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*Updated* Harry Hartz and his Vic-Mac Garage Baby Vanderbilt Cup Racing Car

Cyclecar

*Update* At the bottom of the post.

The Baby Vanderbilt Cup events were staged as a supporting series for some of the Vanderbilt Cup Races, which were held in California between the years of 1914 and 1916. The Junior Racing Association of America was another series that also sanctioned its own races and was intended as way of training young drivers and “developing its members into competent racing pilots”. The Vic-Mac racing car was a participant in this type racing and a caption on the bottom of the photo appears to tell of it winning a Vanderbilt Cup event.

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Behind Harry Hartz posing in his car is the Vic-Mac Garage Co. facility that was located in Los Angeles. The garage was formed in 1913 and the incorporation listing above was found in the September 11, 1913 Motor World. The garage was in the auto painting and repair business and also sold gasoline and used cars. The newest car listed on the signboard is a 1913 Michigan for eight hundred dollars and below that is a 1912 Mercer offered at about half of its original cost at twelve hundred dollars.

Unfortunately after an extensive search, nothing more can be found about Vic-Mac or any information about its involvement in the Baby Vanderbilt Cup races. You can learn more about both the Junior Racing Association of America and the Baby Vanderbilt Cup Races here on The Old Motor. If you can add anything about the races, the Garage, or who the driver was, please send us a comment. The photo is courtesy of The Revs Institute. 

*Update* Thanks to reader Carl Schulz for finding a photo in the May 3, 1917, Motor Age, which confirms that this Harry Hartz in the first of several cars he built for himself. With this car he won his first race at a track in Culver City.

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15 responses to “*Updated* Harry Hartz and his Vic-Mac Garage Baby Vanderbilt Cup Racing Car

    • While it appears that it may be Hartz and I have already checked that out, I have no direct proof that it is in fact him. The car number is the same as he used at about the same time and the car is quite similar (the chassis is different) to another car that he did run (possibly updated). But news accounts and proof that it is him is quite hard to come up with 100 years later.

      Can you lead me to an period accounting that positively connects him to Vic-Mac?

  1. Wonderful photos and research. Thank you.

    Sure looks like Harry Hartz with that shnozzola.
    My guess is they hastily put this PR shot together, rolling out some old iron, slapping on the Vic-Mac on the hood and Harry’s number (22) on the grill .

  2. There are several other pictures about with Hartz in this car but without the Vic-Mac name. I think all is explained by Jim Chini in Dick Wallen’s ‘Distant Thunder’, where he describes Hartz’ first race on the Culver City streets on Saturday 21 March 1914. He says ‘The Culver City show was a rousing success … Harry Hartz won two of the three events in a hastily assembled Indian-powered car with the cryptic name Vic-Mac on the hood’. Chini’s chapter in this book is a masterful account of this first (and maybe only?) effort by leading drivers to encourage and mentor young drivers.

  3. In ‘Loose Fillings’ #46 (available at http://www.hsrca.com and scroll down till you find it) I wrote a little more than has been previously published about the Venice “Junior Vanderbilt” race of 10 January 1914. A direct consequence of the success of this was the 21 March race which Ed Pendleton of the Venice bicycle shop organized by arrangement with Harry Culver. In the second installment, yet to be published I have written:
    Hardly had the results of the Venice Junior Vanderbilt races of 10 January 1914 been published, than it was announced that there would be a two-mile race over a properly roped-off course in Venice on February 22. The plan didn’t eventuate; Ed Pendleton had a much better deal with Harry Culver, real estate speculator and developer of neighbouring Culver City, to use a rectangle of his new roads on Saturday 21 March.
    There was extensive publicity throughout the Los Angeles area. Barney Oldfield, Teddy Tetzlaff, Earl Cooper and now Frank Verbeck were again going to be in charge.
    The Venice format of heats for single and twin-cylinder cars, and a free-for-all final, was again adopted for a field of 35 cars. Things were getting bigger and the cars more serious. Already Pendleton was talking of the boys appearing later at the big track up in Tacoma, Washington, and in San Francisco the following year.
    The Los Angeles Times commented, ‘Out of the ranks of these youthful drivers many a world’s champion driver may come with his first victory gained on the Culver City course.’ It wasn’t far wrong about one future champion. Winner of the Culver City 30-lap free-for-all was young Harry Hartz, …
    Hartz’ win must have been a close thing, because, as he crossed the line in second place, Sid Howland swerved to avoid a photographer and collided with Hartz and third place Al Van Franklin, before all three went into the crowd. Only the photographer was hurt, with a broken arm and internal injuries; the boys seem to have emerged unscathed.
    It was all going so well that the following week it was announced that the Junior Racing Association of America had been formed … ‘for the purpose of fostering juvenile racing and mechanical endeavor.’ Pendleton was to be honorary president, Earl Cooper would be honorary vice-president and Walter M Brown would be ‘active’ [acting?] secretary and
    treasurer. All the young cyclecar enthusiasts in Los Angeles had signed up, reported the Times …

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