The last couple of weeks we've mentioned Ford's 1907 twenty four hour world record. A couple of posters brought up the fact Ford used more than one car in the race. I decided it was time to investigate these races a little more thoroughly (if I'm going to "brag up" Ford's world record ).
As it turns out, there were two "classes" of 24 hour race, and according to news accounts, these were popular among the public. This 1908 article talks about the 1907 automobile racing year. It says 24 hour races were the most popular racing events of 1907. The account also mentions that the Glidden Tour and Sealed Bonnet contests saw quite a few "perfect scores." The article lists Ford's relay record (although by this time a Locomobile holds the record) and foreign car (Renault) single car record:
Below are the rules for the 24 hour races. The races were broken into classes A and B. Class A were single car races, while Class B allowed two cars of the same make and model. Each class could have two drivers, while Class B could have a third driver.
Probably the most significant Class B, or Relay Race rule was the requirement that the racing relay car must come to a stop beside the non racing relay car, before the second car could begin:
"In Class B the two cars on any team may be interchanged at will, it being understood that when one car relieves another the retiring car must come to a full stop beside the relief car before the latter is started."
Next is an article listing the ten sanctioned 24 Hour Races held in 1907 along with the winners. The article says there were five relay type and five individual 24 hour races (although it indicates four races by asterisk as relays). The article mentions the World Record held by a Napier (driven by S. F. Edge on the Brooklands 3 1/4 banked track in England), the World Record Single Car competition record held by a Renault, and the World Record Relay Race held by a Locomobile (formerly held by the Ford Model K):
I decided to look into the two classes of 24 hour competition races. Below is a spreadsheet showing what I found:
Using the five hour by hour results I was able to find, the first races show the miles travelled by the winners of each race. The first two are relay races, with the Ford Model K victory first, followed by the Minneapolis/St. Paul relay race won by a Locomobile. Following these two are three single car races (hour by hour). After that are the remaining race results with total miles (no hour by hour numbers available that I could find).
My goal was to find some way of comparing the "relay" and "single" car races. What I came up with is taking the top or fastest one third (8) miles covered per hour. My reasoning is that in both races cars did not make pit stops every hour. By taking the top third of hourly totals, I hope to come up with comparable results regardless of relay or single car race (most likely not slowed down by pit stops or car substitution).
When I did this, as expected, the single car races picked up a few more miles per hour than the relay races. Anyone following may make their own conclusions. It seems to me that the difference is not as great as I initially thought it would be. I also think the differences in track conditions and amount of traffic, lighting, etc probably played a bigger role than whether it was a relay or single car race.
Bottom line, the times these cars were making on flat, dirt, one mile tracks (made for horse racing) seem quite good. At some point, I would like to find a flat dirt track and try a few miles with a modern car just to see if 45 to 50 mph is a tough speed to maintain.
Next, a spreadsheet showing all the cars I was able to find listed as running in the ten 1907 twenty four hour races. First are the cars that won the ten races, followed by other participants, along with the number of times each make/model ran in the races (I tried to find retail prices and the correct horsepower for each, but some were difficult to find and may not be correct).
When comparing competing cars, the cost of the world record holding Ford is significantly lower than most of the other participants. Another thing to consider about the cost of these cars, the new house advertisement below is $3900 in Washington D.C., much less expensive than many of the cars competing:
Later I'll post several pics from these races, including a few of the many wrecks and a few night scenes. I hope anyone reading this enjoys the material. I'll devote another thread at a later time to the Ford race.
I thought the hourly spreadsheet was hard to read, so this is the same only larger:
Was your ticket to the race good for 24 hours? Could you watch the start of the race, go home to sleep, and come back the next day to see the finish?
I don't know, but it looks as if a lot of spectators stayed through the night. Below are a few night and one "morning after" pics:
And the morning after. Looks like Sunday morning after a Saturday night Badger home football game:
Now that is stuff I find interesting!
I do hope the nap takers aren't too close to any driving!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Following are advertisements used by participants in the races. Advertising gives us some insights into the races beyond news reports. A few examples:
This Locomobile ad tells us the one Locomobile was used primarily during the race, and that it was a stock car already owned and in use by a local Doctor. The ad also says the car was only relieved during tire changes. This is the Locomobile team that broke the Ford record in September 1907.
Going back to a news account, this excerpt from an article about the same race in "Motor World' says the relief car was used for 186 of the record 1146 miles made by the Locomobile team. In other words, the relief or relay car was in use less than 20 percent of the total miles. This gives us an idea how frequently car exchanges were made, at least in this record making race:
Not all advertising was by the winners of races. This Cadillac advertisement says the Cadillac was leading it's nearest competitor by ten miles when it went out of the race (not necessarily leading the race, but leading it's nearest competition). It also tells us this car didn't make a "pit stop" through the first 128 miles, helping get an idea how many miles cars were able to make between stops (unless unexpected problems occurred):
This advertisement by Dragon promotes the cars participation in a 24 hour event, although the car didn't place first or second. The ad also says only four cars finished the race out of the original ten cars that started:
A tire ad says a tire changed by the winning Autocar team took one minute and forty seconds, giving more information about how long "pit stops" for tire changes may have required:
Next, photos of the racers, pit area and spectators.
Lots more great stuff!
I look forward to the next installment.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
After any sporting event the true Badgers stay for the 5th quarter. The band plays on. We sing. Drink more beer. And eventually go home. Especially if we beat Michigan.
Need a day when I can go downtown to look up the Milwaukee Journal articles about some of these races.
If you check local archives, I'd like to see the hour by hour results of the Milwaukee race if you find them. The Locomobile that broke the Ford record averaged just under a half mile an hour more than the Ford. The hour by hour comparison would be interesting.
A few of the race winner advertisements:
And a another tire maker takes a share of the credit for two wins::
Wayne, I'll get to race photos next......
Thanks Rob! It is all good! Thank you.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Starting the races:
The tracks, grandstands, officials and crowds:
I suspect participating in one of these races was quite an expensive and time consuming affair. Earlier in the thread the number of times car makers entered are listed, and some makes entered quite a few times without winning a race.
The last set of photos will be of the cars and drivers,
Now, THIS is the stuff I really like to see! Wonderful stuff! I just want to climb into the pictures and stay there. Maybe I could apply for a job with one of the racing teams? I have experience.
Thank you Rob!
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I think it would have been an exciting event to be involved with.
Looks like just you and I, maybe Dave still reading along. Kind of nice and quiet...... Hope you enjoy it.
The drivers and cars:
C. A. Coey was a well known driver and Thomas Agent. He finished 3rd in the Detroit Race behind the Ford and Pope Toledo. He finished first a week later in the Chicago 24 Hour race driving the same two (relay race) Thomas 60 hp models. These are the same model Thomas that would win the New York to Paris Race a year later.
Harry Houpt and driver Montague "Monty" Roberts with Thomas:
Monty Roberts would win a 24 Hour race in 1907 for Thomas also driving a 60 hp Flyer. The following year (1908) he would be one of the New York to Paris drivers for Thomas.
Roberts after 24 hour win:
As expected, there were wrecks, and fatalities:
The wreck below was one of the Pope Toledo cars in the Detroit race Ford won, Lytle was a well known driver, and actually continued driving another Pope after this wreck, finishing second behind Ford in the race:
There were several 24 hour races in 1908, but 1907 seems to have been a benchmark year for this type of race. As the article at the beginning of this thread noted, reliability tours and tests like the Glidden and Sealed Bonnet tours were becoming less exciting due to car technology advancing to the point where many participants would achieve perfect scores.
In the 24 hour races there would sometimes be a 60 to 70 percent drop out rate with exciting results. And spectators were able to see the entire race from one location instead of seeing the cars for one brief moment in events such as reliability tours.
Next week I'll go over the Ford 24 hour victory and world record.
Have a Happy Easter,
I enjoy these posts I just don't comment unless I have something stupid to say. I have very little knowledge on Model T's and even less on pre-T's so I just follow along and learn.
Rob: Great Subject!! Keep it going.
On The Old Motor we have quite a bit of coverage that includes many photos from the Peter Helck collection.
Above is a painting by Helck, 1909 Brighton: The Winning Simplex. A painting from his book Great Auto Races showing George Robertson and Al Poole
on the way to winning the July 1909 Brighton Beach 24 hour race. Courtesy of the Helck family.
Ralph Mulford below after winning a 1910 Brighton race while on his honeymoon. He and his wife were married just before the race.
Many more photos and info @ http://theoldmotor.com/?s=brighton+beach
Those are some great photos. Too bad we dont have the originals. Wonder if we can get Rob to run a 24 hour race once he gets that speedster done?
Now that I think of it. There probably isn't a track in Milford Nebraska, but Rob might have enough land after harvest to grade us a track. Who wants to race their T's in a 24 hour race against the model K?
Holly will keep us well supplied with food and beverage. I will bring some Pabst Blue Ribbon and Johnsonville brats.
It's Nebraska vs Wisconsin at this point. ;)
Will you bring the cheese curds too?
great photo and painting. Unfortunately, all I have are the magazine and newspaper copies, not the original photos. It is surprising how many photos and negatives have survived. Often the photos aren't labeled or are mis labeled.
These posts are fun. A 24 hours race is more of an endurance run for both man and machine. I wonder how many accident were due to driver fatigue.
It seems funny to see headlamps on race cars.
: ^ )
I would think between fatigue, poor lighting and dust the night driving had to be treacherous.
Thomas and Ford advertising in "The Horseless Age" following 24 Hour wins:
So many more wonderful photos! This has developed into a fantastic thread! Thank you Rob.
The Thomas truly is an impressive car! I got a short ride in one some years back. Unfortunately, the ride was short due to a developing mechanical problem (soon after, it was repaired). Still, the ride was memorable, that huge and powerful car is simply not to be imagined. It must be experienced.
Keith T, Headlamps on race cars were more common than most people realize. Some years ago, I went through nearly a hundred photos of pre-1920 races and counted the cars with and without headlamps (I was trying to decide whether to put them onto a car I was restoring). I found nearly a quarter or more of the cars had the lamps on them, And nearly two-thirds of the earlier cars had at least the fork mounts for the lamps. One interesting thing I noticed, was several cars showed up in more than one photo, with lamps in one or more, without in others. One should remember also, that very few racing teams or owners used trailers or tow vehicles at that time. The car needed to be driven to the racing venue, often before sun-up. In rob's posting above, "To govern 24 hour contests", it is mentioned that suitable headlamps must be carried on the cars between sunset and sunrise.
Great stuff! Thanks all.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
Oh, my. 412 miles in 8 consecutive hours. That is an average of 51.5 mph for 8 hours.
Eight hours or constant driving.
No second cup coffee for Mr. Kulick!
: ^ )
Those were the days. When people didn't know they need OSHA, NASCAR, the Government or anyone else to tell them how and what they had to do to protect them self's. Just Build it and Race It! That was called American Freedom!
Do you recall the year and/or model of Thomas? The next year (1908) Thomas came out with their six cylinder car, a 72 hp version. One came in third in a 24 hour race behind a Simplex and Lozier. I've never seen a running Thomas and it would be wonderful to have one on a tour..
It's hard to imagine 50 mph plus on a one mile track for 24 hours, regardless of relay or individual car race. I think it would be a good experiment to try averaging 50 mph on a flat dirt one mile unbanked track with a modern car. Racing around a track over a thousand times in twenty four hours with dust and traffic and limited lighting seems like quite a challenge.
A magnificent Thomas touring has been on the Holiday Motor Excursion several times. It lives in the Pasadena area with a number of Popes.
A few more 24 hour pics. Some are repeats, but better quality from "Motor" magazine: