Moross' IMS Race Team - 1910

This article was originally published in the April 24, 1910 Indianapolis Star. It concerns an announcement by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Director of Contests Ernie Moross that the Speedway would organize a race team designated by IMS insignia-adorned apparel. This was primarily a sweater in the colors of specific Indianapolis-based factories. Marmon (yellow), National Motor Vehicle Company (blue) and Marion (red) are specifically called out. Cole and Empire are also mentioned as preparing to join the effort but no team colors had been decided. Moross was given the byline for the article.
While the article refers to adorned drivers as a "team," it really comes off more like a cooperative advertising or co-branding program. Nordyke & Marmon were indicating they would field six cars for the various American Automobile Association (AAA) 1910 classes. One was called "a special racing car" built for free-for-all classes. I believe this was the Marmon Wasp.
National was reported to be assembling a team of seven cars. Six were for the stock chassis classes with one special, purpose-built machine. The article claims this was the largest race team ever assembled by a manufacturer up to that time.
What is referred to as "the great Fiat" is also reported to be part of the team and entered by Moross. That is an interesting point in that Moross may have been pulling double duty as a Speedway executive and independent car owner. I believe this is the "Fiat Giant" that Lewis Strang drove the previous year.
Upcoming races at Atlanta were mentioned as the first events for the newly branded cars or "team" to appear. This is significant as I see it as further evidence of the ongoing rivalry between the Indianapolis and Atlanta-based racing facilities and the idea of having an IMS fleet of racers invading their grounds was a statement. The Indianapolis-based manufacturers apparently saw strong promotional value in the team concept and the article stresses that even Detroit - with its larger overal product output and factory capacity - trailed Indianapolis in fielding cars for competitive events. 
Moross stresses the benefits of full-on auto racing in product development. To this end he quotes a very credible advocate of this position in Howard Marmon. Marmon said:
"Most of the experimental work which we have done to develop our motor construction has been accomplished through the medium of speed and contests. Long races that test the durability of a car and require the highest efficiency of motor construction show any imperfections that exist. Our cars have always been piloted by drivers who have been unknown to fame until our consistent performing and winning machines made them reputations while we have benefited by observing them and noting the lessons that their performances have developed. Most factories confine their experimental work to the experimental department, or the result of the observations gleaned from testing out under ordinary conditions, also what they learn from the actual use of their cars by customers. Others adopt the same policy excepting they add touring or reliability contests. For this purpose, however, in most cases the reputation of their cars are so much at stake that they employ their designers, or the best talent in their factories, to bring them through with a perfect score."
Those last couple of sentences of Marmon's quote reflect a debate of the times: which style of auto competition yeilded the most useful information for product development. The high speed contests had their advocates while others pointed to reliability runs headed by the Glidden Tour. Marmon continues his commentary along this vein:
"A perfect score for a car in a tour that is piloted by experts, the car being one of a dozen that finishes with a perfect score, simply proves that they are as good as others in that event if handled by an expert. A race won by one of our cars, however, proves not only that it is as good as the other cars entered but that it is better in order to defeat them all. And the fact that the car is driven by one of our testers who is sure to be an inferior mechanic compared with a designer, is all the more in favor of the quality of the car. The manufacturer owes it to the purchasing public touse every effort that he can possibly adopt to bring his product to the greatest efficiency. That is one of the reasons that we sacrifice output to build our parts, so as to see that only the fest and finest material is used. The fact that we finish first almost every time our cars start proves that they are just a little better than the other fellow's car and it has been by proving this fact as well as the theory that a demand has been created for Marmon cars and makes the product with our present plant capacity possible."
If you open the attachment note that the above paragraph containing the quote has utilitarian value in that the quality of the copy at that point (in the attachment) is very poor. Be assured that what I typed is both accurate and far more legible than the image of the original article. Also, there is a partially obscured article about AAA Contest Board Chairman Sam Butler discussing the development of a sanctioned "race circuit" on the West Coast. That article appears in full with my analysis elsewhere on First Super Speedway.

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