Mar 15 2014

Alco-6 Racer at the 2011 Lime Rock Historic Festival

In September 2011, car rally expert Steve McKelvie posted on his blog about seeing the Alco Black Beast at the 2011 Lime Rock Historic Festival.


Howard Kroplick

Howard Kroplick’s Alco-6 Racer at the 2011 Lime Rock Historic Festival

Posted on September 9, 2011

Last weekend at the Lime Rock Historic Festival I had the pleasure of meeting Howard Kroplick and seeing his Alco-6 racer.  This car has a great history, as it competed in the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911 and many other important races of the era.

This is a Very Impressive Car in All Ways

Howard Kroplick is an expert on the famous Vanderbilt Cup races that were held in the early years of the last century.  That interest in the Vanderbilt Cup races led Howard to this car which competed in those races.  Howard tracked this car down in Belgium and bought the Alco-6 car a couple of years ago.

As Expected for a Race Car, the Alco-6 is a Very Basic Car

Howard showed me a picture of him at this past year’s Indianapolis 500.  At Indianapolis, Emerson Fitipaldi drove the Alco-6 for a lap around the famous track with Howard as the passenger.  The picture shows Howard in the riding mechanic’s seat at the end of the lap being congratulated by Mario Andretti with Fitipaldi at the wheel.

Howard Kroplick and Bob Melhado with “Bete Noir”

The 6-cylinder engine in the Alco-6 racer is quite large.  I forget the exact size, but I recall that it is 10 – 11 litres.  As part of the Worker’s Rides, Howard Kroplick took Chief Steward Bob Melhado for a lap around the Lime Rock track on Saturday of the Festival weekend.  Bob really enjoyed the ride! 

A Postcard of the Alco-6 in 1911

Howard has a website that is a great resource for information on the Vanderbilt Cup races and the “Bete Noir” or “Black Beast”.  The picture shown below of “Bete Noir” in 1911 came from that website.  Please check out Howard’s website as it is very interesting.

Howard Kroplick Talking About His Car to Bob Melhado and Me

The picture below shows Howard talking about the Black Beast to Bob Melhado and myself.  At the Lime Rock Historic Festival Howard was by far the most available car owner and he spent the whole day talking about his car to those who came to see it.  He is a great ambassador for the history of the Vanderbilt Cup races.

Howard Kroplick and the Black Beast Getting an Award at the Lime Rock Historic Festival

The picture below shows Howard Kroplick getting an award at the Lime Rock Historic Festival.  By this time, I had left to return home so I don’t know which award that he was given.  I hope that he got the People’s Choice Award, because there were more people around the Black Beast than any other car at the show.

Video: “Take a Ride with the Black Beast on the Lime Rock Track”


Mar 16 2014 frank femenias 12:53 AM

Nice shot of Bette Noir Howard. I can’t help to keep staring at the work involved. You and Sam did an awesome job here.

Mar 16 2014 Howard Kroplick 4:38 PM

From Roger P.

Great to see you and the Old Girl doing your thing around Lime Rock, Howard!

Mar 17 2014 L.K. 5:38 PM

Well deserved award . Well done Howard .....

Mar 17 2014 L.K. 5:44 PM

Howard , what top speed can the Black Beast hit these days?

From Howard Kroplick:

The Black Beast reached 70 miles per hour during Legends’ Day laps at the 2012 Indy 500 Race:

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