Feb 01 2016

Mystery Foto #5 Solved: 1911 Stoddard Dayton at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum

I found this weekend's Mystery Foto in my archives.

Mystery Foto questions:

  • Identify this automobile and its first owner

This is the 1911 Stoddard Dayton that is the actual automobile or replica of the car owned by Carl G. Fisher, one of the four co-founders of the speedway and its first president.

  • Why is this automobile historically signifcant? Hint (1/30/16): It achieved a historic first at a major race.

The 1911 Stoddard Dayton was the first pace car in a major race. Starting on the pole position at the beginning of the 1911 race, Fisher was the "pacemaker" leading the automobiles for one lap at 40 miles per hour before the race began.

  • Where is it located today?

This automobile is on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

Congrats and kudos to Randy Reed, Gary Hammond, and Andrea Fedi who correctly identified the 1911 Stoddard Dayton.


Howard Kroplick

The Hoosier Barnum: Carl G. Fisher

Carl Fisher in the 1905 Premier Racer which he hoped to compete in the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

Carl Fisher flying a Stoddard Dayton over the Indy speedway in October 1908. Fisher owned a Stoddard Dayton dealership in Indianapolis.

Trying out the unfinished track in 1909.

1911 Indy 500 Race, May 30, 1911

Fisher in the driver's seat of the Stoddard Dayton in the pole position before beginning the 40-mile per hour parade lap.

My film of the 1911 Indy 500 Race. Fisher and the Stoddard Fisher can be seen at the 0:38 second mark.

The lap as reported in The Automobile, June 1, 1911

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum

Photographed by Howard Kroplick on May 25, 2011.

Additional Resources

 Hemmings, June 2010: Pacing the Brickyard
Firstsuperspeedway.com Indianapolis Star, May 17, 1911 "Fisher is Pacemaker"
Hemmings, May 2005: The story behind the 1910 Stoddard Dayton


Jan 29 2016 Ted 12:25 AM

Omg,I’ve seen this car and know that it’s historical,got some searching and brain racking to do and hope I come up with something

Jan 31 2016 Randy Reed 3:05 AM

This car is a 1911 Stoddard-Dayton that is representing the pace car for the 1911 Indy race in the Indy Hall of Fame Museum. There is some question as to whether this is the actual car. The original car was owned by Carl Fisher as he was the local Stoddard-Dayton dealer. It was the first time an automobile was used to pace and start a major auto race. In 1990 we had a celebration of the 1915 Point Loma Road Race in San Diego. We were fortunate in that there was a locally-owned Stoddard just like the one in the photo and the owner kindly brought it to our event and drove it as the pace car for the two laps of the course.

Jan 31 2016 Rich 9:09 AM

Don’t know, but it’s another gem!

Jan 31 2016 Gary Hammond 9:15 AM

This is the Stoddard Dayton which served as the Pace Car for the first Indy 500 Race in 1911, as well as the 1913 & 1914 races.  It was driven by Carl G. Fisher, one of the founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  It was manufactured by the Dayton Motor Car Co., of Dayton, Ohio, and named for John W. Stoddard & son Charles, principals in the company.  The B&W photo shows the large brass intertwined initials CGF, along with the Stoddard Dayton name mounted on the front of the radiator.  The auto is shown on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.

Jan 31 2016 Andrea Fedi 10:38 AM

This is Carl Fisher’s Stoddard Dayton. It was the pace car at the first Indianapolis 500 Race, and it can be seen in the Hall of Fame building, in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield.

Jan 31 2016 Bob Deull 5:32 PM

1908 Thomas Flyer

Jan 31 2016 Howard Kroplick 10:15 PM

From George Bartunek:

Mystery foto #5 is the 1908 Thomas Flyer that won the NY to Paris race. My humble opinion is that it should not have been restored.
Several years ago I had the opportunity of seeing the runner up in the race in Munich, the German Protos.

Feb 01 2016 Art Kleiner 12:44 PM

Only going to go with a Thomas Flyer circa 1908-1912.

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