Oct 17 2012

1904 Renault Vanderbilt Cup Racer

The Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) has forwarded this marvelous photo from their archives of the 1904 Renault Vanderbilt Cup Racer.

The photo shows driver Maurice Bernin and his mechanician Felix Prossen preparing the 90-HP Renault for the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race. Bernin was the chauffeur for its owner W. Gould Brokaw.


Howard Kroplick

As printed in the 1904 race program, the Renault represented France and was assigned #11. It was the only car built by Renault for racing in 1904.

The racer on the starting line on Jericho Turnpike in Westbury. The car finished 13th of the 18 entrants after cracking a cylinder and crankcase on the second lap on Massapequa-Bethpage Road.

The owner of the Renault was W. Gould Brokaw seen in the amazing leopard coat. Great Neck resident Brokaw is considered a possible inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby

As noted by Jean-Yves Lassaux, a different Renault was driven by Ferenc Szisz in the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race. "The 1905 Renault made its first race in the French elimination trial for the 1905 Gordon Bennett Cup. The first three qualified for the Gordon Bennett Cup and the 4th (Darracq), 5th (Renault) and 6th (Panhard-Levassor) qualified for the Vanderbilt Cup Race representing France. Then the Renault travelled to America and was slightly modified to match the American's rules for the Vanderbilt Cup, and received a new bonnet to solve some overheating problems."

More information on W. Gould Brokaw


Oct 18 2012 Jean-Yves Lassaux 6:31 AM

Hi Howard,
Beautiful photo indeed!
The second picture (caption “Another view of Bernin and…”) is in fact Ferenc Szisz at the wheel of the Renault prior to the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup.
This car was the same (slightly modified) that Szisz drove 5th in the french elimination trial for the 1905 Gordon Bennett Cup held june 16 on the “Circuit d’Auvergne”, France.

Oct 18 2012 Howard Kroplick 11:37 AM

Thanks Jean-Yves. Correction has been made.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.