Auto Show @ IMS - 1910

This article was originally published in the April 1, 1910 Indianapolis Star. It was a report on the Indianapolis Auto Show's presentation of testing and agility events for manufacturers appearing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. These events were odd by today's standards but were designed to illustrate the ease of handling cars offered and the comfortable riding qualities expecially in light of road conditions of the day. This event is further evidence of the vision of the founders to position the new track as a multi-purpose facility. Collaborating with the Indianapolis auto industry, one of the goals was to compete with New York for the most prestigious annual automobile show.
According to the article the event attracted some 5,000 spectators. Music provided by the Indianapolis Military Band added to a festive atmosphere. A smattering of big-name race drivers participated, including Harry Endicott and Johnny Aitken. There were six events that were not about speed but agility. For instance, one event had participants traverse a slalom of ten baskets while a passenger attempted to toss a potato into each of them while the driver maintained a set speed. Other events were:

  • Balloon popping - balloons were affixed to the Brickyard track in an "S" layout and drivers had to alternate between popping them with their left and right front tires.
  • Circus ring stunt - drivers and a passenger passed under a series of rings hung five feet above their heads. While the car was moving the passenger had to toss a hat through the ring and then catch it when they passed out from underneath.
  • Juggling contest - while the driver traversed an obstacle course the passenger had to keep a rubber ball in a spoon.
  • Cane-ring contest - a series of poles lined the outer edge of the course nearest the main grandstand and the passenger tried to toss rings over and onto the poles as they drove by.
  • Teeter-Totter contest - the challenge was for the driver to blance his car on a giant teeter-totter. This event reportedly attracted greatest interest.

Officials of the event:

  • Lew Wainwright, referee
  • Charles C. Hanch, judge
  • John D. Orman, judge
  • B.C. Dowse, judge
  • James Allison, judge
  • George Dickson, clerk of the course (National Motor Vehicle Co. Executive)
  • J.A. Barclay, assistant clerk of the course
  • Harry Hammond, assistant clerk of the course
  • Harry Stutz, starter

The attached PDF also includes two sidebar articles. One concerns a protest of the results of the Auto Show's Floral Parade which was filed with E.R. Vincent. Vincent chaired the committee to run the parade. The protest was written by a Mrs. Ed Rosenberg of 2637 College Avenue in Indianapolis. Rosenberg's concern was that a local auto dealer, Edward Sourbier, had been awarded second place for his flower decoration scheme on his Marion car. Also, in a clear violation of the rules, the car carried a placard advertising its make.
A second sidebar notes that Will H. Brown, vice president of the Overland Automobile Company, entertained his employees the previous evening. The goodwill gesture was carried out at the Colonial Theater, an Indianapolis landmark.

IMScircus040110.pdf972.27 KB