Jan 04 2020

Helck Family Collection:  Original Transcript- Willie K. and the “Race to Death”

Among the treasures of the Helck Family Collection is an original typewritten profile of William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. dated  November 26, 1969. This section  of the article describes Vanderbilt's participation in the 1903 Paris-Madrid Race which became known as the "Race of Death".

The article was later published by the Veteran Motor Car Club of America in the March-April 1970 of Bulb Horn.

Gain more insight into Willie K. at a special presentation at 7;00 pm, Tuesday, January 14, 20020 at the Bryant Library in Rosly,


Howard Kroplick

William K Vanderbilt, Jr. and his 80 HP Mors at the Paris-Madrid Race, May 24, 1903 -Howard Kroplick Collection

William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., preparing his 80 HP Mors at the 1903 Paris-Madrid Race. The race, with a planned course of over 816 miles, attracted 179 cars and 59 motorcycles.

Vanderbilt's Mors was streamlined with a unique split hood. As indicated by its number, Vanderbilt was scheduled to be be the 60th racer off the start/finish line. However, he approached on the wrong side of the timer and was temporarily disqualified. He eventually started 64th.

Vanderbilt's car broke down early in the race before the entire race was stopped by the French government at Bordeaux due to multiple accidents and deaths.


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