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A Supercharged Chadwick Racing Car

One of our visitors, Doug Marin, a Chadwick enthusiast sent us these two photos of a Chadwick racing car that was supercharged. The blower and the induction system is what the bulges in the hood are covering.

The photo above is of Len Zengle, during 1909 in Cleveland, next to a Velie (?) racing car. This car posted the fastest time at many hill climbs that year. A month or so later it was at Indianapolis at the first Indy Speedway events. It won one of the early 10 mile “free for all” races.

The photo below is of Willie Haupt, in the Chadwick “Black Bess” racer, just before the 1908 Vanderbilt race. This car led the race for several laps before both magnetos failed. It was timed in pre-race preparation at 109 mph!

The bottom photo shows a drawing of the supercharger that was driven by a flat belt off of the flywheel.


6 responses to “A Supercharged Chadwick Racing Car

  1. In various Histories of Technology you usually read that forced induction (supercharging) arrived in 1916 as an attempt to give First World War British fighter planes, altitude capability to deal with lighter than air Zeppelins. I’ve assumed that for a long time. Does anyone have the facts to back up a revisionist history of supercharging?

    • The ROOTS blower has some very old roots, pardon the pun………..not created for automobiles but what the heck…….when life gives you forced air find a place it will work. “First patented by the Roots brothers in 1860, their original bi-rotor gear pump was not very successful driving a water wheel at their woolen mill. But they later found it to be very good at pumping large volumes of air at relatively low speeds and put it to use as a blast furnace blower in a local foundry. Since then, the Roots design has been used in a wide variety of industrial applications, as well as being fitted to internal combustion engines since the early 20th century. The first recorded example of supercharging an automobile in the U.S. and the first supercharged car to win a race were both accomplished by Lee Chadwick of Pottstown, Pennsylvania.
      In 1907, Chadwick and engineer John Nichols mounted a centrifugal blower to their 1,140-cid Great Chadwick Six, producing a certified top speed over 100 mph. The first noted example of a Roots blower being fitted to a hot rod was in the ’30s when the Spalding brothers bolted a Mercedes Benz blower on their flattop Ford.”

  2. i would love to supercharge a lawnmower engine with the supercharger running off the flywheel behind the pull rope starter

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