Jul 21 2012

Image Analysis: Motor Parkway’s Opening Day Sweepstakes

Steve M: "I have obtained two  19 1/2" x 16 3/4" race photos of Herb Lytle. What can you tell me about these photos..the who, what and when? The corner of the photos reads "Press photo co.1402 Bway N.Y." On the back of one of the photo is a sticker that reads "office - no 4 outside brokaw office 4. ""


Howard Kroplick

The Isotta Winning the 1908 Motor Parkway Sweepstakes

Steve, your first photo shows Herb Lytle driving the 60-HP #P42 Isotta to victory at the 1908 Motor Parkway Sweepstakes held on October 10, 1908. Held two weeks before the Vanderbilt Cup Race on October 10, 1908, the Motor Parkway Sweepstakes celebrated the opening day of America's first parkway built for automobiles. The Isotta had just passed the finish line in front of the 5,000 capacity grandstands located in the Hempstead Plains (now Levittown).

Watching Lytle take the checkered flag was William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. (right) acting as the race referee and Jefferson DeMont Thompson (left), chairman of the Vanderbilt Cup Race Commission.

The owner of the Isotta was Clifford K. Brokaw, a Manhattan stockbroker and part of the Brokaw Clothing Company. Based on the sticker information on the back of the photo, it is possible this photo was commissioned for Brokaw.

The #P42 Isotta and #J11 Chalmers-Detroit During the Sweepstakes Races

The second photo was taken during the race from the Plainview Road Motor Parkway Bridge,looking west.

A different view of the Plainview Road Motor Parkway Bridge , looking north-east.

The #J11 Chalmers-Detroit was competing in the Jericho Sweepstakes which was held concurrently with four other sweepstakes races. The car was driven by W.R. Burns and finished first among the six "J" cars, averaging 46.2 mph.

The Isotta making the turn before thebridge. Note the crowd in the background watching the race.

Steve M. is considering selling the two photos. If you are interested, please send an email to me at Howard@Kroplick.com .


Jul 22 2012 Howard Kroplick 4:21 PM

From Bill S.

“Howard – Even though I am not a New Yorker, I do enjoy your weekly emails.  I image I takes you a lot of time to research automotive history.  On a whim, I searched Wikimedia Commons and came up with this photo owned by the Library of Congress.  Note the reference to the George Graham Bain Collection.  Possibly another lead for you?  I’m sure you are out motoring today.  All the best.  Bill


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