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View Full Version : An 18 Day Endurance Run On A Wooden Track in 1928



Nitram
12-27-2008, 01:19 PM
Does anybody have more info on this event?
I find it very intriguing. For those who can't read the scan, a portion of the article states:

In September 2008, the Antique Studebaker Club will mark the 80th anniversary of the ultimate speed-endurance run, held from July 21 to August 9, 1928, when Studebaker operated four completely stock (the automobiles were arbitrarily selected and extensively documented by AAA officials, right off the assembly line) President automobiles for a distance of 30,000 miles.
The run was accomplished in a continuous 26,326 minutes (more than 18 days), which included all fuel and maintenance stops. The site selected was the AAA-sanctioned Atlantic City Speedway, a wooden-board track 1.5 miles long, with 45-degree banked curves. Cars and drivers were faced with "plunging thru the heat...piercing their way through cloudbursts and rain so heavy they couldn't drive with their goggles on or off... plowing through nights of fog as dense as a field of tall corn...," according to on-site radio commentator Quin Ryan in 1928.
With this incredible feat accomplished, Studebaker-under the watchful eye of AAA-was able to proclaim that "Studebaker Holds More Official Records Than All Other Manufacturers Combined."
The scanned 2-page article is below.

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j90/Creditable/Forum%20pics/Studearticle.jpg

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j90/Creditable/Forum%20pics/StudearticleII.jpg




http://farm1.static.flickr.com/158/360197307_8639ee4a46_m.jpg[/img=left]
[i]~Nitram~
57 Transtar

BobGlasscock
12-27-2008, 01:31 PM
Not shabby if my calculator works right. Just over 68 mph average.

Being a woodworker, I wood (haha) love to have some of that deck board. I wonder what it is like after that much rubber runs over it.

'50 Champion, 1 family owner
http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg316/studebakerbob/SDC%20avatar/Studebakerstuff019.jpghttp://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg316/studebakerbob/SDC%20avatar/Studebakerstuff018.jpg

Chris Pile
12-27-2008, 03:20 PM
The story of this 18 day test is covered in the great book, "Ab & Marvin Jenkins: The Studebaker Connection and the Mormon Meteors". Not only was this an incredible test back in the day, it would be incredible if done these days!

Good article, but author Kent Haberle should have mentioned Ab Jenkins IMO, as he was THE hero driver of the age. Ab was one of the drivers who participated in this test - he was well known for driving over 24 hours straight out on the Salt Flats.

He was employed more than once by Studebaker for endurance drives across the country as advertising material. I believe SDC & ASC member Rex Miltenberger owns one of the cars that Ab Jenkins raced back in the day.

Chris Pile
Midway Chapter SDC
The Studebaker Special

Nitram
12-27-2008, 04:43 PM
quote:Originally posted by Chris Pile

Not only was this an incredible test back in the day, it would be incredible if done these days!
My thoughts exactly. I will definitely have to get that book.
Chris do you know:
1. Were other cars/x-brands involved in the run or just these 4 Studes?
2. Did Studebaker push this as a P.R. advertising thing?
3. Was Stude looking for more coverage (bang for the buck) across the market/USA using AAA as the "documenting" agency?

Sure would love to know the facts of the track itself. That alone is a construction marvel.

In a nutshell, this entire event and track is amazing, even today.


http://farm1.static.flickr.com/158/360197307_8639ee4a46_m.jpg[/img=left]
[i]~Nitram~
57 Transtar

Chris Pile
12-27-2008, 06:03 PM
quote:My thoughts exactly. I will definitely have to get that book.
Chris do you know:
1. Were other cars/x-brands involved in the run or just these 4 Studes?
2. Did Studebaker push this as a P.R. advertising thing?
3. Was Stude looking for more coverage (bang for the buck) across the market/USA using AAA as the "documenting" agency?

Sure would love to know the facts of the track itself. That alone is a construction marvel.

In a nutshell, this entire event and track is amazing, even today.

Nitram - The event was Studebaker only, and it definitely served as PR material for Studebaker. Back in the day - endurance runs were done by many auto makers, and Studebaker was a standout brand.

If you'd like to know more about the track, here's a Wikipedia link with an overview - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_track_racing .

If you can find the rare book, "King of the Boards", or "The Miller Dynasty", there is plenty of info about that long gone type of racing.

And finally, the AAA was the only auto racing sanctioning body at that time. They ruled auto racing with an iron hand.
USAC, NASCAR, NHRA, SCTA, and so on, came to prominence after the war.

Chris Pile
Midway Chapter SDC
The Studebaker Special

Avantidon
12-28-2008, 06:32 AM
Article was in the Central PA AAA Magazine as 44th Annual International Meet PR piece. Track of course is gone and a casino now sits on the site. This event was a PR event put on by Studebaker demonstrating tge durability, quality and economy of Studebakers. Limited space meant limited verbage. Much more could have been said but editorial priviledge prevails when space is free. There is documentation in Studebaker Archives on this event and the person who can tell you more is Richard Quinn.

DieselJim
12-28-2008, 08:11 AM
Back in 1989-90, the volinteers at thr Studebaker National Museum restored the 28 Commander and drove it from NY to CA in the Great American Race. I was the engine builder and crew chief. Our pilot, Chuck Wolther passed last week. I also got to drive 2 different days. A great memory. Studebaker never sold the 28 Commander. The museum had to get a court waiver to register the car. The Studebaker run, 25,000 miles in 23,000 minutes included all pit stops, oil changes valve adjustments and driver changes. At one oil change, the drain was broken off the pan. The had to remove and repair. That pan is still on the car. Jim

Studebaker Wheel
12-29-2008, 04:44 PM
http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee285/studeq/startinglinecropped2.jpg?t=1230590264

Above a better image of the lead photo. It is one of about 30 I have that chronicle this event. A few of these were used with my permission in the article by Kent Haberle in the AAA World article.

Below is a summary of the event. I also have a seven page article that is a little long for the forum. It is digitized and in my "Word" file. If anyone is interested I can email it.

I am glad someone pointed out that Studebaker was involved in Speed and Endurance activities prior to 1963!

Figures That Tell a Story of Stamina
The figures below offer analytical proof of the gigantic strains and stresses The President Eight so triumphantly withstood in traveling 30,000 miles in 26,326 consecutive minutes.

Total revolutions by each engine: 67,320,000
Total number of explosions in each engine: 269,280,000.
Total up-and-down-travel of each piston: 49,087,500 feet
Total number of times each valve opened: 33,660,000
But their vastness emphasizes the significant feat of stamina and endurance achieved by The President Eight in traveling better than a mile a minute average speed for 19 nights and 20 days.

Facts and Figures on the greatest endurance feat in motor car history

PLACE - Atlantic City Speedway - Hammonton, N. J. one-mile board track.
START - July 21, 1928, 9:38a.m. Eastern Standard time.
CARS - Two President Eight Roadsters; two President Eight 5-passenger Sedans. All four cars were 121-inch wheelbase, fully equipped stock models, which had been picked at random from factory production line by representatives of A. A. A. Before the run cars were tom down by A. A. A. technical committee, checked minutely, and their stock design verified to the smallest detail.
DISTANCE - 30,000 miles.
CHECKING - The entire run made under sanction and supervision of the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association, whose sixteen representatives officiated in starting the race, timing the cars and checking each lap made.
TIME AND FINISH –

Car Crossed finish line Average M.P.H Total Elapsed Time
Pres. Roadster #1 Aug. 8 4:27 p.m. 68.37 26,326 min.
Pres. Roadster #2 Aug 8 4:30 p.m. 68.36 26,329 min.
Pres. Sedan #3 Aug. 9 9:15 p.m. 64.15 28,057 min.
Pres. Sedan #4 Aug 9 10:26 p.m. 63.99 28,128 min.

PREVIOUS RECORDS - No stock car, regardless of price, ever equaled this feat of endurance. The nearest approach to the Presidents' records is the run of 25,000 miles in 22,968 consecutive minutes made in November 1927, by two stock model Studebaker Commander Roadsters. Nothing else on earth ever traveled as far so fast as the four President Eights.


Richard Quinn
editor: Antique Studebaker Review

Avantidon
12-29-2008, 06:44 PM
Richard you ar my hero as I knew you'd come through on this one!. Thanks for the great post.

Nitram
12-29-2008, 06:46 PM
quote:Originally posted by Studebaker Wheel
PREVIOUS RECORDS - No stock car, regardless of price, ever equaled this feat of endurance. The nearest approach to the Presidents' records is the run of 25,000 miles in 22,968 consecutive minutes made in November 1927, by two stock model Studebaker Commander Roadsters. Nothing else on earth ever traveled as far so fast as the four President Eights.
Richard Quinn
editor: Antique Studebaker Review

[u]Three questions if I may ask:</u>
1. Were these runs performed by all the automakers at that time?
2. What made them stop at 18 days
3. What are automakers doing today to brag about their vehicle endurance, other than crash tests?


http://farm1.static.flickr.com/158/360197307_8639ee4a46_m.jpg[/img=left]
[i]~Nitram~
57 Transtar

Studebaker Wheel
12-29-2008, 08:03 PM
No, no one else was that bold! Can you envision a four cylinder Model T Ford running flat out for 30,000 miles!? Many of these records stood for decades. Keep in mind Studebaker was trying to show the mettle of their new 336 cubic inch Straight Eight engine (designed by Delmar "Barney" Roos and his team). Within a year of its introduction Studebaker was the leading seller of eight cylinder cars in the world.

They stopped at 30,000 miles because everyone was tired!! Actually it was a nice round number and 5000 miles beyond the record set by a team of Studebaker Big Sixes a year earlier. You should also know that it required a crew of 16 drivers, 15 AAA officials, 14 members of the pit crew and an untold number of laborers working almost around the clock repairing the boards in the track. This was a very expensive proposition for Studebaker!

While some car makers today provide the displacement of their engines and 0-60 times in their print and TV advertising there is really no advantage in publicizing 25 or 30,000 mile endurance runs. It is assumed that cars today will easily run that many miles trouble free but in the 1920's that was not the case.

Richard Quinn
editor: Antique Studebaker Review

Nitram
12-30-2008, 09:00 AM
Another note of interest to me about this "Run" if I may.
I read, in the extended article, about the amount of amount of people it took to pull off this event.
I saw one note where they had problems with flat tires due to large wood splinters.
One of the necessary people was the laborers/carpenters who made repairs to the track as the run was in progress, removing pieces and repairing the track from the underside.
I have enough experience with carpentry to know that if this was a "tongue and groove" board track, it is a challenge to remove a "tongue and groove" board from the upper side let alone from the bottom.
How the heck do you remove a board from the underside of the track and replace it, and still keep the run in progress?
Note from Wikipedia on board track racing says:
"the track and others like it were created with 2-inch (51 mm) x 4-inch (100 mm) boards, and banked up to 45°".
It doesn't mention anything about them being "tongue and groove".


http://farm1.static.flickr.com/158/360197307_8639ee4a46_m.jpg[/img=left]
[i]~Nitram~
57 Transtar

Chris Pile
12-30-2008, 11:57 AM
Most of the books and articles I've read about board tracks, is they were not tongue & groove construction. As I understand, these boards were toenailed together - a very labor intensive proposition if you ask me!

The 'dromes were first built for motorcyclists, but when autos came along their extra weight started flexing the wooden structure as they roared around the circuit.

Another problem encountered in this kind of racing arena was loosened boards springing up on one end. If it happened to be the end pointing towards the onrushing racers - catastrophic events could result.

Chris Pile
Midway Chapter SDC
The Studebaker Special

Rosstude
12-30-2008, 03:30 PM
Cool pictures, and interesting story. A little comment on the board tracks. The tracks actually started in the pre-car, and pre motor-cycle days for bicycle racing, hence the “velodrome” name. Google “6 day race” for some interesting bicycle history. A little more research turns up an interesting connection to motorcycle development for motor-pacing bicycling events.

[img=left]http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g27/Rosstude/OldWorld2005002.jpg[/img=left]
Ross.
Riverside, Ca.
1957 Provincial X2
1958 Transtar

Desert Explorer
12-30-2008, 04:29 PM
Impressive to say the least. Are all of the 4 endurence cars still around?

Studebaker Wheel
12-30-2008, 05:25 PM
http://i230.photobucket.com/albums/ee285/studeq/boardtrackcloseup.jpg?t=1230679469

Maybe this photo will help in determining the track surface construction.

As for the cars, so far as is known [u]none</u> of them have survived. One was later used in stock car racing around the South Bend area by one of the engineering dept. employees and reportedly never lost a race. I have a photo of it. Another had the body removed and a panel delivery body installed and became the Camera Car for Studebaker Photographic Dept. I have a photo of it as well. I also have all the serial numbers of the four cars.

Richard Quinn
editor: Antique Studebaker Review

BobGlasscock
12-30-2008, 08:01 PM
Definitely NOT tongue and groove. Looks like 2X's on edge.

To answer Nitram's question of "how from under the track", well, with your head down. Way down.

'50 Champion, 1 family owner
http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg316/studebakerbob/SDC%20avatar/Studebakerstuff019.jpghttp://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg316/studebakerbob/SDC%20avatar/Studebakerstuff018.jpg

Nitram
12-30-2008, 08:23 PM
quote:Originally posted by Studebaker Wheel
Maybe this photo will help in determining the track surface construction.
Richard Quinn
editor: Antique Studebaker Review


Yes by all means that photo does answer a lot of questions. It shows the 2x4's to be standing on edge. I can now also understand how they repaired the track from the underside.
Apparently not all the ends of the 2x4's ended up being on a structural "joist". In the pic, I can only see one structural member in that entire stretch. They were relying on "toe-nails" to hold the boards in place. That would explain why there was so much failure and maintenance.
I'm not a structural engineer by any stretch of the imagination but if they would have used structural perlins on 8' spacing then used 16' material making sure all the 2x4's ended on a structural joist/perlin, it would have probably saved them a lot of headaches.[^]

bams50
12-30-2008, 09:49 PM
quote:Originally posted by Studebaker Wheel

While some car makers today provide the displacement of their engines and 0-60 times in their print and TV advertising there is really no advantage in publicizing 25 or 30,000 mile endurance runs. It is assumed that cars today will easily run that many miles trouble free but in the 1920's that was not the case.



That reminds me, somewhere I have a videotape in a kit from 1991 for the all-new Oldsmobile Achieva. The video documents an endurance run to show the durability of the totally new car. They took 4 right off the line and ran them around the country for 100K non-stop, save for maintenance and driver swaps, through every condition and climate extreme possible. As I recall one was totaled, but the other 3 made it without any major failures or breakdowns. It really was an epic. I also have a video of torture-testing the new Pontiac 600, part of which involved holding half-throttle while shifting repeatedly from Drive to Reverse... OUCH

It would be cool to see video of that board track run- there doesn't happen to be any, does there??

Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- Studebakeracres- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
Parish, central NY 13131

"Some people live for the rules, I live for exceptions"- 311

[b]"Do they all not, by mere virtue of having survived as relics of a bygone era, amass a level of respect perhaps not accorded to them when they were new?"

Chris Pile
12-30-2008, 10:54 PM
Can't find any autos racing on boards, but here's something about the motorcycles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdaKbHvZPTU

Chris Pile
Midway Chapter SDC
The Studebaker Special

Studebaker Wheel
12-31-2008, 01:46 AM
Well funny you should ask about a video. Maybe 20 years ago I acquired a 16mm film from the late 1920’s. The first 5 minutes showed The Studebaker Champions dance orchestra playing a current dance tune. The second five minutes was Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne delivering a spirited half-time speech. The last 6 minutes was devoted to the 30,000 mile endurance run. While I was thrilled to find this rare piece of Studebaker history there was one problem – it was silent!

While we can see the band playing and Knute talking and gesturing and Quin Ryan the sportscaster narrating the famous record runs, not a sound could be heard! Some time later I located an old 78 rpm phonograph record in the Studebaker National Museum Archives labeled Quin Ryan 30,000 mile record runs. I was able to get a cassette recording of the record and thought it might be the narration to the film. Well, it wasn’t exactly but as it turned out that was close enough!

I sent copies of the film and tape to Don Shannon an SDC member who has a business of recording things like this (called Televents, it was in Chicago). He and my friend John Shanahan worked together to produce a great video showing this historic event and dubbing in the narrators voice over 1920’s music. I felt the final product was exceptionally well done. I received a video and DVD and John was the agent for selling them. If you would like a copy drop me an email and I will forward John’s email address. All of this transpired about 4 years ago and at the time the cost was $15 postpaid in the U.S.

I just timed the video and it lasts just over seven minutes. It would probably do well on Youtube! If someone has the technological expertise to post it there let me know and I will see if we can get it done. I would like to get a sign off from both Don and John.


Richard Quinn
editor: Antique Studebaker Review

Desert Explorer
12-31-2008, 02:29 PM
You got mail! I am intrested in a copy. Looking at the hole in those boards, man what a dangerous track to do an endurance run at........... that hole cold rip your wheel off, suspension and all, if you hit it right! Can you imagine how many board feet a track like that would take to build?

Nitram
12-31-2008, 04:22 PM
Here is an interesting site:
http://thevintagent.blogspot.com/2008/12/board-track-racing-on-film.html

And the You Tube video in the same article. Excellent, clear footage of board track racing.
Right around the 5 minute mark in the video, you will see some cars. Can anyone tell if they are Studebakers?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDFX-nhUYzc


http://farm1.static.flickr.com/158/360197307_8639ee4a46_m.jpg[/img=left]
[i]~Nitram~
57 Transtar

Nitram
01-01-2009, 06:20 PM
quote:Originally posted by Studedude

Discovered this relative item to this thread on my wall just now... had forgotten it was part of a poster I bought a while back:
DAVE, THE EVIL TWIN FROM OKLAHOMA

Looks like your poster also has the pic in the lower left corner that was the main topic in the "crash test" thread.
What is the pic in the lower right corner of your poster? Looks to be a roof over a bleacher area.

Stude8
01-01-2009, 09:31 PM
Hi to all interested Studebaker endurance run fans.

This thread was forwarded to me by Dick Quinn who asked whether any VHS or DVD copies of the 2004 production "Never So Far So Fast" video program are available at this date.

It was a sell out when introduced in 2004 and then after a subsequent rerun only one DVD copy is on the shelf at this time. More can be produced depemding on how many are desired.

The project was to convert the original 1928 16mm silent motion picture film to video data and then to convert the 78rpm narration audio of Quin Ryan to electronic data and attach it at appropriate points to the video file. Lip synching Quin Ryan is tough, he could broadcast live prize fights on the radio blow by blow so his narration is exciting to listen to even without the motion picture program.

If this wasn't enough of a job, to improve presentation selected 1928 popular orchestral music was introduced along with genuine Studebaker President 8 cylinder race car sound track audio (1933 Indy car #34 recorded at Milwaukee Mile race track in 2002) was added where proper to augment the narration.

To help illustrate the Studebaker event many quality historical still images from private collections with descriptive titles were added showing scenes before and during the endurance run.

The end product is a black and white video with sound of the actual event as would have been shown at theaters in 1928 if they had had sound movies available. For you younger folks sound movies were not perfected until 1929 which is why it was not recorded so at that time.

Anyone interested in a DVD or VHS copy of this program should email me at studeracer_37@yahoo.com *Note there is an "underscore" character between studeracer and 37* and include return email address, name, postal address and quantity desired so we can schedule a new production run. When the DVD's are ready to send [Approx 2 weeks]I will advise you of costs and where to send your request. We expect to keep cost at $15 ea postpaid in USA. Production will be by Televent Video now located at Lyons, WI. (Formerly at Oak Park, IL)
John Shanahan

1928 Commander GB