I like matching photos found today with the people and stories they were associated with. The following two photos are in the National Automotive Research Library collections in Detroit. Gaston Plaintiff, Ford's N.Y. Branch Manager is the first driver, and both cars are Fords (steering reduction gear boxes):
Now, the rest of the story:
On June 18th, 1906, a relay would begin by motor car, with a military courier taking a message from Chicago to New York to test the motor car as a means of communication during wartime. The route was estimated to be 1,024 miles.
Several well known drivers and automakers were involved in the relay:
50 hp Columbia:
Bad weather and roads plagued the drivers and cars:
And, as with many "contests," there were complaints made by one maker against others. In this ad, Pope Toledo and Driver Lytle complain of statements made by a "Flyer" driver. Lytle and the Thomas Flyer driver, Charles Coey, would finish 2nd and 3rd a year later in the 24 hour race won in record time by a Ford "six."
The last leg of the relay was taken by Gaston Plaintiff with two Ford"Sixes."
"Proof" that these photos are of Plaintiff and the Fords comes from this newspaper photo. The courier is seated in the Ford with the banner. A Pope and Thomas Flyer accompanied them on the last 60 mile leg:
Those are great faces to go along with the outfits, cars and clippings.
Thank you Rob! One of automotive history's great stories. well displayed.
The Ford six ran the last 67 miles in 2 hours 20 minutes (roughly 25 mph average on less than ideal roads). I also note that they were required to run within speed limits on this contest. So one could wonder how fast Gaston Plaintiff could have made the run if he had been allowed to go faster. I might also wonder if he had driven as fast as he would have liked? Would the Pope Toledo and Thomas Flyer have kept up with him?
This taking place in June 1906 means that it was a quite early model K Ford. The REO used was said to be a sixteen horsepower car, so a two cylinder model that year?
I would really like to know what model Cadillac was used. While so well known for their one cylinder cars from 1903 through 1908, they began their early four in 1905. The first couple years of four cylinder Cadillacs seem to not be seen often, then or now. The one cylinder Cadillac was one of the top sellers of its day (although way behind Ford). Even today, '06 to '08 Cadillacs can be seen often (if you know where to look).
Maybe I missed it? But I didn't see a final tally for the time. It appears to me that they missed their fifty hour target by a couple hours, in spite of the fine showing by the Ford six!
Thanks again Rob! Heal well.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I also heard that they both had hip replacements because of rough roads at high speeds while playing the songs from "The Good. The Bad and The Ugly"
The run is in June. Looks like one man has on a shirt and tie. Wonder how hot they got inside those oilskins, buttoned all the way up. I think i will stay upwind of the cars and drivers.