Category Archives: Auto Racing 1894 – 1942
Every once in a while a great photo comes along, and this image of Smiling Ralph Mulford and his Peugeot is one of them. He was at Galveston Beach, Texas for a race held there in 1914. Both Mulford and Peugeot were at the top of their game at the time. The French racing car featured a dohc 16-valve four-cylinder engine, great lines and an excellent handling chassis.
In the three-day event on the beach, Mulford and the Peugeot won all of the fifty-mile races and in the sixteen races that were held, Mulford took first money in ten. The races were clearly a Peugeot-Duesenberg battle between Mulford, Tom Alley and Eddie Rickenbacher, both in their Duesenbergs. The attendance at the popular event was larger than at the Indianapolis 500 race that year.
The photo is courtesy of Tanya Bailey Smith who runs the Great Savannah Races Museum in Savannah, Georgia. You can learn more about the Great Savannah Races Museum here along with Smith’s new book on the Savannah Races. Both the pre-war Peugeot Racing car, and the Duesenberg Racing Car have been covered here earlier on The Old Motor.
Better known for his Packard dealerships, Earle C. Anthony also ran a Hudson agency located at Tenth and Hope Streets in Los Angeles in the nineteen-thirties, which is where we suspect these photos were taken. They show him with Lee Miles in 1935 who is apparently intent on describing the small aircraft he is towing behind his new Terraplane, and for good reason. Miles was a living legend during the Golden Age of Flight. At the time this photo was taken he was the number one air racer in the National Aeronautics Association standings.
The Miles-Atwood Special and Miles and Leon Atwood – John Underwood photos courtesy of the city of San Bernardino, California
The plane is the Miles-Atwood Special, designed and built by his friend Leon Atwood. A 375 cubic inch engine propelled the small 994 pound craft to a record speed of over 211 miles per hour in 1933. At his height of six-foot, four-inches, contemporary reports say that Miles wore the tiny airplane “like an overcoat.” His car seems a natural choice since an advertising slogan of the day went, “In the air, it’s aeroplaning, on the water, it’s hydroplaning and on the ground, it’s Terraplaning.” You can learn more about Earle C. Anthony and Hudsons on The Old Motor. Dick Whittington Studio photos courtesy of USC Libraries.
The Bebe Peugeot was the perfect car to clown around with and Frank Clarke, a stunt flyer in Hollywood during the twenties and thirties, can be seen doing just that here in a pair of photos, taken in February of 1921. But putting all fun aside, it was actually a car designed for a purpose by no less than Ettore Bugatti. It was introduced by Peugeot during 1912 as their entry into the cycle car craze, which was sweeping the automobile community on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean at the time.
The Bebe as it has been nicknamed was built between the years of 1913 and 1916 and was aimed at economy motoring and lower road use taxes. It featured an 850cc, ten HP T-head engine, with a 2-inch x 3.5-inch bore and stroke. The engine block and crankcase, which used a removable lower oil pan was cast in one piece, it was initially backed-up with a two speed transmission that was later replaced by a three speed unit. Top speed of the little car was limited to 37 MPH. Some three thousand were made during the production run.
The pint-sized car was raced in cycle car events that were popular at the time, and one was even reported to have won its class at the famed French Mont Ventoux Hill Climb. Full details can be found in The Automobile, October 31, 1912 issue above. Photos courtesy of the San Diego Museum of Air & Space and the French National Museum.