On July 1, 1913, a group of automobile enthusiasts and industry officials established the Lincoln Highway Association "to procure the establishment of a continuous improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, open to lawful traffic of all description without toll charges," and to be a lasting memorial to Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Highway efforts started about three years before the first federal road act would provide funding to states to improve the broad network of roads. Never officially finished, the first transcontinental highway eventually became renumbered as various interstate and US routes. To celebrate its centennial, there was a cross-country tour in June. [more inside]
Salt Walther died Thursday night, Dec. 27., at a residence in Trotwood, OH. The cause of death, as of now, is unknown. On May 30, 1973, he survived a crash that no one thought could be survived. His life was changed forever. (YT: warning: carnage, no fatalities) [more inside]
David Letterman, Indianapolis native, racing fan and Indy Car team co-owner, sat down for an interview about the history of the Indianapolis 500, and its effect on him since childhood. No jokes, no snark, just a knowledgeable and passionate discussion about something he cares for tremendously. Parts one, two, three, and four.
Mattel's Hot Wheels for Real campaign documents "the existence of a testing facility 'hidden for 43 years,' where all sorts of bad-ass driving happens on huge Hot Wheels tracks." Their first real world stunt: a Guinness world record 332 ft. jump off a giant orange track at this year's Indy 500.
The men of the early 20th-century motor press sometimes referred to the 13th circuit of an automobile racecourse as “the hoodoo lap,” not because more bad stuff happened then, but because they fervently wished it would. Coming at that point, a wreck would play nicely into the tabloid trope that superstitions are not to be flouted, and it would give a long car race some much-needed narrative cord. And so it was on May 30, 1911, as several dozen reporters leaned forward anxiously to watch the 40-car field for the first-ever Indianapolis 500-mile race power past the starting line for the 12th time and roar yet again into turn one.
The best driver never to win the Indy 500. Despite winning in midgets, stock cars, and both the Sebring and Daytona road races, he will always be best known for the one race he didn't win - despite running in it for eighteen consecutive years. Though he would like to be remembered "just as old me. I enjoyed racing," if you ask a Gurney, Andretti or Foyt and they'll tell you he's "a soft-spoken Texas lead foot with enormous natural talent." Race driving legend Lloyd Ruby passes away at age 81 in his hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas.
Automotive journalist, cartoonist and architect Earl Ma passed away this week after a three year battle with cancer. But you would never have known it from how he lived his life. Last month, he refused to let his partial paralysis keep him away from the Indianapolis 500 (though fellow Hawaiian Jim Nabors was too ill to attend), and with the help of friends covered the race from his wheelchair. His boundless energy, generosity and wide range of talents earned him many friends and admirers, and he is already greatly missed.