Barney Oldfield & Old Glory

Barney Oldfield's flair for promotion was reflected in the names he gave his cars. For most of his career, he operated his own race team, purchasing race cars he thought had the mechanical guts to allow him to stand on the throttle and annihilate records. The car names were all a part of the Oldfield brand. Check out a sample:

Among his cars was the National Motor Vehicle Company "Six," a machine he purchased in 1909 from the Indianapolis factory founded by Arthur C. Newby, who was also a founding father of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He dubbed the car "Old Glory," a moniker he hung on it to make his own - in no way was the name used by the manufacturer. "Old Glory" was officially a stock car, although all of such machines were allowed some level of modification per the American Automobile Association (AAA), such as monkeying with the wheelbase to shorten or elongate.
The June 24, 1909 Indianapolis News article in the attachment below reported on Oldfield receiving the car from the factory in Indianapolis. Part of the charm of the age I love is that he fired up the engine and drove it up and down the street in front of the factory. Imagine. You want to know something? The factory, although in disrepair, still stands today. Imagine again. You can go there and pace off the very ground the legendary Oldfield drove "Old Glory" over. It's absolutely breathtaking. 
The article describes the vibrant red, white and blue coloring of the American flag as the color scheme of the car. Across its hood, the American flag was painted. Also, note that the release of this information came in the days leading up to the Fourth of July holiday. Anyone that thinks that promotion is a phenomenon of recent decades should think about this very deliberate example to play to the newspapers. The report also indicates that Oldfield was negotiating contracts with promoters in Columbus, Ohio, and Detroit, the latter on July 4.

OldfieldNews062409.pdf548.63 KB