The Ford Oral History project conducted in the 1950's includes transcripts of recordings with some of Ford Motor Company's employees who witnessed several important Ford historical events. One of those is the transcript of C. J. Smith. Mr. Smith was employed by FMC between the years 1906-1949. Mr. Smith was also a member of the winning Model T Number 2 in the Ocean to Ocean (New York to Seattle) Race.
Ford Number 2 arrived in Seattle almost a day ahead of the second place Shawmut team. However, as the article below reports, the Guggenheim Trophy was not officially awarded for six days as protests by the Shawmut team against the winning Ford were reviewed:
After reviewing the complaints, Ford Number 1, the third place finisher, was disqualified for replacing an axle during the race. Ford Number 2 was declared the winner and awarded the trophy.
Months later, following an appeal by the Shawmut Company, the results were overturned (October 28, 1909) by a special meeting of the A.C.A.. As we know, Ford Motor Company by this time had reaped the advertising and publicity benefits from "winning" the race:
C. J. Smith reported the following concerning the race and disqualification in the Oral History interview.
How he was picked for the race:
About Henry Ford meeting the car and crew on Snowqualmie Pass, the last major hurdle before entering Seattle. Concerning the later disqualification of Number 2, Mr. Smith says, "they had the motor stamped, the head, the block, and everything." "We said, "well take the prints, they're right there.""
What do all of you think?
Was C. J. Smith still "lying" about the incident over forty years later? Why didn't race officials take prints of the stamped motor parts at the time? They had six days while protests were reviewed following the race.
I know this subject has been "litigated" in the court of public opinion for over one hundred years. It's still fascinating to read about the events and people who lived them.
Unfortunately, there wasn't more followup after this interview in 1951 (that I'm aware of) while many of the principals involved with the race were still living.
Have a good week,
There was a follow-up written in Philip Van Dorn Stern's book of an interview in 1954 with Smith, who said that the engine had never been changed to his knowledge, although he admitted that "it might have been changed without his knowing it while the car was overhauled en route by one of the many Ford dealers who were eager to see it win"
So that is what I guess too.
Here is photo of stamping numbers on the parts of the race cars in the New York to Seattle by the Automobile Club of America personnel.
ACA official report:
It was proved to the satisfaction of the committee that Ford Car #2, in the New York to Seattle Contest was guilty of a violation in that it have traveled a part of the distance with a engine which was substituted in the place of the engine stamped in New York by the technical committee of the Automobile Club of America and is therefore disqualified. "Autos and Autoists", Detroit Saturday Night, Nov 27, 1909. p.5:2.
But still the winner in the hearts of the motoring public
The little car that made good.....
Thanks for the information. I especially like the last pic you posted. Now I don't feel so bad because our cars aren't too clean right now
"...it might have been changed without his knowing it while the car was overhauled en route by one of the many Ford dealers who were eager to see it win."
Ah, yes. Plausible deniability.
"I cannot confirm nor deny..."
Personally, I can see that it indeed could have happened.
: ^ )
There were also shenanigans with the ferry delaying the Shawmut crossing a lake in eastern Washington.
I like the part where it say's the Itala made it as far as Cheyenne and droped out. Hell,It was hit by a train!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After the factory burned down mabey two Shamuts and no part's?? Bud.
I've read several accounts of other races Fords were involved with, such as the 24 hour record, and the number of protests filed following races was surprising (to me). I suppose the potential free advertising (or negative publicity when a car didn't win) combined with the expense of entering races caused many carmakers to cry foul when their car didn't win. Most of the complaints were disallowed, but some, as in this case, were upheld.
With the ACA ruling so long after the fact, when on the ground inspections took place immediately after the race seems a little suspicious.
Ah, the good ole days..........
I believe the Italia was hit by a train much earlier (Kansas?), and was repaired and continued on. Somewhere I have the clipping, I'll try to find it........
This is the article I saw on the Italia and train:
The judges who were there and in charge of the race disqualified Ford. It was their decision to make, and I am sure they did it with plenty of explaining to everyone involved at the time, because it was a huge, nationally known, important race. No doubt Ford and his crew were genuinely guilty of the infractions, or the disqualification would not have occurred.
I am sure the Shawmut national club website has lots more on the subject............
Just check the website and got this
Copied from the 1906 Automobile Journal
The Shawmut Touring Car.
The Shawmut Motorcar Company moved into the vacant Phelps Automobile Company in November 1905. The Model 6, which was equipped with a four cylinder upright water cooled 35-45 horsepower engine, was exhibited in the 1906 Boston Automobile Show. It was fitted with a wood and aluminum body designed by Chauncey Thomas and Company of Boston. The price for the Shawmut was $4750.00.
The very latest newcomer in the trade is the Shawmut, a $3,500 touring car of 35 to 40 horsepower and weighing 2.400 pounds. Symphony Hall captured the exhibit, which was at all times during show hours a strong center of attraction as the car is of local manufacture, being built by the Shawmut Motor Co., Stoneham, Mass. The company is headed by Elliot Lee, lately president of the American Automobile Association. One model of the car is shown together with a display of rough and finished parts. Its appearance is one of solidity and strength united with a fine regard for style and finish. The power plant is almost a replica of the Panhard type, with some modifications. The crankshaft has the five ball bearing supports. The extra bearings are placed immediately between the bases of the cylinders in both the front and rear sections of the crankcase. Four ball bearings also support the camshaft.
All ball bearings are of French manufacture—Malicet & Blin—and their liberal use in every part of the car is with the object of reducing resistance to a minimum, so that the percentage of power delivered by the motor to the rear wheels will be exceptionally high. The transmission is of the straight sliding type, with reverse effected by a single gear and cam.
The motor is water cooled four-cylinder, vertical, of 4 1/4-inch bore by 5 1/2-inch stroke, with inlet and exhaust on opposite sides. The flywheel, which is 22 inches in diameter, has specially designed blades and makes a very effective fan. Make-and-break ignition is furnished unless otherwise ordered. All gears are planed from hammer forged nickel steel and toughened by a special annealing process. The carburetor used a float feed type, water jacketed, and provided with a piston throttle valve. It is fed with gasoline from a 24 gallon tank under the front seat. The radiator held three gallons of water including the pipes. It was circulated by a centrifugal pump driven by spur gears from the cam shaft. The ignition is ordinarily the make or break or low tension spark. The transmission or change speed gear is of the sliding pinion type, affording four forward speeds and one reverse.
The 32" artillery type wheels had nickle steel hubs with twelve hickory spokes. The frame was built of cold rolled pressed steel members.
1909 Shawmut day of the race in New York
Arrival in Seattle
Claimed in press releases at the end of the race that Henry Ford was so impressed with the Shawmut that he was going to buy one......well that must have be more of Henry's press fun. Bet he never did buy one of these! Even this snappy Shawmut roadster for Edsel.
I believe The Shawmut factory had burned, and the model used was a pre-1909 car (?). It sounds like a well built, higher end car of the period.
Bud, the account below does blame the Italia's exit from the race as a result of the damage from the train in Kansas ( as you said).
Below is a more thorough explanation of the protest and results made by the referee at the time of the race. As Mr. Smith said in his transcript, the numbers were there to be checked. I know we will probably never know for sure, but I'm not prepared to throw "Ford" under the bus based on an investigation (hearing) that occurred over four months after the race, by the A.C.A. no less. It seems with six days to review the cars in Seattle, referee Guggenheim would have checked engine numbers.
An interesting saga in Ford history:
Rob,I used to have another account of the race but i can't find it now.I sent it to Dan once and he sent it back but i can't find it.Why would the Itala quit at Denver?? Bud.
Maybe pot was already legal in Denver........
(Sorry, couldn't resist )
It sounds as though they were already so far behind, maybe they just had enough? Also, some stories claim Robert Guggenheim bought the Italia and funded the trip, just to add numbers and an "international" aspect to the race.
This account says the overturn of the race results was the result of committee action taken based on affidavits by the Shawmut Company. It also says Mr. Guggenheim will be notified of the committee's decision. It seems to me one would have had the referee at the hearing to respond to questions, but what do I know.....
It all seems a little murky,
I think Rob that you have once again provided us with an example of Ford and his cronies attempting to foist a scam on unwitting members of the motoring press. In this case, Ford cheated on several accounts by eyewitnesses.
Unwittingly you may have stumbled on the reason Ford didn't participate in racing very much after this embarrassing fiasco.
It is not surprising that Smith, after being branded a liar and a cheat by Guggenheim and the ACA, was trying to wiggle out of the truth for a rewrite of history in 1953 is it? If the engine had not been changed, Ford was still guilty of several other infractions, any of which would have been ample grounds for the first and second prize trophies and money to be unceremoniously stripped from Ford.
Ford consistently tries to mislead the press and the public.
Rob, something that hasn't been mentioned so far is that apparently no one today knows what happened to the trophy. Maybe some research could shed some light on it's whereabouts, if in fact it still exists somewhere.... If anyone could "find" it, I'd have to bet you could!
I'm not sure the public has ever learned about the race?? As late as the 2009 reinactment people on both sites were touting the Ford win! I remember being at The Old Car Festival and hearing a talk by a Ford expert telling Ford won the race! Bud.
Actually, Henry Ford announced he would not build any racers for 1909, before the race:
Following the O2O win Ford said he would rebuild the six cylinder racer and race it in late August at the new Indianapolis Speedway:
As events unfolded, the Speedway would institute new engine restrictions, and the Ford racer could not race due to a maximum engine limit of 600 cubic inches.
Ford, however, would build "special" racers and re-enter racing in 1910. By 1911 Ford Motor Company placed 5th in number of wins by any automaker, primarily due to victories with the four cylinder, 410 cubic inch Ford "Special" driven by Frank Kulick.
The story of the of the Ocean to Ocean race appeared years ago in a HCCA magazine (I think it was that magazine). Cant remember which one it was exactly but something similar.
What was interesting in the article that I didn't forget was that Ford gave strict instructions to the driver and mechanic not to mention that the motor was changed during the race.
At first there were many questions about the incident but Ford used so much hype about the durability of his car the hype outweighed the 'details' of what had happened.
Or so the story went. I wished I had kept the magazine now as it was pretty eye opening to me anyway.
I believe this race received considerable attention over the years. There are probably many bits of information that could shed light concerning the allegations. It still seems unusual that the referees did not see the missing or altered engine stamps in Seattle, especially considering the six day waiting period to announce a winner as they sorted through the Shawmut Company protests.
I'm somewhat surprised the race received as much attention as it did considering only five cars competed (originally over twenty committed, then dwindling to thirteen, and finally to five (or six, if you count the Stearns that began late and did not make it out of New York State).
One of my favorite news photos from the race, the Ford 6-40 (Model K Roadster) leading the two Model Ts followed by the other three competitors as they leave NY City Hall: