Category Archives: Auto Racing 1894 – 1942
The annual Millers At Milwaukee meet is one of the few such events in the country that cater to vintage oval track enthusiasts. The focus of the event has always been the Miller Racing cars created by Harry A. Miller, and later cars powered by the Offenhauser engine. It is held at the Milwaukee Mile race track at the State Fair complex; the track opened in 1904 and is the oldest operating auto racing track in the country.
The 19th annual 2014 Meet was held last weekend with well over fifty cars attending. The two-day event has always been a fun and low-key gathering where you can see, touch, smell, and get up close to the cars. There is plenty of time to talk with the owners of the racers, and possibly even get a ride in a two-man car out on the track. A number of other related early racing cars and specials also attend so, it is a chance to see some very interesting machinery.
You can learn all the details about the event at Millers At Milwaukee. A great deal of information about the cars that Harry A. Miller built and the history behind them can be found at the Miller-Offenhauser Historical Society. And thanks go out to Lee Stohr of Stohr Design for his photos.
Follow along above as Jean Jennings takes us to the Millers At Milwaukee event in 2013 to meet up with Miller collector Dan Davis and run a number of his cars out on the track. You can also read her post about the adventure at Jean Knows Cars.
Emile Mors was a speed merchant who preferred to leave the driving to his factory team and to the wealthy gentlemen drivers who were his marque’s biggest fans, among them the Honorable Charles Stewart Rolls (who had not yet made the acquaintance of Henry Royce) and William K. Vanderbilt, Jr.
So fast and famous was the Mors that, in the midst of an anti-automobile tirade, a member of Britain’s Parliament drew on his classical education to suggest that Emile’s car was so named, because Mors meant death in Latin and thus provided tacit permission for its driver to run down anyone who got in his way. Such prejudice was fueled by the fact that Mors unwisely used the Latin tag Mors ianua vitae (death is the gateway to life) in its advertising, confident that its upper-crust clientele would appreciate the pun.
Mors backed down from its emphasis on competition in 1905. In 1906, the company licensed a factory in St. Louis to produce the American Mors. The following year was awful for the company and Emile, a poor businessman who fell victim to the Panic of 1907. His company was reorganized in 1908, with former gearmaker André Citroén in charge.
A decision was hastily made in 1908 to enter three cars in the French Grand Prix. The result demonstrated what haste makes. One car was a non-starter, the second finished 17th, the car in the Collier Collection – driven by the famed Red Devil Jenatzy – could do no better the 16th, nearly an hour and a half behind the winning Mercedes.
The 1908 Grand Prix was Mors’ last major effort in competition. In 1909, the American Mors was discontinued. A decade later, in Paris, Mors’ future was preordained when André Citroén put his own name on a car and made plans to become France’s Henry Ford. By the mid-twenties, the Mors was no more. The name appeared on an electric car during World War II and was last seen on a mid-fifties motor scooter.
Jenatzy and the Mors, on July 7, 1908. Photo courtesy of BnF.
Specifications: Four-cylinder in-line engine, overhead valves pushrod actuated, 775 cubic inches, (12.5 liters), 100bhp, 103 inches w.b., weight 2750 pounds. Words and images courtesy of the Revs Institute, where you can view this car and see many other rare and interesting automobiles.
Check out the unusual construction of this French Elfe Cycle Car. It is based on a sheet-metal chassis with a cable-operated pivoting front axle sprung by coil springs. The rear axle is located by links and sprung with cantilever springs. The 20-degree Anzani air-cooled engine is cooled by a belt-driven fan. The photo is courtesy of the French National Museum via Isabelle Bracquemond.