Jul 11 2009

The Twin Locomobile Vanderbilt Cup Racers

For the 1906 American Elimination Trial and the Vanderbilt Cup Race, Locomobile built two identical cars, one to race and the other, back-up. This photo is the only known evidence of the two cars together preparing for the American Elimination Trial. Note that both cars have the #12 on their radiators.

The #12 Locomobile won the American Elimination Race and finished 10th in the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race as the #9 car.


For the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race, both cars were modified and were entered in the race as the #1 Locomobile driven by Jim (Joe) Florida and the #16 Locomobile driven by George Robertson, who won the race.

On October 24, 1908, the 100th anniversary of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race, writer Leigh Dorrington and I visited Jerry Helck, the last private owner of Old 16, to discuss the two Locomobile Vanderbilt Cup Racers. This adventure and the story of the two racers are described in Volume 49, Issue #1 issue of Automobile Quarterly .

The excellent article "The 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Twins" provides photos from the archives of Peter Helck and my collection. Leigh Dorrington's footnotes include:

Thanks as well to Jerry Helck, for inviting the author into his home and sharing his personal recollections of nearly a lifeline spent with Old 16 and Peter Helck's archives. And to Howard Kroplick, whose enthusiasm for the subject and voluminous image library are unequalled. ... More of Kroplick's imagery can be found at VanderbiltCupRaces.com.


Leave a Comment