Updated – The Old Motor workshop is filled with interesting cars this winter so for a holiday greeting image this year a trio of sports and racing machines are being featured. Right-to-left is a 1914 50 h.p. Simplex Speedcar from the Collier Collection at The Revs Institute which many of our readers are familiar with, in the center is a 1914 Mercer Raceabout, and behind it a 1915 Duesenberg racing car, both from the Joseph Freeman collection. In front of the cars is Lena one of the two Labrador Retriever rescue dogs that keep an eye on things in and around the shop.
All three cars have been in competition events in the past: The Simplex in the Anglo-American Rallies held here and in England in the fifties, the Mercer set a speed of 112 m.p.h on the sands of Daytona Beach in the teens, and the Duesenberg finished 2nd in the 1916 Indianapolis 300 (the only year the race was run that distance.)
The Simplex will be covered here in a final post of the series covering its rebuild soon, and both the Duesenberg and the Mercer will be featured in the future. In the meantime we would like to wish all of ours readers from around the world a happy and merry Holiday Season and New Year.
- Lena in the shop above with left-to-right, a 1915 Duesenberg racing car, 1914 Mercer Raceabout, and a 1914 Simplex Speedcar.
- You may think she is growling, but in the dog world this is called smiling, and Lena does it through out the day when she is very happy about something.
Update – A bit more about Cassie and Lena. I have had a dog or dogs ever since going off on my own at the age of nineteen in 1974 with $200 in my pocket that I saved. For equipment a small toolbox, hand tools, hydraulic bottle jack and a set of jack stands were it at the time and the goal was to open a restoration shop, which was finally achieved in 1976.
Having a dog around a workshop is ideal for them as there is quite a bit of activity going on which they thrive on. Lena above and with Cassie below are both Labrador Retriever rescue dogs that live with us and spend the day and early evening in the shop. They did not have very good lives at the beginning, but that has changed for the better for them. Cassie was found at the local Humane Society, and without a doubt has turned out to be the best behaved (after a little training,) and loyal dog I have ever had.
Lena was found on her own in Grand Central Station in NYC by the Port Authority Police before she came here. The rescue organization passed on the fact that the Police wanted to keep her for a mascot, but for some reason were not allowed to. She is very small, very friendly, and SMILES a lot when she is happy as you can see in the image above! Both of them like to hang around in the shop and yard all day and sleep by the wood stove in the winter.
Lena is a one in a million and is fearless, she greets the horse and dairy cows on a family farm across the road by jumping up in the air so she is looking eye-to-eye with them and loves most car noises, fire, sparks, welding and the sound compressed air makes in use. I have to keep an eye on her when using a welding torch as she will jump up and try to eat the fire!
In the near future I am going to get some dog goggles and train her to ride in open cars without a windshield because she truly enjoys it. She reminds me of “Bud,” the famous dog who in 1903 went on the first successful transcontinental journey with Vermont Doctor Horatio N. Jackson, and Sewall K. Crocker in a Winton. Look for her in a car video later in the year.
The motto of the story is to get a rescue dog instead of one from a breeder if you want to get one. Unless they have been badly mistreated in the past, you will have a devoted friend for the rest of their life, who will be thankful to you for saving them.