Aug 09 2016

October 23, 1958 Newsday: The Races That Made History

On the 50th anniversary of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race, Newsday published a celebratory article "The Races That Made History." The article is particularly noteworthy because it included one of the last interviews with George Robertson, the winner of the 1908 race.

Below is the 1958 article and the images and captions that accompanied it.


Howard Kroplick

Note: There was a 50th anniversary celebration in 1958 featuring Old 16 at Roosevelt Raceway.

Note: The correct name for the road was the Lond Island Motor Parkway not the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway.

George Robertson: "It took an ox to turn the wheel and there were 100 pounds of pressure on the clutch pedal. After you pushed that down every minute or so for four hours you walked sideways. Near the end of the race I overtook the Thomas. He was in the middle of the road and I couldn't budge him. I yelled to my mechanic. Throw the tire wench at the... He put a dent in the Thomas'gas tank, they pulled over and I got by."

Note: There were two deaths, not four, in the 1910 race.

Locomobile #16 skids around the Westbury Turn (Jericho Turnpike and Ellison Road) in the 1908 race which it went on to win, becoming the first American car to capture the cup.

Rain or shine. the car-happy races would run according to the 1904 poster.

The Vanderbilt Cup was 31 inches high and depicted William K. Vanderbilt, jr. in his Mercedes.

Spectators move back off the course as No 16 literally flies over the Ellison Road railroad bridge in Westbury with all four wheels off the ground.

William K. Vanderbilt, Jr accompanied by Jefferson DeMont Thompson on the Motor Parkway at the Hempstead Plains grandstands.

A racer skids around the Krug's Corner Turn (Willis Avenue and Jericho Turnpike). Another car tore into the crowd killing a spectator. In the 1950s, the buidling was still standing as a fruit store.

Mrs. Clarence Mackay (right), Lady Willoughby D'Eresby (center) and Mr. Whiglam are intent on the course as the racing cars approach. Lady D'Eresby was American heiress Eloise Lawrence Breese, daughter of William Lawrence Breese of New York,


Aug 10 2016 Brian D McCarthy 2:23 PM

Going by Mr. Robertsons statements, these drivers/mechanics were a tough breed. And to win anyway possible!

Nov 19 2019 Peter Shriver 5:09 PM

Howard, I may be wrong but reading this, a page is repeated and one is missing.  Do you have the missing page?  Thank you!

Howard Kroplick

Peter, good catch! Correct page has been added.

Leave a Comment