** The Great New York to Paris Auto Race (1907-08)

The Great New York to Paris Auto Race (1907-08)

Figure 1.-- Here we see American Thomas Automobile Company's Flyer entrangt driving through a town in Manchuria. There were roads in the town, ouside of the towns in Manchuria and Siberia they had to negotiate basically tracks. Firtunrelt the einter part of th rce wa in Americsa.

The autmobile was in infancy at the turn of the 20th century. It was not even clear what firm of propulsion would be adopyed. And there was no infrastrucgture. Inside big cities there ws no problem, but beyonf th cities there was no infrastruture, including gas stations and improvd roads. This was an especially serious proiblems ouside of the more urbanized Northeast. Ohrer issues were roadside reasturants, rioadmos, road signs, motels and much else. Outside of the big cities few people had seen car, even in Western Europe and America. In Asia there was no understanding that such contrption existed. The idea of automobile races had begun, but were still very new. We enjoyed the Tony Curtis movie -- "The Great Race" (1965) about an early around the World automobile race, but had no idea tht there actully was such a race. The Paris newspaper Le Matin and the New York Times announced that they were sponsoring 'The Great Race: New York to Paris by Automobile' (1907). The prize was a 1,400‐pound trophy and proving that the winning company built really impressive cars. The race began in Nre York's Times Square (February 12, 1908). There wre six cars entrbts from four countyries. (America, France, Germny, and Italy). It would become a 169-day test for first place winner and much longer for the Italians. The companies particioating no longer existed. Apparently the better estblished compnies did not wanbt to oiy up their cars against sych an absurd race. Apparently there wre no Amrerican entrants until President Roosevelt intervend as a point of national honor and got one compny, the Tomas Autmobile Compny to enter a car. across the United States, through areas with very few improved roads, and then north to Alaska (by boat) and then across the frozen Bering Strait into Siberia. Then across Siberia to Moscow and then on to Paris. The proposed route was actually basically that of the movie, although thy crossed the Pcific in ship rather than an iceberg. Crossing the still rther Wold West was a challrnge, crossing Manchuria abnd Siberia was a ninumental adventure. The winner was the American entant (Julkyu 30, 1908). The German tean arrived 4 days earlirr , but had cheated. The Italins Italians reached Paris in September. YThe Frencvh had to drop out because of mechanical proivlms.


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Created: 8:08 AM 2/21/2022
Last updated: 8:08 AM 2/21/2022