May 10 2009

The Vanderbilt Cup: Up-Close on Long Island in 2002

In June 2002, the Smithsonian Institute loaned the Vanderbilt Cup for a Stony Brook exhibit The Crowd Goes Wild! Spectator Sports on Long Island- the last time this historic trophy was on Long Island. In addition to the cup, the exhibit featured Walter McCarthy's 1908 Simplex. Accordingly, Walter was able to get up-close and personal with the Cup and has provided these exclusive photos for .


Walter McCarthy pointing to the 10.5 gallon, 30-pound cup designed by Tiffany and Company and donatedby William K.Vanderbilt Jr.


As engraved in 1904, the official name of trophy was not called the Vanderbilt Cup but Challenge Cup Presented by W.K.Vanderbilt Jr.- highlighting his challenge to American and European car manufacturers to build better automobiles.


One of the reasons the trophy became known as the Vanderbilt Cup was this image of Willie K. embossed on the front of the trophy. It shows Vanderbilt in his proudest racing moment, setting the one-mile land speed record (92.3 mph) in his beloved Mercedes at Ormond-Daytona Beach in January 1904.


From 1904 to 1916, the winners of the 11 William K. Vanderbilt Jr. Races had their names engraved on the cup. As shown for the 1905 race, the engraving indicated the location of race (In America), the race date (October 14,1905), the winning driver (Auguste Hemery), the country of the winning manufacturer (France), the overall winning time (4 hours 36 minutes) and total distance (283 miles).


Here are the engravings for two 2-time winners of the Vanderbilt Cup Race; Harry F.Grant (1909 and 1910) and Ralph DePalma (1912 and 1914). Note the DePalma engraving includes the owner of the winning Mercedes Edward Schroeder.

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