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The Ultimate Fates of Blitzen Benz Racing Cars No. 1 and No. 2

After the recent article covering the rebuilding of the Blitzen Benz two readers have sent in more photos and information on the two cars. Frank Barrett sent in the image (above) along with the following information: “The photographer, Harry Rhoads, worked for the Rocky Mountain News; his work appears in the book Denver’s Man With A Camera.

The image came from the Western History Collection of the Denver Public Library. According to the library, it was shot in 1910. The site, Overland Park race course, on the east bank of the South Platte River, is now a golf course, with no trace of the old track”.

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  • “Wild Bill” Endicott in Blitzen Benz No.2 the Oct 23, 1917, Arizona Republican.
Robert Rampton sent in the photo (above) and the following information: “As Ernie Moross was leaving the auto racing-promotion game, he announced that he would give the famous Blitzen Benz No. 2, with no strings attached, to the leading 1917 AAA driver at the end of the season. Due to the war the leading driver was not announced, and the Benz was sold to another promoter, Ralph Hankinson who produced a show similar to Moross’s that toured the country, playing at state fairs and the like.1917 found the Blitzen Benz No.2 appearing in Utah again, now called the American Benz, at the Utah State Fair. It was driven by “Wild Bill” Endicott. The image above is from the Oct 23, 1917, Arizona Republican”.

“The last reference I have ever been able to find about the Blitzen Benz No. 2 appeared in the July 13, 1920 Bismark Tribune (N.D.), reporting on a new record at the North Dakota State Fair track set by driver Larry Stone in a Blitzen Benz. He circled the half-mile oval in 1 minute, 8 seconds, clipping two-fifths of a second off the record made by George Clark the previous year”.

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  • Blitzen Benz No. 1  in England  during the early 1920s with Count Louis Zborowski.

“I believe the fantastic photo of the Blitzen Benz being tuned up is of the original 1909 Blitzen, campaigned by Oldfield, as it was being refurbished for racing after Moross sold it to Bob Burman. It eventually went back to England and was raced at Brooklands before being broken up”.

“As far as what ultimately happened to the Blitzen Benz No. 2, there have been a few theories ranging from destruction in a Hollywood movie in 1923 to winding up in Australia. I certainly would like to know for sure what happened to it”.

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  • Blitzen Benz No. 1  in England  during the early 1920s with Count Louis Zborowski.

Editors note: More research has lead to the conclusion we came to earlier while writing the first article and studying photos in William Boddy’s book Brooklands Giants and George Wingard’s Real Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing. It appears that Blitzen Benz No. 1 did, in fact, end up in England in the early 1920s in racer Count Louis Zborowski’s stable, minus its original radiator and can be seen (above). It appears the car may have later been broken up for parts, as Boddy reports the transmission later ended up in one of Zborowski’s other cars.

10 responses to “The Ultimate Fates of Blitzen Benz Racing Cars No. 1 and No. 2

  1. I continue to search for later pictures. In the mean time there were a number of reports of a “Biltzen Benz” and other variations ) driven by a Larry D. Stone in 1921.

    See my comments for more info at: A Blitzen Benz is Tuned-Up at the International Motor Co.

    http://theoldmotor.com/?p=131775

  2. Spent part of this Veterans Day seeing if I could find more information about Larry Stone and the April 30, 1921 accident. Thanks to TININDIAN for putting the bee back in my hat about this. Here is what I was able to find in the short time I was able to spend on it today. Larry D. Stone was a native of Atlanta. He was a well known dirt track racer throughout most of the South and Midwest at the time. Not only was he known as an expert driver, but also an engineer who designed and built his own racecars. He owned his own business, Stone Engineering, in Atlanta.

    At the time of the 1921 accident at the Lakewood Park track, he was listed in several articles as being an engineer with the Preston Motors Corporation of Birmingham, AL. Preston Motors built the Premocar, an expensive, high quality automobile, made in small numbers. They also dabbled in racing, with Stone driving one in several races. Several articles about the 1921 accident stated Stone was trying to best the track record of 47 2/5 sec set the previous year by Sig Haughdal. While travelling at a high rate of speed, his Blitzen Benz got away from him and plowed into the fence. It ripped out 15 yards of wood before whipping back onto the track where it did a “complete somersault” . Stone’s mechanic was thrown clear and walked away, unhurt. Stone, however, landed in the hospital, and was thought to be near death. He recovered, but with a broken collar bone, a head injury and numerous lacerations and bruises. He was very lucky. But it sounds as if his Benz was completely wrecked. Adding things up, I am certain that this car was the Benz No. 2. So was that the end of It. Was it scrapped or was it repaired and lived to run another day. That is the question. Somewhere there has got to be a photo of this wreck. The trail seems to be cold past this point. I wasn’t able to find out what happened to Larry Stone either, but I will.
    Bob.

    • The latest mention I have of Larry Stone driving is pre race publicity for two 1925 races in Florida.

      South Florida State Fair (Tampa?) Feb 3 1925 news.google.com/newspapers?nid=888&dat=19250124&id=xDNPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Ak0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=6248,705082

      St Augustine April 6, 1925 news.google.com/newspapers?nid=888&dat=19250329&id=KwZPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=y0wDAAAAIBAJ&pg=7064,6434728

      Apparently Stone raced extensively in Western Canada in 1924.

      For both 1924 and 1925 he is described as being from Kansas City.

      The last mention of him I have is an October 1928 AP wire feed (making Half Hissos?). I don’t subscribe so can’t see the rest of this story at the link.

      http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/12098449/
      Kansas City, Mo. (¡p}_Qujte a trie 1 : but it’ can be done. Larry Stone, veteran race driver and local repair shop owner, turns one aviation -‘eight” motor into two -four”

      If Larry Stone was producing Half Hissos in Kansas City in the 1920s, there may be a connection with a number of local Half Hisso powered cars at that time.
      winfield.50megs.com/Hisso.htm

  3. David –
    I did find some good material about the Premocar adventure on the internets, and I agree that it would make an interesting Old Motor feature.
    Bob

    • It would be very interesting if ‘Half-Hisso’s” were being raced as far west as Kansas City in the late Twenties. In our new book, One Fast Car, to be published shortly, we have traced the origins of the first of these cars to Philadelphia, where eight full and half Hisso’s were built and raced in the early Twenties for the National Motor Racing Association’s dirt track circuit at places such as Pottstown, Pottsville and Langhorne, PA by drivers such as Lou Fink, Larry Beals, Eddie Appleback, Bill Senyard, Emmanuel Quevado and others.

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