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PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:20 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:53 pm
Posts: 13305
Location: CT
On 28Nov1895 the Chicago Times-Herald sponsored America's first car race. It was a 55-mile road race from Southside Chicago to Evanston, turning around and racing back to the start line. The prizes offered were great and enticed over 60 entrants from Europe, where the automobile was becoming popular.

America had only a single horseless buggy at that time; the 4hp / 7mph 2-seat runabout handmade by Frank and Charles Duryea of Springfield Mass. It was America's only car and the only American entrant in America's first race.

The weather was terrible. Temperature was 38*F with a strong wind whipping in off the lakes. There was already nearly a foot of snow covering the muddy roads and more snow fell all day. All of the cars were open so the passengers were exposed to horrible cold and frostbite. Two of them passed out, one died. Cars collided with objects and with each other, got lost and broke down. Two of them failed to climb the largest hill on the course and were disqualified.

Cars stopped often to refuel, change tires, make repairs, and to let their passengers (usually a "navigator", a "steerer", a "brakeman/mechanic" and an "observer") thaw out in nearby homes. Many entrants were hospitalized for exposure and frostbite after the race.

After 7 hours of driving and 10 hours after the start, Frank Duryea crossed the finish line 1.5 hours ahead of the second-place car. Those were the only two cars which completed the race. An American had won America's first race, driving the only car ever made in America by that point in time. The race caused a sensation and lit high interest in automobiles across the country.

Frank Duryea died in 1967 at age 97, in Saybrook CT.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:16 pm
Posts: 496
Location: Ansonia, CT
Great story Frank. I was not aware of that event.

Growing up on Long Island, I lived right near some vacant lots in Levittown. We played in these lots and rode our bikes up and down the little dirt hills on either side of the crumbled road which I was later told was part of the Vanderbilt Parkway. It was also called the Long Island Motor Parkway. Built in 1908 it was the first true motorway built strictly for autos and it was also used for racing. See link below.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Island_Motor_Parkway

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John Kish
1971 240Z original owner


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:53 pm
Posts: 13305
Location: CT
I'd always heard of the LIMP but never actually took time to look at it, thanks!
Yet another Clubbie from Lawn Gyland.

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