The Great American Automobile Race of 1908
Ever since the invention of the wheel, mankind has been searching for better ways to travel faster and more effectively. This process has taken many thousands of years yet one competition has helped to speed it up rapidly: The Great Race which took place nearly a century ago. It spawned a generation of auto racing events that have captured the imagination of car enthusiasts in the United States and internationally.
“The Greatest Auto Race of 1908” consisted of six teams driving the most modern vehicles of the time around the world. The race covered an amazing distance of 22,000 miles and took seven months to complete with only the three teams and vehicles arriving at the finish line in Paris, France. The race created incredible enthusiasm for the automobile and raised the visibility of the sport of racing to unimaginable popularity.
The Great Race captured the imagination of the public and car manufacturers and spurred developments in the automotive industry. In America, a race known as the Great American Race began to be held annually and this year the event is celebrating its 25th year anniversary. Today the race is seen as being the ultimate automotive adventure and participants proudly display and drive their antique motor vehicles over impressive distances to not only win prizes but also to prove the value and robustness of their antique motor vehicles.
Today there are many different versions of the race which all stem from the same origins – the Great Race of 1908. There are coast-to-coast competitions for Muscle Cars and Hot Rods and technology races where the emphasis is on higher performance fuels rather than on the cars themselves. Interestingly enough, in the 2003 race it was discovered that the 80-year-old Ford’ Model T proved to be more fuel-efficient than the current Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicle. This proved the value of the competition and resulted in design changes and driver habits (as well as acceptable standards) of fuel consumption.
The specialty classic automobile events and vintage races attract visitors from across the country that enjoys watching this great annual event. So why try it yourself? The next Great American Race will be held from June 30 to July 14 2007, so be sure to add it to your calendar!