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*Updated* A Monday Morning Mystery – A 1908 Studebaker

*Update*  Thanks to Robert Rampton we now know all of the details behind the Studebaker press photos in this post. A front page article in the Los Angeles Herald, March 8, 1908 issue of the newspaper, used the same photos seen here with their story, which can be seen (just below) . Studebaker followed the event with this car, leaving six days after the official start and beat all of the New York to Paris competitors to Levenworth, Kansas.


The caption that accompanied our photos of this snowbound Studebaker describe the scene as being “on the road near South Bend, Indiana during a race from New York to Chicago in February, 1908”.  But we’ve been unable to find any record of a competition between those two cities taking place at that time and wondered if perhaps the event in question was the legendary 1908 New York to Paris, the first leg of which coincided with the date of our images.


Left and right thumbnails (above) show an article from The Horseless Age of March 27, 1907 that describes some of the mechanical features of 1907 Studebakers.

And while the number on the radiator indicates to us that this car had been in some sort of competition, no Studebaker participated in that around-the-world epic. Some drivers not officially entered in the race did accompany the competitors at various points along the way and we thought that might be the case here. So we will leave it to you, our readers, to answer the question of what exactly you believe these frozen frontiersmen were doing out there stuck in that snowbank so very long ago. Full details on the 1908 NY to Paris Race. Photo courtesy of Jerry Lettieri.

6 responses to “*Updated* A Monday Morning Mystery – A 1908 Studebaker

  1. Unfortunately I have no access to American magazines of the period, but the Dutch magazine ‘De Auto ‘ gives the next description, based on a newspaper source: “The cars will be guided throughout the American continent by guide cars […]. Hundred’s of cars will guide them from New York to Ferrytown (NJ), where a delegation of the Poughkeepsie Automobile Club will take over and bring them to 25 Miles on this (the east-) side of Albany. There the members of the Albany Automobile Club will guide them to a meeting with the delegation from Schenectady, which will bring them to Chicago. From there two guides will bring them to Cheyenne, from where two other guides will lead them to San Francisco. […]”.
    There exist several photos of rallye cars with accompanying cars (e.g. the Thomas with another Studebaker at Laramie) and there is a Lazarnick photo near Chicago (with New York-Paris inscription), which seems to show the same Studebaker as shown in this post. So in my opinion we see a guide car from the Chicago area.

  2. I guess the four wheel chains were not enough that day! Would the NJ on the plate indicate a New Jersey car?

  3. I have an original article from Cedar Rapids, Iowa 1908 from when the DeDion Car was there with the French team. Anyone interested?

  4. Posted for Mary Haupt: I saw this photo on your site of two men in the 1908 Studebaker that went from Governor’,s Island to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. That is my grandfather, Jack Huge, at the wheel of the car. he joined the race team near Buffalo and stayed for the rest of the trip to Kansas. Some news accounts gave his name as Jack Ruge, but it was Huge … Shortened from Hugentobler.

  5. Greeting,

    My grandfather, Jack Huge, is seated at the wheel in the picture at the top of this article. I remember stories he told of this ride across the country. Referring to the bottom picture, the gentleman to the far left, in the distance, is a farmer who assisted is getting the car unstuck. When my grandfather and another member of their crew first knocked on the farmer’s door, the farmer opened it just enough to point a shotgun at them. After explaining the problem and the farmer agreed to help and brought our a team of horses to do the pulling. No long after the bottom picture was taken, one of the horses slipped and fell on my grandfather. Luckily, there was enough snow to cushion all parties involved.

    Thanks for keeping this memory alive.


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