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Old Glory And The Showman

A pair of photos of Barney Oldfield in his National, which was a very unusual car. Compare it with a photo of this standard National racing car. This car is unlike any other National we have seen, because it appears the entire drive train was lowered in the chassis, between six to eight inches. This was done no doubt, to lower the center of gravity, so the car would corner better and so that it would be less likely, as they termed it back then, to turn turtle (roll over).

The car also appears to have gone through some changes, assuming that it was the same car and he did not have two of them for barn storming. The biggest notable changes are that the hood is different and in one photo it has a set of wheel disks. I would assume that the photo below, was when the car had just been constructed and it is wearing a very patriotic paint scheme and lettering.

I don’t know if he ever entered into an actual race with this car and have a feeling that it was mostly used in match races at the county fairs. The man sitting with him in the first photo, may possibly be his agent Will Pickens who promoted races (see article below from the June, 21 1906, The Automobile). Pickens and others promoted fixed races and also usually arranged for the star driver to set “A New Worlds Record”. Some promoters went as far as to own all of the cars and the drivers worked for them and always put on a good “show”. The show always gave the unsuspecting, plenty to talk about at the feed store the next day. Photos The Old Motor

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