Americans in 1907

This article, published February 3, 1907 in the Indianapolis Star discusses the formation of a consortium to create a closed-loop, paved speedway on Long Island in New York. The plans at the time were were extremely vague so observers including the media made a lot of assumptions. The key one was that the course would be paved and that it would be entirely private without any public roads being used for auto racing competition. Although not named as such at this date, this initiative would later become the Long Island Motor Parkway which would be paved but never a closed loop. Instead a point-to-point, undulating highway emerged.
To say this was a groundbreaking project could be to risk an unintentional double entendre. Like with any construction project there is a groundbreaking moment and the grander the project the more likely it is that there will be a ceremonial as well practical moment when shovel meets Earth and dirt starts to fly. The Long Island Motor Parkway (LIMP) was groundbreaking as the nation's first modern highway. It was designed exclusively for the automobile and was an important milestone along the maturation path of the automobile as an irrefutable applicance in our everyday lives. The structure has the distinction of being a rare stretch of privately funded roadway and stretches of it survive today as bicycle paths and as portions of state road 67. But as an entity it passed into history in 1938 when sold to the state mostly as compensation for back taxes.
In 1907 the private investment group continually issued excessively optimistic forecasts for completion which frustrated many automobile manufacturers who had interest in continuing the competition for the Vanderbilt Cup and wanted to plan the development of expensive race cars and teams. Without firm commitments they did not want to assume the investment risk. While William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. was the president of the association the true driving force was Arthur R. Pardington, Vanderbilt's go-to guy for organizing his motorsport endeavors.
Peeling back the onion to reveal the real motivation, I believe, for the development of the LIMP was for a bunch of rich guys to have their own little autobahn-type stretch where they could drive the piss out of their European hot rods without putting up with police or common pedestrians. Willie K was infamous for his reckless ways and was one of the most despised men in Newport, Rhode Island - eventually leading to his departure from the community in a huff due to what he saw as police harrassment.
In the end, LIMP did provide a playground for Willie K and his colleagues but it never did live up to the original desired outcome of a private course that would protect the spectators of the Vanderbilt Cup from themselves. By 1910 the race was discontinued in Long Island because the LIMP never served as more that a stretch of several miles in the races from 1908 - 1910. Despite Pardington's assurrances the 1907 race had to be canceled and to some degree, I believe, contributed to Carl Fisher's decision to take matters into his own hands and build the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This specific article assumes that the chances of running a race in 1907 have been sharply improved by the formation of an association of millionaires and then speculates about the interest of American manufacturers in taking part.

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