Indianapolis Star 1908 Glidden Tour Coverage

This is a collection of articles covering the 1908 Glidden Tour that were published in the Indianapolis Star. These are listed in chronological order, starting with an image of the Hower Trophy which was founded by Frank B. Hower. The Glidden (see the Star's 1907 coverage)is the most historically significant of these early 20th Century "Reliability Runs," very much a form of rally racing where speed was not the objective - but more a controlled pace, and in this case the average for the 1,700 mile journey was 20 MPH. Scores were kept in the form of demerits due to not maintaining a prescribed pace and for mechancial issues.  Proponents of this category of automobile competition believed these were truest of tests because they utilized stock cars, the products that consumers purchased and not what some pejoratively labeled "freak racers" purpose-built for speed and nothing like what dealers made avaialbe to the average person.
Attachment HowerTrophy060708 contains an image of the reward (published June 6, 1908), which, according to the information was the first year that a plaque was provided instead of a loving cup style trophy. This award was for a category of car referred to as a "runabout," or a smaller, less expensive version of the full-scale cars that competed for the Glidden Cup - which was initiated by telecommunications millionaire turned automobile advocate, Charles J. Glidden. Attachment HowerTrophy060708i describes plans for the 1908 edition of the event, including that there were to be two classes of cars in the category, Classes A and B - as determined by list price of the manufacturer.
Weeks prior to the tour (attachment MarmonReliability062808) Nordyke & Marmon, the company that produced the Marmon automobiles, conducted test drives through hilly Brown County, Indiana to give their drivers a feel for the terrain they would encounter in the mountainous region of New York. One particularly steep grade was encountered at Bearwallow Hill. The cars, three 1909 50 HP water cooled seven passenger machines, were reported to have performed flawlessly. They covered 160 miles with Howard Marmon, Walter Marmon and H.G. Shafer were driving.
Two articles in attachment Glidden070508 (published Sunday, July 5) describe plans for the Glidden and Hower Tours which were set to begin the next Thursday, July 9, 1908. The articles provide good detail on the route of the tours including a list of the cities the group was to begin and stop in each day. The route was to begin in Buffalo on July 9 and end in Saratoga Springs July 23. The route called for stops at various points in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maine. Frank B. Hower, who provided the Hower Trophy served as the American Automobile Association (AAA) tour committee chairman. The AAA sanctioned the event. The larger of the two articles goes into detail on the tour route while the more brief article highlights entries built in Indianapolis by Premier and Overland. The entire distance of the route was reported to be 1,700 miles.
The article in attachment Glidden071008 reports on the first day of the tour from Buffalo, New York to Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania passing along the shores of Lake Erie and through New York vineyards. The weather was pleasant and other than dusty roads the "Gliddenites" as they were called faced few travails. The exceptions were a Peerless that clobbered a telephone pole to break its frame forcing its owner to withdraw from the event and a Franklin that broke a spring but was able to continue on to the leg's destination. Indiana-built cars reportedly arrived on time and without demerits. Noteworthy considering the social moors of the day was that at least one of the Indiana cars was driven by a woman.
The article in attachment Gliden071108 reports on the second day (July 10) of the tour, a 125-mile jaunt from Cambridge Springs to Pittsburgh. The big news was the demise of a Garford automobile driven by engineer H.A. Van Tine who apparently lost control on wet brick pavement in Newcaslte, Pennsylvania. The car slammed into a curb and broke off a rear wheel. While it could be repaired and the owners planned to continue running the AAA ruled it out of the contest. Entered by the Cleveland Automobile Club, the set back virtually eliminated the team from any chance of winning the competition. Another car, a Gyroscope competing for the Hower Trophy, was reported missing in action at the end of the day. Upon reaching Pittsburgh many of the teams reported that the roads of the route had been good but they had encountered sub-standard bridges with wood planks missing. Rain was predicted for the following day, Saturday, July 11.
Attachment Glidden071208i contains an Indianapolis Star article from the July 12 paper that shares that many local people were disappointed that they did not get to ride along on the tour. It was not uncommon for people to ride on the tour given that these were stock cars and seated at least two people and in most cases more. These were probably people of social standing or some kind of influence who simply wanted to be in the middle of the spotlight.
The article in attachment Glidden071708 was published Friday, July 17 and covers the events of the previous day. The big excitement of this day was the narrow escape of Joan Cuneo and the occupants of her Rainier automobile. Waved through a railway crossing by a negligent flagman Cuneo realized at the last moment that a train was bearing down on the intersection. Instinctively Cuneo threw her car into a slide, crashing into the rail crossing gate sideways but averting catastrophy. Cuneo's actions may have made her the hero of the entire tour as praise for her skill and alertness was heaped upon her. Meanwhile driver Joe Moore and his Indianapolis-built Premier car for the Buffalo Auto Club endured a penalty when a steering knuckle broke on a sharp turn.
Two articles of significance were published in the Indianapolis Star on Sunday, July 19. The first here (attachment Glidden071908) discusses the value of the tour in general and the strong appetite the public had for news on the events. The typical rationale for endurance tests is offered, again explaining that the tough grind of the tour helps consumers assess what cars to purchase. An interesting point is made in the final paragraph to suggest that the tours were far more appealing to the public than speed contests - an allegation that history has debunked. The second article from the same day (attachment MarmonGlidden071908) is a bit more substantive with a local angle for the Indianapolis paper with updates on cars built in that city. The fortunes of the Marmon machines, especially those entered by the Boston Automobile Club - which, incidentally, only entered Indianapolis-built products - are highlighted as those cars continued to wage battle without incurring any demerits. Walter Marmon is named among the drivers.
Ironically enough it was one of those great running little Marmons that figured at the center of controversy with Tour Chairman Hower of the AAA (see the article in attachment Glidden072208). When driver William Clark came, in the Chairman's view, too close to his pace-setting car the Marmon driver was ordered to slow down. Subsequent brake issues with the Marmon car forced a further delay and between the two incidents Clark was 10 minutes late arriving at his control point and was penalized. Walter Marmon protested that Hower contributed to the delay by ordering the first speed reduction but the Chairman would hear none of it. This created discontent in the Marmon camp but such is the nature of sport. This leg of the trip was from Poland Springs to Rangley and the roads were held to be in poor condition.
Clark again figured prominently in the news of the penultimate day of the tour, July 22 when his car collided with a horse-drawn wagon. Clark was taken to the nearest hospital with what were feared to be serious injuries and his Marmon car was too badly damaged to continue in competition. Tour Committee Chairman Hower and Glidden Cup trophy donor Charles Glidden were also involved in a mishap involving their pacesetter Pierce automobile. Neither man was injured. All this action was reported in an article that can be found in attachment Glidden072308).
Several days after the tour, on August 1, (see article in attachment Glidden080208) the Indianapolis-built machines that participated returned home. One Marmon, driven by Frank Wing (who also competed in the 1906 Glidden Tour) and two Premiers - one driven by Chief Company Engineer George Weidley - completed the 1,700 mile test with perfect scores. Two weeks later Premier President H.O. Smith was interviewed in the article in attachment Glidden081608 sharing his thoughts - with which he believed all the Glidden and Hower contestants agreed - that the 1908 edition of the event was the toughest, most severe test to that date. He especially cited the mountainous area - a 60 mile stretch - from Rangely to Bethlehem as "long, steep, winding and slippery." In particular he called out stony, deep, clay mud ruts in the "lofty Saddleback Range." Naturally he repeated the news of the perfect score of his company's car.
In another article also published August 16, 1908 (attachment Cuneo081608) the "hero" of the Tour Joan Cuneo was interviewed. Cuneo expressed her views that women should have no fear of driving cars across country and there should be no shock in the notion that they were fully capable. She cited another example of a group of women who driving cross-country at the time of the interview.

HowerTrophy060708.pdf459.92 KB
HowerTrophy060708i.pdf186.09 KB
MarmonReliability062808.pdf614.96 KB
Glidden070508.pdf865.88 KB
Glidden071008.pdf384.24 KB
Gliden071108.pdf410.63 KB
Glidden071208i.pdf419.07 KB
Glidden071708.pdf224.8 KB
Glidden071908.pdf442.54 KB
MarmonGlidden071908.pdf573.46 KB
Glidden072208.pdf228.35 KB
Glidden072308.pdf235.51 KB
Glidden080208.pdf470 KB
Glidden081608.pdf487.98 KB
Cuneo081608.pdf295.39 KB