We have been following and posting photos and information for a number of years about early “Baby Cars” that were constructed during and after the 1912-’14 cycle car fad for racing, entertainment, and general use. Of particular interest are those which were used in the Junior Racing Series of America, a supporting series for the Vanderbilt Cup Races held in California in 1914 and 1916 at Santa Monica, and 1915 in San Francisco.
Other events ran at Ascot Park, Culver City, and Fresno, all in California and other cities on the Pacific Coast as far north as Tacoma, Washington.
The largest number of photos that have survived of these cars are the V-twin Indian motorcycle-engined racers built and driven by Harry Hartz. The Vic-Mac Garage Co. car pictured at that facility located in Los Angeles was his first car and with it he drove to a win in a race at Culver City. His second car, the first he constructed with a wooden frame, was used to win in 1915 at the San Francisco Vanderbilt Cup Race.
The photo below apparently shows the third version of his racer in Santa Monica. It was a new design using a wooden frame, attractive streamlined bodywork and it appears Harry had picked up Indian, U.S. Tire, and Puente Oil Co. as sponsors.
The lead photo above shows the fourth and possibly his last “Baby Car,” likely an updated version of the third car with a taller radiator, shorter hood, and cowl with the seat located closer to the center and a streamlined tapered tail. Harry continued to use his number twenty-two, but it appears he had picked up a teammate, who is unidentified at this point and both used cars sharing the same general appearance.
The photos are via our friend in France, Isabelle Bracquemond.
- Harry Hartz and his Indian powered “Baby Car” at a Santa Monica Vanderbilt Cup Race.