Nov 10 2011

May 7, 1911 The World :  Harry Grant Practicing on the Motor Parkway at 107.8 Miles Per Hour

Margaret, George and Eric Vitale of Barn Find Antiquities recently purchased a vintage leather trunk. To their surprise, the bottom of the truck was lined with a May 7, 1911 edition of  the newspaper The World including this article:

The World, May 7, 1911


Harry Grant, who won the Vanderbilt cup Race in 1909 and 1910 with the same Alco car made several speed trials over a measured half mile on the Long Island Motor Parkway last week.

The fastest time for the half mile was 16 4-5 seconds. This is equivalent of 107 8-10 miles per hour. The performance of this wonderful car was a surprise even to those officials of the American Locomotive Company who are familiar with it, and who had been watching the grooming of the car which Grant will drive in the 500 mile international race at Indianapolis on May 30.

The car was seen at many of the automobile shows during the winter, and Grant was in attendance with the car at all these shows.  Since the close of the show circuit, the car has been thoroughly overhauled and inspected in the technical room of the Automobile Club of America. It is essentially however the same identical car with which Grant won the two Vanderbilt races. It carries on its cylinders and other parts of the engine the stamps of the technical committees which examined it in 1909 and 1910 previous to its start in the Vanderbilt races of those years.

Grant made three separate trials. His first was the fastest, recorded above. The other half miles were driven in 17 seconds flat, each. This is the equivalent of 105 1-10 miles per hour. Those who were privileged to see the performance were amazed at the power developed, and the officials of the company who rode with Grant in his three trials were unanimous in declaring the car ran as easily even at top speed as a rocking chair

At the same time H. Hartman drove a shaft drive six cylinder Alco car which is being tuned up for some of the important road races of the summer. He drove at two half miles in 23 seconds each, which is the equivalent of a trifle over 80 miles per hour.

Speaking of the Indianapolis race, Grant says that he is sure the race will be won at not over 75 miles per hour average.


A closer look at the newspaper photo shows the Alco #18 on the Motor Parkway. My best guess is the racer was approaching the Old Westbury Road Bridge with the Carman Avenue Bridge in East Meadow in the background.....But, wait a moment, that photo looks familiar.



  It was previously posted on September 9, 2010 under the heading "The Alco Practicing for the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race".  The photos are an exact match. The image acutally captured the Alco practicing for the first Indy 500 Race not the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race as described in the 2010 post which has been corrected.



  This photo from my collection also corresponds with The World 1911 article. Alco officials can be seen with two Alco racers; Harry Grant with the Alco #18 and the mystery car described in the September 9, 2010 post. The mystery is over...The car was Harry Hartman's shaft drive Alco. Three months after the photos was taken, Grant and Hartman would team up with Frank Lee and competed together in the Elgin National Trophy Race held  on August 26, 1911.


Thanks George, Margaret and Eric Vitale for sharing your found treasure on! Be sure to check out their amazing store in Bohemia.


Links to related posts on and the Internet:

The Alco Practicing for the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race:The License Plate & Mystery Car .
The Three Alco Racers at the 1911 Elgin National Trophy Race

Archives: Alco-6 Black Beast Racer

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Archives: Monthly Highlights (2008-2011)

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Nov 13 2011 Howard Kroplick 10:24 AM

From Robert R:

“107.8 in the Black Beast?  I cannot even imagine such speeds!  Those guys truly were cut from a different cloth.”

Nov 13 2011 Tom Grant 11:01 AM

Thanks again Howard-

Truly amazing!

Hope all is well with you.

Tom Grant

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