Oldfield, "Senator" William Morgan, 1909-10

This collection of articles is from 1910 & 1909. On the first page, far left column is an article written by "Senator" William J. Morgan, the man who conceived the original Ormond-Daytona Beach time trials from 1903 through 1910. Morgan's article promotes another proposed attraction that would pit four marketable drivers in a contest that he obviously believed could be billed as a major championship. The drivers were Barney Oldfield, Ralph De Palma, J. Walter Christie and Maurice Bernin. Bernin, a former chauffeur of W. Gould Brokaw - the scion of a family of millionaires - did not enjoy the success of the others, but his French heritage was used by some promoters to claim "international" status for some events.
The other articles in this collection were apparently from a newspaper serving Erie, Pennsylvania and published in 1909. Evidence of this comes directly from one of the clips when it reports on Oldfield's opinion of events that took place just weeks prior at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is the second article I have seen where Oldfield is critical of Speedway management and the preparation of the track. A final point is that these two articles juxtapose Oldfield's "Big Benz" cars of 1909 and 1910. This has been a point of confusion among the most elite of auto racing historians. Many feel the Benz Oldfield drove in 1909 was the "Blitzen Benz" or "Lightning Benz" (one in the same, Barney referred to it with the latter moniker). This is not true. The Benz he drove in 1909 was actually the Benz that 1905 Vanderbilt Cup winner Victor Hemery drove in a French Grand Prix. Perhaps most notably, he used this Hemery GP Benz to capture the 25 mile open race at the first automobile race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August 1909. He did not purchase the Blitzen Benz (the name most frequently used today and appears on the side of most replicas of the car) until late 1909 or early 1910. The Blitzen Benz was used to set an unofficial world land speed record of 131.7 MPH in March 1910.

Oldfield_Walter_Christie.pdf1.2 MB