insights and suggestions on how to present and describe the car in the future. Thank you Dr. Simeone for an unforgettable afternoon!

I strongly recommend a visit to this amazing museum when your visit Philadelphia. For more information and directions, follow this link.


Feb 23 2010 A. Ballard 2:31 PM

The picture captioned as Mercers at Wheatley Sweepstakes is very interesting, but the three cars in the picture are definitely NOT Mercers. Not sure what they are.

Feb 23 2010 Howard Kroplick 8:30 PM

Hi A:
Thanks for the feedback. I have posted a close-up of the car’s entrant banner of its radiator. It is definitely #42.

Checking out the axles, it appears that all three cars are from the same manufacturer.


Jul 25 2010 Walter McCarthy 11:23 PM

Hi Howard A. Ballard is correct none of the cars in the Wheatley Sweepstakes are Mercers.  All three are Abbott-Detroit automobiles!  Regards,  Walter McCarthy

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