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Hitting the Overpass at 100 – Peter Helck

1908 Hitting the Overpass at 100. A Peter Helck painting of the Locomobile driven by George Robinson and his mechanic Glen Ethridge, on its way to winning the Vanderbilt Cup race. It was the first American racing car to win the prestigious event and it instantly became famous and fortunately has survived to this day. The car was near and dear to Peter Helck’s heart as he was able to purchase it from the second owner Joeseph Sessions in 1941 and kept it until he died in 1989. He gave your writer a ride in it at age five, which was an event to treasure forever.

This painting depicts a scene which became famous, as Robinson was photographed coming over this bridge with all all four wheels in the air in his quest to win the race. Follow the first link in this post to see this photo and many more. Peter Helck artwork courtesy of the Helck Family.

5 responses to “Hitting the Overpass at 100 – Peter Helck

  1. I was fotunate enough to see this car run and be driven at the Greenfield Village Old Car Festival in 2008 where it permanently resides now. I had heard that the car will never be run again as there is a crack in the water jacket. Go to You Tube and punch in ‘ 1906 Locomobile’ for a nice little clip complete with sound taken at that event.

    • Hi Dave,
      Thanks for that clarification. I remember hearing that at that event some poor fellow put a rod thru the crankcase of his ’10 Buick and that a few of the conservators were given reason for concern. But in any event, let’s hope to see it run again soon.

  2. The road that the overpass is on is Ellison Avenue in Westbury, NY. The Long Island Rail Road goes under the bridge. That bridge is still there but the grade on each side is not as steep as it was during the time of the race, nor even as much as it was in the early 1950s when I would ride down the road as a kid in the family station wagon .

  3. Brings back memories . . . In 1967, while a freshman at Cornell, I wrote Peter and asked to buy #16! He responded, saying its “not for sale” and I wrote back and said I had to have it! He wrote back again, explaining that old 16 was a unique and extremely valuable car, and to give me an example, he said he would sell me the “Blitzen Benz” for 25,000! ( He sent along an 8 X 10 of the Benz, should have taken him up on it!!). He also enclosed an autographed to me print of old 16, the one with the car heading to its left and a round radiatored #9 charging along just behind Joe’s shoulder. One of my prized posessions, still have the letters, but wish he had sold me the car! Bought an Austin Healey instead . . . Still have that too. Thanks for always rekindling the flame, David, much appreciated.

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