Wife and I watched, again, the TV special, "The Men that built America". In the segment that covered Henry Ford they had a scene where Henry made his name famous when he beat Barney Oldfield in a car race. As Henry accelerated to pass Oldfield to win the race the a foot was shown pressing on a "foot feed", on the floor. Was that an accurate depiction of how the race car was driven or just Hollywood? Did that race car have a foot feed rather than a steering column mounted throttle? Thanks
I'm not aware of any races in which Henry Ford and Barney Oldfield raced each other, although they may certainly have practiced or gone a few laps, as Tom Cooper owned both Arrow and 999 while Oldfield was racing with him, and Henry Ford built, and helped maintain them.
Below is a description of the early racers (Arrow and 999 were very similar, with many interchangeable parts, as I understand it), including mention of the foot feed:
Here is that clip from The History Channel.
The actual race was Henry vs. Alexander Winton, Ford racer vs. Winton racer.
The movie clip is just movie stuff, really not accurate. Foot feed shot is just showmanship.
Ooops. Yes, Dan, you're correct. It was Winton, not Oldfield. Thanks for the answer to my question.
I'm not very happy with the pics I put up on 999, so I'll try to do a better job. This is what I've saved, because it seemed like a great explanation of how the early versions of 999 and Arrow worked:
As Dan says, it sounds like the producers were mixing several events into one story. I think of early Ford racing in terms of the racers, with a few versions thrown in.
1. Henry Ford wins against Alexander Winton (and others) with Sweepstakes, a two cylinder racer. Spider Huff is seen leaning to the inside as a mustachioed Henry Ford drives.
2. 999 becomes the first racer to go 60 mph on an oval track. Tom Cooper, along with Barney Oldfield (initially) will barnstorm with the two Ford built racers, setting track records around the U.S. With the racers. This is the only early Ford racer I'm aware of on which a driver was killed, Frank Day in late 1903 at the WI State Fair.
3. A revamped, reworked 999 (or Arrow) that Day wrecked, is driven by Henry Ford to a one mile world record mile in early 1904. Personally, I believe this is the car, and race that put Henry Ford and the Ford name on the world stage. Henry Ford is the first man to officially travel a mile in or 90 mph in a gas powered motor car.
4. Baby, or the "Skeleton Racer," a 20 hp lightweight racer that sets several records, and wins against many larger proven racers during the second half of 1904. It consists of two 10hp Model A (or C) engines combined.
5. Three iterations of six cylinder racers will follow between 1905 and 1908.
6. The Ford "Special," a 400 cubic inch Model T based racer that sets several records and wins races for Ford between 1910 and 1912.
Wonderful stuff! Thank you John, Rob, and Dan.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2