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1912 American Underslung Competes in the 1911 Glidden Tour

The Glidden Tours, an early reliability, and endurance contest were run between 1905 to ’14 by the AAA and named after Charles J. Glidden, a prominent early American motorist who traveled extensively in the dawning days of motoring in his British Napier touring car. The 1911 Glidden Tour route ran between New York City, and Jacksonville, Florida.

Today’s feature images are of a 1912 American Underslung manufactured in Indianapolis, Indiana, also between the years of 1905 and ’14. The make was known for its attractive coachwork set on a chassis hung below both axles on its springs and rolled on large diameter wheels and tires. This American features impressive Solarclipse headlamps and unusual-looking Fisk rims manufactured by the Fisk Tire Company.

You can read a report of the 1911 Glidden Tour here that was featured in the “Scientific American” magazine. The images are courtesy of the Detroit Public Library.

  • A pair of enlargeable photographs of the 1912 American Underslung touring car along the way on the 1911 Glidden Tour that ran from New York City to Jacksonville, FL. Clean and shiny above and covered in mud below.

16 responses to “1912 American Underslung Competes in the 1911 Glidden Tour

    • I also am curious about the horn. I could be missing it, but I do not see a connection between the rubber horn bulb and the device on the running board. Best guess: it has a bulb horn that we don’t see. The other device may be an electric klaxon/horn or possibly a siren. ???

      • As David says, the horn on the running board is an electric Klaxon (note the spelling) and the bulb horn is manually operated. This arrangement isn’t uncommon on cars of the period: the Klaxon was very loud and raucous while the bulb horn was a little more discreet. Klaxon (and no doubt others) also made a “combination” horn that gave the motorist the choice of a relatively quiet buzzer or the better-known aah-ooo-gah sound. These are sometimes referred to as “town & country” horns. Sunbeam cars of the ‘Twenties were fitted with both bulb and Klaxon horns. Just a bit of trivia…

  1. Look at all the mud in the radiator. This reminds me of being a kid and driving thru the corn stubble. We’d pack the radiator shut with dust and dirt and stalks would tie up the driveshaft til it wouldn’t move. Then crawl under it with your knife and cut it all out. It did shine the under side nicely tho.

  2. I notice the car number is on a banner tied over the hood. Is that something to do with them maybe not being allowed to check under the hood while competing?

    What is in the’ body bag’ tied over the cowl? Is that an aftermarket windshield to put up when it gets cold? The car looks to have no top.

  3. The second photo, in front of Geo. S. Riley & Sons, was taken at 417-419 Mulberry Street, Macon, Georgia. The properly would later become a gas station.

  4. Okay, so when did the US standardize to Left Hand Drive. Here is a car built in Mid-America with right hand drive. Was that after WWI?

  5. Note the Texas Company later to be TEXACO wagon in the second photo, gas was delivered is what looks like milk cans. Bob

  6. Just checking in a little late…but the first photo is at the corner of West 84th street and Central Park in N Y C . Some of the buildings still exist , in one of the highest cost real estate districts in the country

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