Rick Rawlins has forwarded this photo of a chain drive Alco and looking for assistance in identifying the car, location and drivers.
Our friends at OldMotor.com have also posted the photo with the following description:
New Information: Chris Paulsen has determined that the California Plate #41661 was first registered in late 1910. It would have been valid through 1913 with state issued plates starting in 1914.
This photo at the moment is a bit of a mystery, that hopefully we can unravel in time. This is an Alco (American Locomotive Company) racing car, that appears to been in the Los Angeles area for a racing event or possibly for a promotional appearance.
The date is an unknown, as it the car and it’s occupants, but possibly a California license plate expert can date the paper plate seen on the car. We have seen this type of plate before on one of Earl Coopers Stutz racing cars. Interestingly at the bottom of the plate we can clearly read the Los Angeles Alco Sales Company printed on it. Presumably being an agency, they issued paper tags.
What we do know about the photo after studying the car, is that even thought the number one, seen on the radiator stone guard, is the same as is seen on Harry Grant’s Alco (a two-time Vanderbilt Cup Race winner in 1909-1910) when he ran it at the Elgin Road Race in 1911, it does not appear to be the same car. There is always the possibility that Alco built a duplicate car for promotions?
A couple of the differences that are quite easy to see, the front upper shock absorber mounts are much higher and the spare tire brackets are round instead of being of a flat section as the Vanderbilt Cup car was. Other differences are; it does not have a shield above the front drive-chain sprocket, it is wearing a pair of side-lamp brackets on the firewall and the wooden firewall is also not of the same shape.
One other big difference noticed, is this car has a pitman-arm shaft which comes through the frame from the steering box and the pitman arm is mounted on the outside of the frame. On Grant’s car it was mounted inboard, as we have seen on most other Alco cars in photos and in person.
So at this point this car is a bit of a mystery, we will try research it in the very near future, to see if a Alco racing car was involved in any race meets in the 1909-12 era in the LA area. If any of our readers has anything to add to this story, please send us a comment. Photo courtesy of David Hong/Rick Rawlins.
Below are photos of the Alco Black Beast at its last documented competition at the 1911 Elgin Trophy Race. I believe that it is further evidence that the California Alco car was not the Black Beast. Can anyone provide Rick with information on this photo?