World's Most Powerful Race Car - 1910


Easily one of the most impressive race cars - worldwide - of the first decade of the 20th century was known as the "Blitzen Benz." Unfortunately, few of even the most dedicated race fans today have heard of this groundbreaking masterpiece of engineering.
In 1909, this car was campaigned by the irascible, fearless Victor Hemery in Europe. The car was literally the fastest thing on Earth. Faster than locomotives, and easily more rapid than the fragile, low-powered aircraft of the day. It's 200 horsepower with torque that could twist a driveshaft into a pretzel was delivered to the wheels by massive chains. No venue was more ideal for the pride of Germany than England's concrete, high-banked speedway. It was there that Frenchman Hemery stood on the throttle to bust off the incredible speed of 127 miles per hour.

A race team customer of Benz in America was Barney Oldfield who owned an earlier generation Benz he put to good use. He racked up track records across the country and dominated the Remy Brassard race during the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's tragic, deadly race meet of 1909.
Still, Oldfield, despite being only 32 years old in 1910, was seen as a driver on the decline, "long in the tooth," to use a common phrase of the day. His critics labeled him a phony, a master of ballyhoo and a barnstormer presenting fixed exhibitions at county fairgrounds horse tracks in remote areas of America.
A proud man, Oldfield had made up his mind to purchase the big Benz and prove himself the fastest man on Earth. He planned to set the world's speed record on the shore of Daytona Beach and then campaign the car across the United States for a profitable tour.
In the end, that is exactly what he did. After setting the new speed mark of 131.7 miles per hour, he set off for California and worked his way across the continent. At Indianapolis, he set new American "track" records for the mile and kilometer. Even his critics gave grudging respect.
Before he purchased the car, one of his bidding competitors was none other than Indianapolis Motor Speedway Founder Carl Fisher, who entertained ideas of driving it himself. The more likely candidate, however, was 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Champion George Robertson.
What's great if you click thru is that you can get the full story of the car's importance, how it was brought to America, the contention for acquisition, and Oldfield's success at its wheel. After the AAA banned him for his outlaw racing, Oldfield sold the car to his old colleague Ernie Moross who inserted "Wild" Bob Burman who set a new world's speed record at Daytona and staged an exhibition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the day before the first "500." The Blitzen Benz' massive engine was far too big to meet the AAA rulebook of the time.
Come learn about this amazing race car and the personalities surrounding it. Come visit First Super Speedway.