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Barney Oldfield and a Very Early Peerless

This great very early photo shows Barney Oldfield and possibly his wife Beatrice posing in what is believed to have been his first Peerless racing car. Barney started driving for Peerless in 1903 and the first event that we were able to find him recorded as driving one, was a race meet in September at Grosse Point, MI., where he won a 5 mile race and finished second in a 15 mile race.

This car that Oldfield is posing in, appears to be very similar to the Peerless that Charles Wridgeway is seen in during 1903 at the New York, Empire City track in  just below. The Wridgeway car is stripped of its hood at that meet, but appears to have the very same shape on the wooden dash board, along with sharing many of the other details as the car Oldfield is in. There is a possibility that this is a promotional photo taken, when Oldfield started driving the Green Dragons for Peerless late in 1903. Oldfield was also driving for both Winton ( he quit on April 12) and Ford earlier in 1903.

This photo above comes to us courtesy of Mike Schultz who found it over forty years ago with other Peerless and White steamer photos, one of which had a connection to Atlantic City, NJ. The photo below is from the Peter Helck Collection, courtesy of Racemaker Press.

6 responses to “Barney Oldfield and a Very Early Peerless

  1. This man does not look like Barney Oldfield in the photo you have named Barney Oldfield and very early Peerless.
    Best regards, Wayne Carroll Petersen
    Barney Oldfield Great Great Nephew

  2. Yes, that’s definitely Oldfield. Also, you may be right about the picture being promotional just based on the way those two are dressed. Nice picture, just found your site today, keep up the good work.

    • I have hundreds of photos of my Great Great Uncle Barney and neither one of these gentleman look like Barney.

  3. Barney Oldfield, Master Driver of the World & America’s Legendary Speed King had seperated from Beatrice in 1900. Barney had not even driven a car at that time. The Peerless Green Dragon that Barney raced did not look anything like the car in the photo. Barney started racing the Peerless Green Dragon August 12,1904 at Kenilworth Dirt Track in Buffalo, NY.
    Best Regards, Wayne Carroll Petersen,
    Barney Oldfield, Master Driver of the World & America’s Legendary Speed King Great Great Nephew

  4. Barney Oldfield, Master Driver of the World & America’s Legendary Speed King raced the Peerless Green Dragon at Grosse Point Dirt Oval on August 27, 1904 fifteen days after his first race at Kenilworth dirt oval in Buffalo, NY on August 12, 1904. Barney Oldfield last race with the 999 Racer was July 25, 1903 at Empire City dirt oval, Yonkers, NY. Barney started racing the Winton Bullet #2 August 29, 1903 at Driving Park dirt oval Columbus, Ohio. Barny Oldfield’s last race in the Winton Bullet #3 was Feb. 26, 1904 in Savannah, Geogia road course. Keeping American Automotive History Alive!
    Best Regards,
    Wayne Carroll Petersen

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