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The Anderson Special – Kansas City Missouri

The “Anderson Special” is an interesting Pre-World War I racing car that apparently was based in the Kansas City, Missouri area. The naming nomenclature used by the Contest Board for cars entered in AAA races at the time point to the car being either built, owned, or sponsored by someone named Anderson. The driver is A. F. “Andy” Scott who earlier was a riding mechanic for the Stutz Factory racing team.

The first reference of the car and driver found in “The Automobile” magazine, dated July 1, 1915, lists Scott as the entrant of the car in the AAA Sioux City, Iowa race in July of 1915. Of the fifteen or so starters, only six cars finished the race and the “Anderson Special” was retired at Sioux City after 28 laps (56 miles) with a split fuel tank.

The second reference to the car found in “The Automobile,” dated August 5, 1915, covering the AAA Des Moines, Iowa race in August. Scott is listed only as deferring his time trial to the second day because of damage to his car. No mention was found of him qualifying or being in the race.

The third reference found in “The Automobile” August 14, 1915, issue lists Scott and the car as being entered in the second of two races at Elgin, Illinois which was held the day after the famous AAA Elgin Road Race. This event was held on the same course although no reference was found of him driving in race.

No other press coverage was found of either the car or the driver in 1914 or 1916. According to champcarstats.com, 1915 was is first and last year he raced on the AAA National Championship trail. Scott is listed as participating in three races during the 1915 season, with one did not qualify/did not start and a best finish of ninth in the two races he ran in.

Share with us what you find of interest in the photograph by the Bivins Bros. of Kansas City, Missouri courtesy of William Creswell.

  • Note the Anderson monogram on the radiator stone guard and the “Anderson Special” number 2 plaque on the side of the cowl.

30 responses to “The Anderson Special – Kansas City Missouri

  1. I can’t make out the script on the rock shield. It doesn’t look quite like a stylized “A.” An “AS,” perhaps? Or could it be connected to the car that the racer was built up from?

    A wonderful glimpse into racing history, David, thanks.

  2. Another beautifully photographed classic race car preserved on film. Super sharp photography of obviously professional equality with crisp details. Thanks for sharing Dave.

  3. A round shape being stronger, it makes you wonder if a round gas tank might not have changed history. Otherwise, the car might have been quite competitive. Wonder what was under the hood??

  4. Great looking car! I would love to find that hiding intact in a barn somewhere. I especially like that Motometer. One of the early types, thin die-cast body single plate screwed on in the front, no glass front or back. Don’t see many like that anymore (although I have one carefully stored in a cupboard!).

    Thank you David G! Carl S mentioned your “staff”. Say “HI!” to the cat for me.

  5. Obviously purpose-designed for racing on dirt–note the nicely sculpted “windshield” that served as an unbreakable deflector, the radiator screen, full engine hood, and the bottom pan to protect the drivetrain and rear-axle area. Rear brakes only, of course. Would be great to know the origins of the chassis, running gear, and powerplant. Tires and wheels look a bit spindly . . .

    • Too bad there is not a better photo of the front to help identify the radiator. I may have the ‘rock’ guard from it. The shape looks close and it has an S on it. I found it at a Colorado Swap Meet maybe 30 years ago.

  6. I wonder if the Stutz Club has any more information on Scott?

    The car looks like a typical racer of the period…fenderness and lightless with a rear fuel tank. Also note the crew seats are semi-enclosed in the cowl instead of being open buckets like production Stutz Bearcats, Mercer Raceabouts or other her sports cars of the time.

    Interesting that he had a DNF due to a split fuel tank, that should give you an idea how much abuse the machines and drivers took on those early tracks. It makes my kidneys hurt just thinking about it!

    Also I understand that’s why drivers had (unlit) cigars in their mouths, to keep their teeth from chattering due to the rough ride.

  7. A clue to the motor used in the Anderson Special can be found in Motor Age, July 8, 1915, Page 11, This article states, “The Anderson Special, which was fitted with a motor formerly used on the Tulsa car which ran at Indianapolis in 1914, was withdrawn in its fifty-sixth mile with a ripped gasoline tank” This is augmented by Robert Dick in the book Auto Racing in the Shadow of the Great War who states some of the same information and adds that it was, “. . . a 390-inch Wisconsin T-head, 4 3/4 X 5 1/2 inches” The car wore number 18 in the race.

    Regarding the Des Moines race Motor Age, in the August 12, 1915 issue, stated, “”Scott, driver of the Anderson Special, was eliminated near the close of the race when his car developed engine trouble” This was a 300 mile race. He had either number 14.

    The Lima News (Lima, Ohio) of August 22, 1915 reported that the Anderson Special failed to start the Saturday Elgin race and noted only, “. . . the Anderson Special failed to satisfy her owners.” Apparently the car didn’t start in the Friday race either as no mention of this car being in the race was found.

    Earlier in the year The Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, Kansas) reported in their April 16, 1915 issue that A.F. Scott was to appear with the other more notable drivers at an Oklahoma City track for races on April 20th, 21st, and 22nd sponsored by the Southwest Auto Racing Association. The Rock Island Argus (Rock Island, Illinois) of April 30, 1915 reported as part of the results of the 200 mile race the following. “The car of A. F. Scott ran into a tree during the first lap and proceeded no further. This was the only accident that occurred.”

    That piece and the following two lead to believe that perhaps the home base for the Anderson Special was Kansas City, Kansas or there was a Kansas connection for the Anderson Special.

    The Sioux City Journal (Sioux City, Iowa) had the following story on July 2, 1915. “A. F. Scott’s mount, the Anderson Special, coming from Kansas City. The car was delayed by bad freight routing. Scott expects to get it on the track this morning.”

    The Leon Journal-Reporter (Leon, Iowa) of August 12, 1915 printed the following. “One of the big racing cars which participated in the 300 mile auto race at Des Moines last Saturday, passed through Leon Tuesday evening. It was No. 14, an Anderson Special driven by A. F. Scott, and was one of the last cars to finish. The car was being taken to Kansas City to be overhauled after which it goes to Elgin, Illinois, for the big race meet there.”

    • Corrections and clarifications:

      “He had either number 14.” should read, “He had number 14”

      Newspaper accounts shows that Scott and the Anderson Special placed 8th in 300 mile race at Des Moines on August 7, 1915

      Published entry lists for the Elgin races in August 1915 make it clear that Scott did not enter the Friday 300 mile race.

  8. Ace…thanks for the interesting history.
    As an aside, the 390 c.i. Wisconsin T-head engine mentioned was the power plant in early Stutz Bearcats.

  9. My research had found some additional information and also raised some questions which I am unable to answer to my satisfaction at the moment. Due to time constraints and an inability to access the needed research materials at this time I shall post what I found and a few speculations which I will explore later when I’m able to.

    I had my information ready to post before seeing ACE’s information this AM so I will just post my additional race findings as none of them appears to be from the exact sources Ace used. I don’t have time right now to closely compare these reports I found with what Ace posted.

    Additional race participation:

    Motor Age had published a season summary under the date November 25, 1915. The article begins on page 5 of that issue. The Anderson special is mentioned 3 times in this summary.

    #1: Page 7 reports a table with a “RECORD OF CARS IN THE 1915 SPEEDWAY RACES”. The Anderson special is listed as being unplaced on 1 occasion as a footnote to the table which lists all such for the season.

    #2 Page 8 has another table with race results, the “Anderson special, Scott” appears in a footnote as “also started” in the Sioux City Iowa 300 mile race on July 3, 1915.

    #3 Page 9 has another table which lists the “Anderson special, Scott” as an “also started” in the 300 mile race in Des Moines Iowa on August 7, 1915.

    Also the historical record has frequent mentions of a “C.W. Scott” as a riding mechanic with Stutz (at least almost exclusively for Gil Anderson IIRC). However I have not yet found a single mention of either an “Andy Scott” or “A.W. Scott” nor any other variation of a similar name as a riding mechanic for Stutz during 1915 or any other time. Only a C.W. Scott, who had a number of rides as mechanic during the 1915 season.

    • My suspicion is that the driver of the Anderson Special wasn’t a former Stutz riding mechanic.

      My speculation is that the driver of the Anderson Special, “Andy Scott” might have been the riding mechanic C.W. Scott’s younger brother.

  10. Just now found some additional 1915 race result listings in modern compilations of old race results which have what is probably this car listed as a “Tulsa”, “Tulsa-Stutz” and other variations, all with driver “AF Scott” and similar.

  11. Helping to confirm the Kansas City connection, there is a 1915 Kansas City, Missouri license plate on the front of the Anderson Special.

  12. I too have been working on this for a bit, but my mind keeps chasing squirrels down rabbit holes, so here is what I have found so far – some of it already reported by others.

    The Anderson is for C. L. Anderson, a medical doctor who opened a practice in Kansas City, Kansas after graduating medical school in 1900. He was also an officer in a number of banks in both Kansas City and in the Indian Territory.

    In first running of the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, Anderson was the riding mechanic in the No. 9 Case car driven by the Austrian-born Joe Jagersberger. On the 87th lap Jagersberger’s tie rods broke and his wheels splayed outward in an extreme case of toe out. Anderson decided to try and kick the right wheel back over center so that both wheels would point to the left towards the pits. As the car slowed Anderson fell, jumped, or was thrown from the car, depending on which news article you read. The No. 8 Westcott swerved to miss Anderson and smacked into the No. 36 Apperson in the pits, then bounced into the No. 41 Fiat, putting all three out of the race along with the No. 9 Case.

    In the 1913 Indianapolis 500 George Clark drove the No. 25 Tulsa car to a 10th place finish, earning $1,400 for his nearly eight hour ordeal in which he averaged 62.994 miles per hour. The car, built by Tulsa Auto Manufacturing Company, was powered by a 4-cyclinder 340 cubic-inch Wisconsin engine.

    Sometime after the race Dr. Anderson purchased the engine from Tulsa Auto Manufacturing Company and had it shipped to Kansas City, where it became the heart of his Anderson Special (pictures of the Tulsa do not match the Anderson Special).

    In the next post I’ll try to give a more complete history of its racing career as well as and A.F. Scott’s.

    • Correct my last post to read No. 39 Fiat rather than No. 41, which was a Velie.

      You can see Dr. Anderson get thrown/jump/fall out of the car on YouTube in a video titled “The First Indy 500 Race” at the 2:44 minute mark. He was bruised and listed as one of six injured that day.

      In the first two races of 1915, A. F. Scott’s car was referred to as the Tulsa. On modern websites it is referred to as the Tulsa, the Tulsa-Stutz, or as a Stutz. It was none of those. Before I list the Anderson Special/Scott events, let me dive into the history of the Tulsa, which provided the engine for the Anderson Special.

      The real Tulsa car was the brainchild of oilman Carden Green with J.B. Avey, another rich oilman, helping finance it. Both men operated out of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, just outside of Tulsa. The car was built specifically for the 1913 Indianapolis race and George Clark was tapped to drive. He qualified second-to-last, but the starting positions were determined by a blind draw from a hat the night before the race, which is why Clark started dead last. Although news reports immediately after the race had the Tulsa finishing in ninth place, it actually had come in tenth place and the record was later corrected.

      In that same race Hughie Hughes had been Bob Burman’s relief driver in the No. 4 Keeton (which had its radiator behind the engine, giving the car a contemporary Renault look – a photo of it was posted on this site on December 23, 2011). Hughes was driving when Clark in the Tulsa crossed the finish line. Being 20 laps down, Hughes was flagged off the track. There were no other cars left behind him.

      In early June the Tulsa Car Company was incorporated and Hughes was hired away from being Burman’s teammate to become the Chief Designer. Hughes announced that he would immediately begin a new Tulsa race car and headed back to Indianapolis to Warren Electric and Machine Company in order to build it.

      The original Tulsa was stripped down and the engine sold to Dr. Anderson. Many of the parts, including the wheels, were used in the construction of the new car. Hughes incorporated some of his pet ideas into the new vehicle, such as installing a 45 gallon fuel tank and designing the vehicle to have four speeds forward. The car had a 108 inch wheelbase, weighed 2,500 pounds and had a 4-cylinder 449.5 cubic inch engine that developed 110 horsepower. The engine was built “so that any unit may be removed and repaired without tearing down any other part of the car.” This would prove handy after its first race. Hughes tested it on the Indy track by driving 150 miles at 80 miles an hour. He turned one lap at less than 1.5 seconds of the track record.

      The photo of the car, now dubbed The Tulsa No. 2, which appeared in the Friday, June 27, 1913 edition of “The Morning Tulsa Daily World” shows a markedly different vehicle than the one that had just run the Indy 500. For one thing, the car was now left-hand drive. In fact the only thing that the two cars appear to have in common on the outside are the wheels.

      After claiming that it was the fastest car he had ever driven, he had it shipped off to Tacoma, Washington to run in the Potlatch Trophy race on July 5 and the Montamarathon on July 6 with Hughes himself at the wheel. He lost his first practice race on July 1 to Teddy Tetzlaff and his Fiat.

      In the July 5 200-mile Potlatch Trophy race Hughes in the red Tulsa had been battling Earl Cooper in a Stutz, and was leading the race when a connecting rod broke and put him out of the race. Cooper won with Bob Burman in the Keeton finishing second, having run the last 72 miles on three cylinders.

      Hughes and his crew worked fast to get the Tulsa rebuilt in time for the July 6 250-mile (71 laps) Montamarathon race. Once again Cooper and his Stutz crossed the line in first with Dave Lewis in a Fiat coming in second. Hughie Hughes in the Tulsa crossed third to win a $700 purse. Burman, who had been driving a Benz for this race, had dropped out in the 40th lap due to a broken fuel feed tube.

      After the Tacoma races Hughes went to the city of Tulsa for the July 20 races where he did an exhibition run in what the local paper called the “Tulsa No. 1.” The car was then shipped to the Elgin race track where it arrived on the 28th, much to surprise of the track officials, who thought Hughes would be driving it in the Galveston races. Hughes had intended on using another car in the Galveston races, but while he was testing that other car on a country road outside of the city of Tulsa, two tires blew when he was rounding a turn, rolling him into a ditch. Passing farmers pulled him from the wreckage and took him to a hospital where he was found to have a broken shoulder, internal injuries and severe cuts and bruises. He missed the Galveston races.

      News articles dated August 10 reported that Hughes was practicing at the Elgin track, but the possibility remained that he might not be able to compete. He sent a letter to track officials on the 25th stating his intention to drive, if at all possible, in the races the following weekend. When the time came however, Hughes and the Tulsa car did not make an appearance. In fact, it appears that Hughie Hughes and the Tulsa car were never seen, or even mentioned together again.

      Hughes would not return to racing until 1914, but a month or so after the Elgin race he aligned himself with Zip cyclecars and announced that he would spend the winter in Davenport, Iowa where Zip had a factory. He planned to build two cars for the 1914 Vanderbilt Cup. When he resumed racing, it was for other teams and cars other than the Tulsa.

      The Tulsa did not appear in any other 1913 events either, but in 1914 it was back on the track, albeit with a new name. In April Clark reported that he had “another special under way, a Fort Worth (Texas) car this time” that he intended to race at Indianapolis. The Chicago Tribune still called it the Tulsa, while “The Automobile Journal” of May 29 noted that “George Clark will drive his Tulsa of last year’s race in this event as the Texas [No.] 33.” The renaming may have been an homage to where owner Carden Green got his start in the oil business.

      On the 23rd of May newspapers reported via wire copy that “A steering knuckle on George Clark’s Texas, a special racing car broke during practice yesterday afternoon, and the car while going at the rate of 75 miles an hour crashed its nose into the retaining wall on the first turn out of the homestretch.”

      Repairs were made and May 28 Clark ran his last available qualifying attempt. The Chicago Tribune reported that carburetor trouble prevented his Tulsa from lowering his previously recorded time, leaving him out of the starting thirty. Two paragraphs later in a summary they noted “Those that failed to qualify today in their last trial were:…the Texas of George Clark;…”

      In the 50 mile Galveston Race 1 held on July 30, Clark’s No. 10 Texas did not finish. On the 1st of August Clark drove the No. 10 Texas to a fifth place finish in the 100 mile Galveston Race 2. The Tulsa/Texas does not appear again until 1916 when Carden Green wrote in the September 21 issue of “Motor Age” to relay a capsule history of the car. After the Galveston 2 race Green stored the car away until the summer of 1916, when he decided to convert the former race car into a speedster for the street. Photos of the car, now christened with a “?” instead of a name, can been seen on page 38 of the aforementioned journal.

  13. Hi ,the front springs have a large curve ,right hand drive and gear change,could make this a much earlier chassis frame which was built into a special for 1915 ?

  14. Do a Google search on Joe Jagersberger, and read the fine bio Hemmings did. If his name sounds familiar it is because he invented the RAJO head for Model T Fords, he used the RA in Racine Wisconsin and JO from his first name to come up with RAJO.

  15. The 1916 A.A.A. listing of “Registered Drivers: includes the names of Scott, C. W. ( number 318) and Scott Harry A. (number 228). However, the Anderson Special is not mentioned on the A.A.A. list of 1916 Registered Racing Cars.
    These lists are quite accurate in both spelling and name listings, so I think we can accept the names. However, my assumption is that after their poor 1915 season, the owner (either C.W. or Harry A.) parked the car or used it for local non A.A.A. events. I think we can also infer that the car was not competitive, even when it was not up against a tree or broken.

  16. One other comment. If you look at the photo carefully you will see that the gas tank appears to be strapped on by a metal or canvas strap, attached to the fuel pickup fitting on the tank. If this is the case, then it would be no surprise that after some rough laps, the pickup might have been torn from the tank.

  17. WOW! This is turning into one of the best early racing threads I have seen in some time!
    In addition to David G and his staff (the cat and dogs!), I wish to thank Ace Zenek, Tin Indian, and Steve Bogdan for some wonderful research. Also a quick thanks to Bob Swanson for connecting the dots to “Rajo Joe Jagersberger (I knew that, however, many people reading this may not).
    There is so very much interesting history in and amongst the early racing world. A nearly unknown car such as this with an excellent surviving photo has now been connected to the first Indy 500 as well as to the 1913 running. There also are now a few famous names associated with this car, its owners and drivers.
    That era, the generation between the late 1890s and the mid 1920s, was the giant leap forward from ancient man into modern man. We, as a human race, went from agrarian and nomadic peoples into manufacturers and businesses. Whereas fire was our only common source of lighting our nightlife, now electricity reigns. Mechanization and automation, things that hardly existed 150 years ago, feed more people today than lived that same 150 years ago. The automobile was both a cause and an effect of all that change and development. And automobile racing was a very important part of that.
    In order to continue to build and improve our world today, we (as a people) need to understand and appreciate that history. History, and understanding history, IS important. And early automobile racing is an important part of that history.

  18. Wayne:
    Well-written comment. I’ve been reading “The American Car Since 1775” by the editors of AQ, an old but invaluable survey on the subject, and you are right about our need to understand and appreciate.

    Thanks also to all of the enthusiasts who comment on this blog!
    =rds

  19. Looks like the buckle on the first bonnet tie has been replaced with tape, as it wouldn’t have to be removed to lift up the bonnet.

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