Friday, October 24, 2014
October 24: Locomobile becomes first U.S. car to win an international race on this date in 1908
In F. Scott Fitzgerald's "This Side of Paradise," the appearance of a "magnificent Locomobile" gives rise to the novel's closing debate about capitalism and socialism.
That the Locomobile appears at all was thanks to this machine, the Locomobile Old 16, which on this date in 1908 won the Vanderbilt Cup race in New York – the first time a U.S.-built automobile had triumphed over then-dominant European machines. Its 16-liter engine — about three times the displacement of a modern Corvette V-8 — made all of 120 hp, and the car itself cost $20,000 to build, a massive sum in the era.
Today, Old 16 resides in The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich., having never been restored; fortunately someone was able to capture its sound when it was run for the final time in 2008: