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Walter Christie’s 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Racer

Lee Stohr is working on drawing and engineering data to enable Christie’s 1905 ‘Blue Flyer’ to be recreated. The following is his description of the Vanderbilt entry:

Christie is getting ready to practice for the Vanderbilt Cup American Elimination trial which was held on September 22,1906. To qualify for entry into the Vanderbilt Cup race, American manufacturers had to compete in a 10 lap Elimination Trial. Only the top 5 cars would be able to start the Cup race on Oct.6. Christie would face 11 other cars in the Trial.

 Walter Chrisitie had good reason to feel confident going into the Trial. His new front drive, V4 engine racer claimed 100hp from 1260 cu in. In April on the beach in Altlantic City, NJ. Christie set an American record for gasoline cars of 102.3mph. May 25 at Empire City, NY. Christie ran the mile track in 53seconds, equaling Barney Oldfield’s AAA track record set in Dec.1904.

Walter Christie had been racing for two years, and he had steadily developed his car until it probably could match the best in the world for a single lap or two. His reliability was always questionable, however. The 1906 Christie V4 was built up from the chassis of his 1905 racer. Christie improved the cooling system with a large header tank over top of the radiator. He also added a second set of contracting-band rear brake shoes, operated by hand lever. This was in addition to his foot brake which operated the original set of brakes. Christie also added his patented detachable rims just for the Vanderbilt race.

He was about to show the world that his front wheel drive cars were ready to be taken seriously.


4 responses to “Walter Christie’s 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Racer

  1. In the parts loft above the main display floor of Austin Clark’s the Long Island Auto Museum there was the hood to the taxi cab Christie built. When he used to have his “Iron Range Days” (which were by invitation only) for friends to come out and look through the parts to pick some out for purchase , that hood always used to get moved from place to place as no one wanted to buy it. The lunch at John Duck’s restaurant was
    part of the day (lunch was dutch treat, but pre lunch drinks at the bar were on Austin) .
    Now both the restaurant and the museum are out of operation. I was glad to be a part of that era.

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