Centennial Celebration 1908 - 2008
NY to Paris Car Race - an epic test of men and machines
Times Square, New York City February 12,1908 with over 250,000 cheering the start of a race to circle the globe from New York to Paris by auto! It would become the longest automobile competition in history, often with no roads & during a bitter cold winter. The Around the World Auto Race would cover 22,000 miles in 169 days!
(Click images to enlarge)
The 1907 Thomas Flyer at $4,000 was a proven machine. Weighing 5,000 pounds loaded, it's 4 cylinder 60 hp engine could speed along at 60 mph. However, the car offered little in rider comfort or amenities.
With no roads, the Flyer is designated as Union Pacific Train #49. Rules forbid riding the rails, so they straddled them bumping along tie to tie for hundreds of miles. A Union Pacific Conductor even rode with the Thomas!
Where there were no rails, the Thomas was often forced to go "cross country", long before the days of 4WD. Here, the car mired in quicksand, has broken the pinion gear. It was repaired in the creek bed.
The Thomas enters Berlin on July 27. It was then on to Paris arriving 6PM, July 30. At 169 days, the Americans won by 26 days ahead of the Germans. The Italians finished third in Paris September 17, 1908.
A heroes welcome and ticker tape parade greeted the winners upon their triumphant return to New York. President Teddy Roosevelt (the first President to drive an automobile) invited the Team and the Thomas to join him at his summer White House in Sagamore Hill, Long Island.
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