Vanderbilt Cup, 100 Years Ago Today


One hundred years ago today the penultimate William K. Vanderbilt Jr. Cup race on Long Island, New York was ran. After 1910, the race was organized in other cities across the United States. This was the latest date any of the Vanderbilt Cup Races ran on Long Island. Complicating matters was unseasonably cold temperatures described by those on hand as "December-like." Evidence of this was that the water hoses in the pit area were frozen solid when race officials arrived in the morning.


The winner of the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup was Harry Grant in an Alco (American Locomotive Company) racer he nicknamed "the Black Beast." He returned the following year to repeat as Vanderbilt Cup champion with the same car. Grant and the Alco entered the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911, but by then the car's engine was getting tired and cracked a cylinder to finish 33rd of 40 competitors. It is also worth noting that in addition to the Vanderbilt Cup, the event had two support races on the card: the Massapequa Sweepstakes and the Wheatley Hills Sweepstakes. The winner of the Wheatley Hills race? None other than Ray Harroun.


The following slide show was prepared by Howard Kroplick, the world' foremost authority on the Vanderbilt Cup and the owner of the winning Alco, which still exists, is fully restored and winning concours d' elegance events.