Dec 06 2014

The Vintage Automobiles of the 80th Anniversary of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race

Walter Gosden provides the second post of a series on the 80th Anniversary of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race with a focus on ten participating vintage automobiles. These articles are supplemented with photos from Walter McCarthy.


Howard Kroplick

The Vintage Automobiles of the 80th Anniversary Celebration of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race

By Walt Gosden

There was an incredible turnout of pre WII cars for the October 23, 1988 Long Island Old Car Club 80th Anniversary celebration of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup
Race. It was probably the most well attended anniversary of the Vanderbilt Cup Race anniversaries that the LIOCC ever sponsored. The reaction of the participants was: "Wow, can you believe the people and cars that showed up?!"

Due to the location of the Maine Maid Inn in Jericho, there were few general public spectators there, as the Inn was not on a main road so people driving by in modern cars could see the activity and then stop by to look . This all happened 26 years ago, and for me personally it seems a little weird that if you bought a brand new car in that year and were driving by; today in 2014 you could enter the same car in an AACA event for judging etc as it is considered by them to be an "antique" because it is 25 years old. Go figure!

Here were ten of the participating automobiles:


1906 "Old 16" Locomobile- Winner of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race, Owner: Jerry Helck

1906/1907 Renault Vanderbilt Racer, Owner Ledyard Pfund

1937 Bentley Drophead, Owner: Bill Neilson

1916 Pierce "66" Tourer, Owner: John LeBaire

The coachwork was designed and built by John LeBaire, as he bought the car without a body.

1927 Rolls Royce Phantom I, Owner: Walt Gosden

Trouville town car with a Brewster body

1931 Franklin Victoria Brougham, Owner: Walt Gosden

Body by Derham

1931 Duesenberg, Owner: Ethan Turner

1910 Packard Touring Car, Owner: Sam Greco , Sr.

1909 Locomobile Touring, Owner Walt McCarthy

1910 Simplex Toy Tonneau, Owner: Henry Austin Clark, Jr.


Dec 07 2014 Alan Ballard 11:08 AM

Yes, it was a wonderful event. I drove up from Philadelphia with my son and friend Binney Beale. David Helck took my son Jeff for an unforgettable ride in Old 16 and we were passengers in John LeBaire’s magnificent PIerce 66 for the tour.

The only sad note was standing next to Jerry Helck when the state trooper told him that Priscilla had just died.

Dec 07 2014 Howard Kroplick 8:02 PM

From Janet Guthrie:

Hi Howard—

I remember many enjoyable conversations with Ledyard Pfund at the Madison Avenue Sport Car Driving and Chowder Society’s meetings (still run by by my long-time friend Bruce Wennerstrom) at Sardi’s in the 1970s, but I never knew he owned a car or cars like the one shown.  Many thanks!

Janet Guthrie

Dec 08 2014 Walt Gosden 10:14 AM

The Renault race car that “Ledgie” Pfund owned was found and purchased by Austin Clark. It sat in a back shed at his museum for many years, and Austin came to an agreement with Ledgie that they would both have half interest in ownership of Ledgie had the car restored, which he did. I never heard that the car ran properly under his ownership, and in fact Austin sold out his interest in the car after a few years once it had been restored .

Dec 11 2014 Tom 10:00 PM

Love that ‘31 Duesenberg!  To see one in person is truly special!

Apr 05 2015 Robert G Thomas 5:26 PM

Used to stop by and visit Ledge when was restoring the Renault.

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