Jan 25 2011

The Mystery 1952 Vanderbilt Cup

John G: "I have a large 18 inch "Grecian Urn" style brass/copper trophy that has engraved on it WINNER VANDERBILT CUP RACE 1952. A quarter size medallion with a 50s race car in the center and "Ethyl Grand Prix Vanderbilt Cup Race" is above the graving. Can you please share wtih me any information/history you may have on this piece? It's quite beautiful and I've enjoyed looking at it for the 30 some years I've owned it.Thank you."

John, over the last 100 years there have been multiple auto races that honored the original Vanderbilt Cup Races by incorporating "Vanderbilt" into their names. The obvious clues to finding your race is 1952, Ethyl, Grand Prix and Vanderbilt Cup. Oddly, a Google search comes up blank. But, don't despair, those clues sounded very familiar. A search of my Vanderbilia race programs provided the answer to your 30 year old question:


The Answer: Your trophy was given to the winner of the Vanderbilt Cup Race held at the Pomona Fair Grounds in Los Angeles County, California on April 6, 1952. Eleven vintage race cars competed in the race.


The race was sponsored by the Ethyl Corporation, a fuel additive company founded in 1923 as a joint venture between General Motors and Standard Oil of New Jersey.


The 100-lap Vanderbilt Cup Race was preceded by a 50-lap Grand Prix Race, where the top three places qualified for the Vanderbilt Cup.


Four cars that participated in the 1952 Veteran Car Race also raced in the Vanderbilt Cup Races held from 1908 to 1916.


Jan 30 2011 Bob Ewing 4:17 PM

I wonder if this event was held in conjunction with a California Sports Car Club event? CSCC held many races at the fairgrounds in Pomona during the 1950’s and early 1960’s, and Lindley Bothwell was a member and also a collector of historic cars which he ran in “exhibition” races during that period.

Jan 30 2011 Earl Gandel 8:56 PM

In 1978, we (Bridgehampton Racing Group) determined that “The Vanderbilt Cup” was not copyrighted or owned by any entity we could discover, so co-opted the name as “The Vanderbilt Cup Challenge” for an annual joint SCCA/EMRA event, on the date of the previously run CAN/AM races, run through 1969.  Where better than on Long Island to perpetuate the name?
Earl Gandel

Apr 03 2011 Brian 10:27 PM

Hey guys, I have an official program from the race if anyone is interested. I was looking for info on it to place it on Ebay when I came across this page. The four small pics to the left of each paragraph above are taken from it. It also has an entry form still attached to it that is not shown above. Anyway I will check back to see if there is interest before I put it on Ebay in the future.

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