Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Great Auto Race of 1908

One of the things that caught my eye when I looked at what happened in 1908 was this entry:
February 12 New York to Paris auto race (via Alaska and Siberia) begins in New York City George Schuster wins after 88 days behind the wheel
The whole idea was pretty amazing. There weren't very many roads or gas stations back then. Via Alaska?! 1908? A little research revealed those were there plans. We'll do it in winter when the Bering Sea is frozen they thought. Wikipedia says

The Thomas Flyer, a 1907 model 35 with 4 cylinders and 60HP was the first to cross the United States. The Flyer was also the first automobile to ever do so in the winter, with George Schuster the first driver to ever make the transcontinental winter crossing of the US. The route then took them to Valdez, Alaska by ship for the drive across Bering Straits. The Thomas crew found impossible conditions in Alaska, and the Race was rerouted crossing the Pacific by steamer to Japan where the Americans made their way across to the Sea of Japan. Then it was on to Vladivostok, Siberia by ship to begin crossing the continents of Asia and Europe finally ending in Paris. Only three of the competitors made it past Vladivostok, the Protos, the Zust and the Flyer.
A group is working on repeating the race this year on the 100th Anniversary. Here's a brief video I found on YouTube. From what I can tell, they're skipping Alaska this time. Oh well.

Here are some other links:

TheGreat Race


  1. strange but cool idea. I suppose it would be impossible nowadays.

  2. The documentary on the 1908 race can be found at . The full size picture cars now live at the Reynolds Museum in Alberta. It has won lots of international acclaim and awards.


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