Rule Makers Convene in Indy - 1909

The first attachment to this entry contains an article on a convention for the rule makers of auto racing in 1909 to tackle the pressing issues of managing competition events. Logically the men involved decided to coincide their meeting with the upcoming first automobile races held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway races held August 19 - 21. It originally appeared in the August 15, 1909, Indianapolis Star.
The article presents a confusing array of acronyms: M.C.C., N.A.C., and M.C.A. all affiliated with automobile manufacturers involved with motorsport. Frustrating and typical of news reports in the day the acronyms are never explained. However, the key organization from other reports was the M.C.A. or the Manufacturers' Contest Association. The M.C.A. was developed to establish the technical rules for racing cars and submit them to the American Automobile Association (AAA) Contest Board.
Some of the acronyms may be typos as I am unsure about M.C.C. or N.A.C., but Howard M. Coffin was at one point (1912) president of the M.C.A. Coffin had a long career in the auto industry and held a number of leadership positions with a variety of companies. He is referred to in the attached article as the chairman of the general rules committee of the M.C.C. and apparently was the driving force in organizing the meeting in Indianapolis. I just have to wonder if the article meant to say, "M.C.A." and simply made a misprint. Nonetheless, the important point is that the manufacturers were taking the occasion to develop their rules input for 1910.
The article lists the following as their agenda and serves as an insight to the concerns of the day:

  1. Recommendations as to changes in the classifications and weights for the 1910 season.
  2. Changes to be recommended to the Contest Board for the American Automobile Association rules of 1910.
  3. The possibility of the support by the Manufacturers' Contest Association of an impartial and thoroughly capable technical committee, which shall serve at all competitive contests.
  4. The arrangement of a definite and logical schedule of all important contests for the season 1910, with a view to the announcement in September of this year of the approximated date, character and general conditions governing all such events: (From information at hand it is a certainty that the promoters of all annual events will for 1910 be very glad to cooperate as may be suggested by the M.C.A. in so scheduling these contests as to avoid interference of dates. The interests of the promoter and of the manufacturer who is asked to support the contest with entries are mutual.)
  5. National events. How many shall be supported and of what character?
  6. International events. How many shall be supported and of what character?
  7. Endurance contests. Action to be taken upon the recommendation made by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers that only one endurance contest be scheduled for any one section of the country and not more than four be supported by manufacturers' entries.
  8. Road racing versus track events upon specially constructed speedways of any less than two miles in circumference.
  9. Shall racing upon existing mile and half-mile horse tracks be countenanced or supported in any way?
  10. A standard electrical timing device for the elimination of human error in the timing of all important speed events.
  11. A satisfactory definition of the term "Stock Car."
  12. Steps to ensure the enforcement of the rule governing the character of the publicity matter employed by any maker covering the performance of his cars in any contests. All such publicity must be in accordance with the facts.
  13. A formula for the proper comparison of the performance of steam and gasoline motors.

In this agenda, a few items jump out at me. One is the (#9) debate about using dirt horse tracks. Another is addressed by several points and that is the frequency of auto races (especially numbers 6, 7, 8). The definition of a stock car (#11) and accuracy in advertising.
A second attachment (IMSNews081809)  on the same topic appeared on August 18 in the Indianapolis News. According to this article, the meeting being reported was to take place the following day, August 19 at the glorious Claypool Hotel - a building it was a crime to raze years later.
M.C.A. Vice President H.O. Smith of Premier predicted any changes to be introduced would probably focus on car classifications. This article is valuable in that it lists several leaders of the automobile industry in the day. Let's take a look:

These were the men who authored a report on car classifications. Note the absence of a steam car manufacturer. To that point, Windsor White was on the M.C.A. board of directors.
The directors of the M.C.A. are also listed in the attached article. Dig this:

The general rules committee consisted of the following executives:

Yet another committee, referred to as an "advisory committee," is also shared in this article:

  • E.P. Chalfant (Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers)
  • S.A. Miles (National Association of Automobile Manufacturers)
  • E. Rand Hollander (Importers Automobile Salon)
IMSrules091509.pdf1.28 MB
IMSNews081809.pdf8.26 MB