Carl Fisher's Vanderbilt Cup Premier

This car has its own special place in auto racing history. Commissioned by Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher in 1905 (four years before the founding of IMS) the machine is a product of the Premier Motor Manufacturing Company. The car was developed to compete in the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race in Long Island, New York. The Vanderbilt Cup, first ran in 1904, was the major race in the United States during this time. The American automotive industry was years behind the French as well as Mercedes and Fiat and the failure of domestic cars to compete effectively was a constant concern.
Note this: the plaque describing the car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum was in error for decades, a mistake now rectified. The car was previously reported to have been constructed in 1903, but there was no Vanderbilt Cup in 1903. It was constructed probably in early 1905 in anticipation of that year's race.
Ever patriotic (and optimistic) Fisher was determined to prove that Americans could compete and met with Premier's chief engineer George Weidley and conceived of a giant (923.4 cubic inches) machine. The engine was air-cooled, the largest of its kind. The problem was the car exceeded the weight regulations - it was over the 2,200-pound maximum weight allowance by some 300 pounds. Fisher put the Premier boys to work drilling holes in the car and removing the drive shaft to be replaced by heavy-duty drive chains to each of the rear wheels. All of this was to no avail. Fisher pleaded his case but was rebuffed. Angered, he and Weidley placed an advertisement (when you click on "advertisement" you will need to sift through several pictures to find the ad image) in the trade papers criticising the Vanderbilt Cup's race commission for a lack of sportsmanship.
Until recently, the only record of the car ever competing was in a five-mile handicap race October 21, 1905, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds dirt oval. Fisher won after catching the final competitor he granted a head start on the last lap. He averaged 59.21 mph. However, First Super Speedway recently uncovered evidence the car was driven by A.C. Webb - the winner of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Trophy and a widely respected driver during the first decade of the 20th Century - in additional races.
For more information please see First Super Speedway's extensive analysis:

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