Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First American Motor Car Race in 1895

Frank Duryea – Duryea Wagon Company Wikipedia Image

 

This week is the 125th anniversary of the first automobile race in the US. The race took place in Chicago and was a 50 mile round trip between Chicago and Evanston. We should go and at least witness the finish. Don’t forget to take a list of things not to do to protect the time continuum. We will need James’ Oldsmobile, so climb in, and we’ll be off.

James’s 1956 Oldsmobile from Eternal Road – The final stop

Top Ten things Not to Do at the First Motor Car Race in the US in 1895

10 Do not complain when only six of the 89 racers entered actually made it to the starting line. If you do, at best, no one will care. At worse, you’ll be overheard by the editor of the Chicago Times-Herald, the sponsor of the race. ( It seems he is not in a good mood, Miikka. A freak snowstorm dumped ten inches of snow and prevented the other starters from showing up. I see he is handing you a snow shovel. Good luck clearing the first 25 miles.)

9 Do not tell Tiny, the WWF champ, that you would like to ride in his entry. If you do, at best, he won’t hear you above the engine noise. At worst, since he has to have a race official riding with him, he will assume you are trying to overweight his vehicle. (It is easy to explain a perceived slight away with Tiny. Of course, you have to allow him to toss you at least ten feet, Miklos. I know the landing isn’t always perfect.)

8 Do not place your money on the electric car entries. If you do, at best, you only bet what you could afford to lose. At worst, you put up the deed to your ranch. (You see, Millard. The two electrics that made the starting line had battery failure after a few minutes. So much for supporting green technology. It will be interesting to see you explain away a deed from 2019.)

7 Do not mention to the race organizer that you figure the race to last at least an hour. If you do, at best, he’ll think you are kidding. At worst, he’ll think you are drunk. (Although the race was only fifty miles, Milos took over ten hours for the first-place finisher to arrive. I noticed the organizer is pointing you out to a couple of Keystone cops. It might be a long night.)

6 Do not try to sell advertising to the first Benz team. If you do, at best, they will laugh. At worst, they’ll tell their sponsor, Macy’s of New York. (Don’t look now, Min, but I think that is a Pinkerton private investigator looking at you. I’m sure the Macy’s wonder what you are up to by soliciting their driver.)

5 Do not ask where you can get a Bud Lite. If you do, at best, someone will think you are talking about a candle. At worst, Β you’ll ask a guy named Bud. (Good going, Minoru. Bud thinks you are mocking him, and now he wants satisfaction. He talks about a bare knuckle fight. I hope you have some boxing experience.)

4 Do not predict that one of the three Benz cars will be the winner. If you do, at best, everyone will ignore you. At worst you’ll make the prediction to Frank Duryea. (Nice move, Misha. Frank was the winner of the race in a car that he and his brother built. He is not happy with you,, so don’t try to get a selfie with him and his car.)

3 Do not belittle the $2000 dollar first prize for the winner. If you do, at best people will think you nuts. At worst, the sponsor will be highly up set. (That $2000 in 1898 is equivalent to over $60,000 in today’s dollars, Miska. That kind of money didn’t grow on trees. The sponsor has decided to toss you out. Good sailing.

2 Do not wait around for the second place finisher. If you do at best someone will buy you a drink. At worst, you’ll miss dinner waiting. (The second place car came in two hours later than the first, Mjolnir. It was a Benz and was the only other care to finish.)

1 Do not congratulate Mr. Macy on his car’s finish. If you do, at best he’ll not hear you. At worst, he will think you are putting him on. You see, Modi. The Macy sponsored Benz collided with a streetcar on the way to Evanston and with a sleigh and then a horse drawn hack on the return trip. It never made it back.)

90 comments

  1. Don’t know why they bothered, John. It’ll never catch on. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know right. Too much trouble indeed. Thanks Keith. 😁

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Sounds like tensions were running high during this. Shame about the snow.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Typical Chicago weather in November. They should have known. Thanks, Charles.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Boy, that guy in car 5 means business. I guess he asked for a Bud Lite. πŸ™‚ Great job, John!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think you are right, Jill. No one said smile for this one. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  4. and the race never stops…. βœŒοΈπŸ˜‰ great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Gives new meaning to the phrase, “And so it goes.”

      Like

  5. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    From the looks on their faces, this race was serious business. Of course, Tiny makes sure everyone understands that fact. 😁

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think Tiny too the photo. Thanks, Gwen. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Do you think Tiny would thank me if I installed some nitro in his car?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think he would be interested enough to find the person who caused his brand new Benz to blow up. (Not to mention the loss of his new racing outfit.) We need Tiny to cover himself for heaven’s sake and someone get some water for that smoking hair. If you have running shoes, GP, now is the time to try them out.😁

      Liked by 2 people

      1. AND AWAY WE GO…………….πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my goodness, “collided with a streetcar” – Yikes! This might be a good event for me to miss, John. Too many people to offend. 50 miles was asking a lot from those early cars. But please don’t tell Tiny I said that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That will be our secret, Dan. Tiny would not be pleased especially after pushing his car for the last 25 miles. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would have offered to steer πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think Tiny would have liked that offer but would wonder how you’d do that while yoked to the front of the car responding to the crack of the whip and the lyrics to “Mule Train.”

        Liked by 1 person

  8. That race must have been some sight! I’ll bet they weren’t going fast enough to blow the bowler hat off the racing official’s head.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course the Chicago wind would have taken care of that. Thanks, Liz. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good point about the Windy City! I was focused on the putt, putt, putting along.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow – only 6 of 89 made it to the starting line. Bet they were excited about their odds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think ther emight have been a lot of grumpy car owners that day. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! What a race! Amazing historical facts here, John. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you could come along, Jan. Thank you.

      Like

  11. Truth is stranger than fiction. That Benz crew had a wild day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have to wonder if they were asleep at the wheel. (another C&W group)

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Only in Chicago, right, John?? November snowstorm, sleighs, electric cars, and worst of all, 10 hours to complete the race! Yeah, no wonder I don’t like to drive up to see the Domer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are correct, Debbie. Only in Chicago. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Six of eighty-nine started, and two finished? That’s event that needs a little fine-tuning as much as the cars did!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I would say. so, Linda. Does seems to be a little out of control. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I keep looking over my shoulder, for Tiny. Can’t believed it snowed…an omen of sorts like…pull over pals, and stay there. Only two got to the finish line? Were the rest of them frozen behind the wheel? Too bad penguins couldn’t enter, well, if they knew how to drive of course, because then I’ll bet more than a half dozen would have taken off. I’m just sayin’ John.

    You don’t see Tiny, do ya? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tiny would love to meet you. He has a soft spot in his heart for thin girls. He. likes the way they sail in the wind after his famous helicopter spin. I haven’t seen him today yet. I think he is still working GP to death. This whole race was typical Chicago weather. I feel sorry for all those who couldn’t even get to the starting line. Fun comments, Susannah.😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chicago…the windy city, named after a tornado if I’m not mistaken. Chicago, Chicago is a wonderful town…if you’re in a good hotel with double windows.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes. I lived in the Chicago area twice for a total of eight years. It was called the Windy City because when the residents traveled they bragged about how great it was. Hence the name.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I kinda knew that. Wonder from where. I read so much that I can never remember sources. I went to the Pump Room once at the Ambassador Hotel with the wall-to-wall framed photos of the rich and famous. I recall it being almost like a museum exhibition. Everyone from Cary Grant to JFK had a place. And it was cold.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. So true about the cold. I was on Michigan Avenue one time (fronts the lake) and the wind blew me off my feet into a slush puddle. We used to do lunches in the Pump Room when I was producing a show on WGN TV. Had many a laugh there. I don’t know the sources of Windy City either. There was a big rivalry between Chicago and Cincinnati in the 1840s for the meat packing business which carried into name calling. Windy was one of the names. The lake breeze was touted in the 1900s for its coolness in the summer. Politicians being long-winded (and crooked) was noticed in the 1900s as well so who knows? 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I love all this lore. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Could be called mining for lore ore. (Groan)

        Like

      7. I like that. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  15. That is amazing…What a bummer that the other cars got snowed out! And only two finished? Mon dieu…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right? What is the matter with those guys anyway?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I got some Guiness Extra Stout today.

        Like

      2. Oh! You lucky bugger! I am actually picking some up tomorrow because I found a store that sells it!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I wanted Foreign Stout but the store was out of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Haven’t tried it yet but I’ll take your word for it and if I find some will get!

        Like

      5. From the Beer Advocate Foreign Extra Stout is brewed with generous hops and roasted barley for a bittersweet balance and full-flavored, natural bite. Developed for global export from Ireland, the addition of extra hops ensured this Stout would arrive in perfect condition. Today it is enjoyed by millions around the world. Also it is 7.5% ABV Extra Stout is 5.6%

        Liked by 1 person

      6. As a Canadian, you know we appreciate beer with a decent alcohol percentage. If I fine one or the other, I’ll be pleased. That .9% won’t make or break me! And thanks for the info!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. One of the reasons I like Foreign Stout. Nice little kick.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. So guess what? NONE in my hood! Don’t even have any in the next one either. I am so bummed.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Seems like the factory is slipping. You can get the stuff in Tiawan for heaven’s sake.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. These guys never would’ve dreamt that Joliet would have a 1.5 mile paved raceway now, with earnings just a tad bit north of $2,000 . . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  17. It would have been fun to be there, but I don’t see any women in that picture!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There isn’t a woman dumb enough to go out in the snow and race for ten hours in an open car. Only men do crap like that. Thanks, Noelle.

      Like

  18. Honestly. I don’t understand because Molson is involved somehow over here. I’m rather bummed

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I will give you an idea of the difference since I have Extra Stout instead of Foreign Stout.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Waaaahhhhh… Enjoy while I cry in my Guinness Draught. Which is fine but feels rather… boring, now!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can relate. I’m a IPA type as well. I need my brews to have that deep hop flavor. We’ll see how it goes. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Keep me posted πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yup.I won’t be having any until Saturday so I’ll give you a full report.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Excellent..exceptionally, movie night is Saturday so I’m going to do some driving around to see if I can find any before then!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Can’t you Google a location?

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I did. And they LIED!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Ooops. Dirty dogs.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Got my hopes up, went to the store and they looked at me like I was from another planet… Meanies!

        Liked by 1 person

      10. My hero!!

        Liked by 1 person

  19. This is funny, John, and so interesting. I’ve never thought about the first car race before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well you can’t say that anymore. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Hah! I will bet there might have been at least one woman who would have dared. I would have!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll bet you would. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  21. What a wild ride! Happy Thanksgiving, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jennie. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John. Lots of turkey, stuffing, pie, and FaceTiming with family.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Very good write

    Like

    1. Thank you. 😊

      Like

  23. Adjust the rear view mirror, tighten your seat belt, and off you go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What about the bugs in the teeth?

      Like

  24. That was great, John! I know the speeds were much slower, but I truly believe that the early days of racing were far more dangerous than today. Muddy roads, lack of personal protection equipment, sharing the roads with horse and street cars, and the lack of in car designed safety features made it treacherous. Took alot of you ‘know what’ to drive in one of those.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. I think those crazy men in their driving machines were very brave indeed. Thanks, Mark.

      Liked by 1 person

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