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American Roads: Site Map > Auto Trails > Auto Trail Articles > Touring Topics article November 1910

Second Annual Phoenix Classic

The third of the road races between California and Arizona.

― from Touring Topics, December 1910, page 16-17.

 

Over the worst roads on earth through sand hub-deep and on a course which Eastern autoists would refuse to travel, fourteen cars made the run to Phoenix. From the center of Los Angeles to the capital of Arizona the motor cars had to jolt over the long, 418-mile run into the dust-covered desert and the arid plains beyond the Colorado River. This was the second annual Phoenix race and has become known as the Phoenix Classic. Only the most daring and intrepid drivers care to undertake it. Last year some of the cars that had traveled the course but once, became lost and had to give up. Without question it was the severest speed contest ever held in the history of motoring, Beginning on boulevards, running into fair-to-good country roads, then rough roads with sharp rises; through sand which necessitated much work in the low; over rocks, through gullies and bad washes; through brush and dangerous chuck holes, these cars pushed their way to Phoenix. In no place in the world could so difficult a course be selected. It tested every point of a car and the skill and endurance of the driver.

1910 Los Angeles to Phoenix Race route

On the night of November 5th fourteen cars lined up in front of the Hotel Hollenbeck in Los Angeles, and at 10:55 the first car was on its way and the others followed at five minute intervals. All along the route from Los Angeles to Pasadena thousands of machines were gathered to watch the get-a-way and an immense crowd was congregated about the Hotel Hollenbeck. The night was cool and the motorists who went out many miles over the route, to cheer the drivers on their way, made every preparation for comfort. Bonfires threw their light fitfully over the scene and as an illustration of the thoughtfulness of the public, which is usually credited with quite the reverse, is the care which was taken to cover the fires that the light might not glare into the drivers’ eyes. Every spectator endeavored to get a position where the cars could be seen coming down the course and as the road winds it was an easy matter to select a position on the curve where the cars could be seen coming for a distance of a mile or more. After the brilliant headlights of the first car came into sight, the excitement commenced and as the different cars flew by they were cheered by each successive group, and from Pasadena rolled an immense wave of cheering which warned them that the cars were on their way. The cars got away in the following order:

Car

Driver

Pope-Hartford

Tremaine

Apperson

Hanshue

Durocar

McKeague

Parry

Horine

Kissel

Herrick

Rambler

Sherry

Ohio

Henwood

Maxwell

Smith

Mercer

Bigelow

Abbot-Detroit

Speigel

Ford

Stearns

Velie

Stickney

Franklin

Hamlin

Knox

Nickrent

Harvey Herrick in the winning Kissel

Harvey Herrick in the winning Kissel―Time 15 hrs, 44 min.

 

The Maxwell and Knox did not finish. The Knox fell out on account of engine trouble and the Maxwell because of carburetor trouble. The Pope-Hartford, well in the lead, lost thirty-five minutes at Ehrenburg through running into a sand hill. The other cars had minor troubles which caused them more or less delay. The cars reached Ehrenburg in the following order:

Car

Time

Kissel-Kar

9:32

Franklin

10:05

Apperson

10:45

Pope-Hartford

11:14

Mercer

10:50

Velie

11:52

Ohio

12:14

Durocar

12:42

Parry

12:37

Rambler

16:32

Abbot-Detroit

18:20

Ford

20:50

Ralph Hamlin in his Franklin

Ralph Hamlin in his Franklin which came second in the Phoenix Race.

 

It was a thrilling night run that these plucky men took part in, and some very fast time was made by the cars. It was generally supposed that Joe Nickrent, at the Knox, would be the winner as he won last year’s race so handily and the betting was pretty heavy on the Franklin, as it was considered peculiarly a Franklin Race. At Mecca the Franklin was standing the hard drive in excellent shape and looked in better condition than any of them. It started next to last and kept picking up the slower cars all along the line. The Kissel-Kar gained a decided advantage when Driver Herrick at Mecca went on the railroad track which he followed for ten miles, but even at that the Franklin had made better time.
The winning cars, the Kissel-Kar, Franklin and Pope-Hartford did some very good work at the Phoenix track upon their arrival and Hanshue drove a sensational mile in 56-1/4 seconds driving the fifteen miles under fifteen minutes. The Duro, with MacKeague up, drove a mile in a minute flat and the Franklin and Kissel-Kar presented a very fine race, which was not finished until the Franklin in a spurt won by a half car’s length. The Parry won the fifteen mile handicap from the Ford by only fifty feet. The winning cars and the time that they made are as follows:

Kissel-Kar (Herrick)

15 hours, 44 minutes

Franklin (Hamlin)

16 hours,16 minutes

Pope (Tremaine)

17 hours, 11 minutes

Mercer (Bigelow)

19 hours, 3 minutes

Velie (Stickney)

19 hours, 54 minutes

Parry (Dull)

20 hours, 13 minutes

Duro (McKeague)

20 hours, 21 minutes

Ohio (Henwood)

21 hours, 45 minutes

Apperson (Hanshue)

22 hours, 1 minute

Rambler (Sherriff)

23 hours, 50 minutes

Ford (Stearns)

28 hours, 37 minutes

Tremaine in his Pope-Hartford

Tremaine in his Pope-Hartford―Third in Phoenix Race.

 

Copyright © S. Varner 2010