1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race

This is the story of America's first international road race, the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup. Commissioned by William K. Vanderbilt Jr., the millionaire scion of one of America's richest families, this was the first major road race held in the United States. Indeed, aside from the 1904 race meet at Ormond-Daytona Beach in January - February 1904, this first Vanderbilt Cup was the first major auto race in the United States.
Attracting entries from the major European auto producing countries: France, Germany and Italy, the new race afforded American manufacturers their best opportunity to compete with the world's finest car manufacturers. Vanderbilt's stated goal was to create a competition to awaken the American manufacturers to the steps they needed to take to produce world-class product. Conducted over some 28 miles of public roads on Long Island, New York, the race was frequently a breath-taking game of Russian Roulette as irresponsible spectators literally ran onto or across the course during the contest just to get closer to the cars. The sense of a different age is communicated with details of the course's preparation through such steps as pouring 90,000 gallons of raw petroleum to settle dust on the dirt and Macadam roads. This time capsule appeared on the 100th anniversary of the original event as part of the 2004 Formula One USGP program.

Vanderbilt_Cup_Race.pdf17.05 MB