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* Updated *A very early Ford racing Mystery

*Update* As was thought earlier the car above was not Fords first racing car. Thanks to reader Glen Miller who sent in the following information about it: The mystery photo is of a later twin engine car built around 1903-04. It is powered by two of the Model A or C Ford engines. The builder is likely Frank Kulic who was the most famous of Ford’s “in house” racers. I’m not sure but I think Kulic is the fellow with the rolled up sleeves on his white shirt.

In 2001 I ran the project to build two running clones of Sweepstakes, to celebrate Ford Racing’s 100th birthday. The Henry Ford Museum owns the original Sweepstakes, and we were allowed to disassemble the original (it was “restored” in the 1930′s, so we were not harming the original paint, etc) and reverse engineer the car. We took the clone to the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Leguna Seca for the Historics in 2001. It was estimated that I was running about 60mph on the front straight at Leguna. The original was clocked at 72mph on a dirt road north of Detroit in July of 1901.

The press photo (above) originated from The Ford Motor Company. It is dated 1941 on  the back and carries a notation, stating it was Fords first racing car and the men in the photo were his first employees. This notation, being roughly 40 years later from when the early cars were built, may or may not be totally correct. Ford himself appears to be standing at the far right of the photo. Judging by appearances, it looks to be a more modern and lower one-man version of the “Sweepstakes” car (below).The mystery photo is of a later twin engine car built around 1903-04. It is powered by two of the Model A or C Ford engines. The builder is likely Frank Kulic who was the most famous of Ford’s “in house” racers. I’m not sure but I think Kulic is the fellow with the rolled up sleeves on his white shirt.


The first Ford racing car (according to the company), called the “Sweep-stakes”, can be seen (above) in a very interesting video from Ford Racing, “The Race That Changed Everything” narrated by Edsel B. Ford II. In the famous race (and a very interesting story) at The Grosse Point Blue Ribbon Horse Racing Track, Ford beat an over-confidant Alexander Winton who was driving one of his own cars. Can any of our readers tell us more about this very interesting automobile shown in the (top) photo?

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