The Start-Finish Line in Westbury
The French Clement-Bayard
The prestige of the Vanderbilt name drew many leading European manufacturers and drivers to the race. Cars entered by France (6), USA (5), Germany (5), and Italy (2) were among the 18 starters. The French cars included three 90-hp Panhards, a 60-hp Renault, an 80-hp De Dietrich, and an 80-hp #12 Clement-Bayard (pictured above at the starting line). At the wheel of the De Dietrich was one of the leading European drivers, Fernand Gabriel, who finished second in the 1903 Gordon Bennett Race and was the declared winner of the 1903 Paris-Madrid Race. The German cars were all Mercedes, each owned by Americans. Two 90-hp F.I.A.T. cars represented Italy, one owned by Willie K’s cousin, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt.
The American #6 Pope-Toledo and the French #7 Panhard
Each race car carried two men, the driver and a mechanic called a riding mechanician. The mechanician assisted with repairs, helped navigate the course, and worked a hand pump to maintain oil pressure. Outclassed by the Europeans’ powerful racers, some with large 90-hp engines, the five American starters included modified touring cars such as 24-hp #6 Pope-Toledo driven by Herb Lytle. Following the Pope-Toledo was the French 90-hp #7 Panhard driven by George Heath.
The American #17 Simplex Filled with Holes
Only the American 75-hp #17 Simplex driven and owned by Frank Croker, son of the Tammany Hall boss Richard Croker, approached the power of the European machines. During the pre-race weigh-in, the Simplex failed to meet the race weight limitation of 2,204 pounds. Croker reduced the weight by drilling holes throughout the chassis, which can be seen below the engine’s hood and on the mechanician’s seat.
Riding in the #6 Pope-Toldeo
At the 2004 Centennial Celebration of the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race, the #6 Pope-Toledo participated in time-trials. The centennial event was held on October 2, 2004 in East Garden City on Long Island. Hop aboard on hear and see how it feels to ride in this classic car.
- Creating the First International Road Race in America
- The 1904 Course and Headquarters
- The Start-Finish Line in Westbury
- They’re Off: Heading to the Hamlet of Jericho
- Action During the 1904 Race
- Controls in Hicksville and Hempstead
- The Fatal Accident
- The 1904 Finish
- 50 Years After the Race
- 1904 Race Statistics
- 1904 Race Summary
The 128-page book by Howard Kroplick, a researcher and lecturer on the races, contains rare images of the races from the archives of major museums, libraries and private collectors. The book Vanderbilt Cup Races of Long Island will be available from Arcadia Publishing in March 2008.continue reading-->