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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

The Great Race: 1908

The Great Race: 1908

February 12, 1908. "Scarfoglio and companions in Zust car, New York," at the start of the New York to Paris automobile race of 1908, in which the contestants drove west across the continent to San Francisco, continued to Alaska by ship, took a steamer across the Bering Strait and continued the land journey in Siberia. View full size. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. Below, the competition itinerary as printed in the January 26, 1908, New York Times.

 

Monty Python

The driver looks like Graham Chapman of Monty Python: "...ello, ello, ello! What's all this then?"

2 more hours down the drain

Just finished Link 1 to old cars and don't know whether to thank you or curse you. Once in, I couldn't stop. Thanks for the wonderful distractions you so often provide.

Back from the Dead

More on the Zust and its restoration:

Link 1

Link 2

New York to Paris

In 1908 automobiles were unreliable in every respect, especially the tires. There probably weren't any suitable maps even across the US lower 48, not to mention Alaska. As far as I know, there are no roads from Fairbanks to Nome today.

The Siberian leg of this would be tough even today; and in 1908 they would have had to stage their own gasoline and other mechanical necessities. Those things would have to be hauled in by rail where it existed, otherwise by horses. The route description just blithely mentions Irkutsk then Moscow. This was a massive undertaking.

The Italian team

The three in the picture would have been the Italian team: Antonio Scarfoglio (a reporter for Il Mattino, at the wheel), Giulio Sirtori (main driver), and Heinrich Haaga (the mechanic).

I love this photo, the look on their faces and most of all, those awesome coats. I want that look for me.

Zust driver

What a combination of confidence in the face of risk and derring-do.

Great Race Documentary

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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