Auto Racing in the Shadow of the Great War

Streamlined Specials and a New Generation of Drivers on American Speedways, 1915–1922


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About the Book

From 1915 through the early 1920s, American auto racing experienced rapid and exciting change. Competition by European vehicles forced American car manufacturers to incorporate new features, resulting in legendary engineering triumphs (and, essentially, works of art). Some of the greatest drivers in racing history were active during this time—Ralph DePalma, Dario Resta, Eddie Rickenbacker, the Chevrolet brothers, Jimmy Murphy. Presenting dozens of races in detail and a wealth of engineering specs, this history recalls the era’s cigar-shaped speedway specials and monumental board tracks, the heavy-footed drivers, fearless mechanics, gifted engineers and enthusiastic backers.

About the Author(s)

Robert Dick is a historian in mechanical engineering and automotive matters. He lives in Germany.

Bibliographic Details

Robert Dick

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 446
Bibliographic Info: 153 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7272-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3155-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
I: Spring 1915—Exposition Races 9
II: May 1915—Fifth Indianapolis 500 37
III: Summer 1915—Chicago’s Maywood Speedway 64
IV: Fall 1915—Phenomenal Stutz 90
V: Spring 1916—Interspeedway Racing 112
VI: May and June 1916—Indianapolis and Chicago 300 137
VII: Summer 1916—Mid-Continent Races 156
VIII: Fall 1916—A.A.A. Championship 174
IX: Spring 1917—War Impact 195
X: Summer 1917—Gloomy Atmosphere 220
XI: 1918—Handicap Season 241
XII: Spring 1919—Liberty Sweepstakes 266
XIII: Fall 1919—300-inch Finish 291
XIV: 1920—183-inch Debut 317
XV: 1921—Straight-Eight Supremacy 345
XVI: 1922—183-inch Finale 375
Appendix A. Biographical Data 405
Appendix B. Technical Data—Speedway Specials 1915–1922 413
Chapter Notes 427
Bibliography 436
Index 437

Book Reviews & Awards

• “[Dick] masterfully outlines the circumstances that made America a hotbed of auto racing…complete with race and car stats and countless images”—Hemmings Motor News

• “A great read for anyone eager to revel in the nitty-gritty details of one of America’s most progressive eras of motorsport. We may not look back on it this way now, but the years after World War I saw massive changes in how America perceived racing and how it designed its cars—and this book lays it all out in detail.”—Jalopnik