OLDSMOBILES AHEAD OF THE CLASS

INDIANAPOLIS 500 PACE CAR HISTORY

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1949   1960   1970   1972  

1974 1977   1985   

1988    1997    2000

2001 pacecar mellencamp39.jpeg (11807 bytes)

2001

    

1903 Pirate replica on display in Lansing, Mich. 1997

It all started with the invention of the automobile. Then, in 1903, a group of industrial pioneers who were interested in  horseless carriages decided to hold an automobile race on the sands of Ormond Beach, Florida.  The destination was Daytona Beach, a distance of 30 miles. The challenge to the rich and famous who wintered at the Ormond Hotel became the "in" thing. The group included Alexander Winton, builder of the Winton automobile, William K. Vanderbilt, Alexander Graham Bell, and John D. Rockefeller, Sr.  When Ransom Olds heard of the race, it was a challenge he could not ignore. The first speed run pitted Ransom E. Olds against Alexander Winton and was seen by a crowd of 50 spectators. Olds drove his Pirate; Winton was behind the wheel of his Bullet. Both drivers averaged 57 mph and the race was declared a draw.

 

Ransom E. Olds behind the wheel of his Pirate in 1903

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