Jan 27 2016

Film:The Pan-Pacific International Expo: Site of the 1915 American Grand Prize & Vanderbilt Cup Race

Of the 11 Vanderbilt Cup Races held from 1904 to 1916, the most exotic location was clearly the 1915 Vanderbilt Cup Race held in San Francisco at the Panama Pacific International Exposition.
The 3.849 mile course was held over a newly built one-mile trotting track and through the streets of the 1915 World's Fair, one of the most memorable fairs ever held in the United States. The course was the site for both the American Grand Prize (February 27, 1915)  and the delayed Vanderbilt Cup Race (March 6, 1915).

This remarkable 25-minute nitrate film documented the exposition celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal. The film includes a 30-second clip of the 1915 American Grand Prize (Marks: 10 seconds and 18:23 to 18:53).


Howard Kroplick



Published on Nov 20, 2013 "The Fair Had Everything , When You Tired Of The Auto Racing , You Could Always Watch The Camels Run"... and so begins the "The Innocent Fair": a documentary of amazing rare nitrate film footage from the Panama-Pacific exposition shot in San Francisco 1915.

The clips include John Phillip Sousa, Mayor James Rolph Jr, Fatty Arbuckle and numerous visitors. There are shots of patriotic parades, the Liberty Bell, polo matches, stunt bi-planes over Chrissy Field, costumed vikings, the Daffodil Girls of Santa Cruz, and info on the 30 grand pavilions that lined the waterfront where the current Marina District of San Francisco is now.

The program, which closes with footage of the last remaining pavilion, The Palace of Fine Arts, was credited with saving the structure from demolition. It has since been restored and is a popular spot for wedding photography to this day almost 100 years since its temporary construction.

The historical silent film footage was found in 1961 in Tiburon and Ray Hubbard wrote and produced it for KPIX TV with help from Lee Mendelson . R.E. Pusey edited, Walter Johnson narrated it for broadcast. This digitized copy sourced through the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive.

The American Grand Prize starting lineup

Right to left: #8 Stutz driven by Earl Cooper, #6 Mercer driven by Glover Ruckstell, and #15 Delage driven by Claude Newhouse

#32 Maxwell driven by William Carlson, #11 Edwards driven by Cap Kennedy, and #12 Simplex Zip driven by Louis Disbrow

The race was held during a driving rain resulting in several major accidents.

Dario Resta driving this Peugeot won the 1915 American Grand Prize.

One week later, Resta won the 1915 Vanderbilt Cup Race in the same Peugeot.


Jan 31 2016 Walt Gosden 8:40 AM

Race driver Dario Resta after he retired from racing went on to be the import agent/dealer for the British built Sunbeam cars in Manhattan. Most of the cars were imported as a running chassis complete with front fenders and hood but minus coachwork to save money on import tariff. As a running chassis it was not deemed a complete car. Coachwork was then designed, built and fitted to the chassis by American coachbuilders.

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