An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

Memorable Automobile Images from the Land of 10,000 Lakes

Updated – Today’s feature contains a pair of photographs that originate from Blue Earth County, Minnesota, which is located approximately sixty miles southwest of Minneapolis, the largest city in the State.

The lead image and the expandable version of it below taken circa 1915-’20 show the “Minnesota Special,” a racing car owned by the Mahowald Family. Exactly where in the County they were from, the name of the driver, or where the car was raced is not known. The bodywork appears to have been inspired by one of three famous racing machines: the 1910 Fiat S76 Land Speed Record car, the “Blitzen Benz” raced by both Barney Oldfield and Bob Burman, and the Case Jay-Eye-See.


  • The “Minnesota Special” from Blue Earth County, Minnesota.

The chassis of the “Special” was built in the manner of many racing cars of the time and is equipped with a set of pin-drive wire wheels. It appears to be powered by a four-cylinder engine, backed up by a substantially sized transmission. A brief newspaper search ended without any results about the machine, but hopefully, a reader can learn more about this unique racing car.

Update – Readers Roger Moffat and Eric Johnson have determined that Frank Mahowald is the man behind the wheel in the racing car. He and his family owned and operated a number of businesses in Mankato, Minnesota.


  • G.H. and Helen Allyn and a Ford “T” in front of their Garage in Mankato, Minnesota.

G.H. and Helen Allyn are pictured above in an early Model “T” Ford special in front of G.H’s father, Glenn.H Allyn’s automobile agency located on 2nd Street in Mankato that sold both the Ford and the Stoddard-Dayton. Helen is reported to have driven a Ford up the Opera House steps in the City; the act was a popular auto publicity stunt of the time.

The images are courtesy of the Minnesota Digital Library.

11 responses to “Memorable Automobile Images from the Land of 10,000 Lakes

  1. There were 2 families with the surname Mahowald in Blue Earth County, Minnesota in 1910:

    Mankato Ward 2
    Frank Mahowald – age 40
    Lou Mahowald – age 37 – wife
    Robert Mahowald – age 14 – son
    Irving Mahowald – age 8 – son
    Lois Mahowald – age 6 months – daughter

    Nie Mahowald – age 39
    Lina Mahowald – age 30 – wife
    Stephan Mahowald – age 6 – son
    John Mahowald – age 3 – son

    In 1920 these two families were still there, with some additional children, and another family

    Mankato Ward 3
    Fred Mahowald – age 36
    Mary Mahowald – age 34 – wife
    Frank Mahowald – age 14 – son
    Henry Mahowald – age 13 – sone
    Rose Mahowald – age 12 – daughter
    Clements Mahowald – age 10 – son
    Lillian Mahowald – age 6 – daughter
    Lucile Mahowald – age 5 – daughter
    Helen Mahowald – age 1 – daughter

    Which of these people – Fred, Nie, or Frank is at the wheel of the machine is anyone’s guess – but it seems clear that they were from Mankato in Blue Earth County, Minnesota.



  2. Probably raced at the Twin City Motor Speedway, opened in 1915 and closed after 1917. If I remember correctly, the Duesenberg Brothers shop was nearby.

  3. There is no mystery here. The Mahowalds were very well known in Mankato.

    Frank Mahowald had a blacksmith and horseshoeing business in Mankato and then opened a hardware store across the street. He also started the Mankato Cycle Company which also sold sporting goods. The Mahowald family owned and operated the hardware store in Mankato for many years.

    The photo in the blog is actually very small snapshot – I have held the original photo in my hands while researching the Minnesota Special at the Blue Earth Historical Society in Mankato. I have an original 8 x 10 photo taken by a professional photographer of the same car and driver but a different view/location that I picked up at an estate sale in south Minneapolis a few years ago.

    Erik in Minneapolis

  4. Regarding the stripped down Model T:

    This photo definitely dates from 1912-’14. The plate was issued between that period of time. The plate also dates to the same period.

    The Official State Automobile Directory issued in 1914 states that plate #20729 was registrated to GW Allyn of Madison Lake Ford.
    That own is 10 miles NE of Mankato.

  5. Note that it is G.H. Allyn (Glenn H. Allyn) sitting in the Ford, not the owner, G.W. Allyn (George W. Allyn).

    Erik in Minneapolis

    • Eric as stated right next to the comment box “Please note: links to other sites are not allowed.”

      Links can and do go bad and affect the sites Google search ratings, learn more about it here in numbers 1-5:

      Sorry but I also edited your earlier comment that was a copy and paste from the MTFCA Forum; Google views that as plagiarism and it will down rate our site because of it.

  6. WHAT A COMBO!!! MODEL “T” ‘S — AND STODDARD DAYTONS!!! These guys worked both sides of town : Stoddard Dayton engines are HUGE!!! and typically found in their Speedsters , Open Touring Cars and FIRE ENGINES!

  7. There was a Mahowald Motors that was established in 1928 in New Prague, MN not far from Mankato MN. They are still in the car rental business, having recently sold the Chevrolet franchise to a larger dealer. Perhaps there is some connection there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *