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Birthplace of Speed 2003
at Ormond Beach, Florida
Ormond Beach 2003

Not All Races Are Contested on Asphalt!

What began as an unassuming find at the turn of the last century, Ormond Beach Hotel guests discovered that the beach’s hard packed sand was an ideal substrate to audition their fresh means of transportation. In 1902, an unofficial contest between Henry Winton and Ransom E. Olds on this perfect foundation set the stage for the American Automobile Association (AAA) to hold the beach’s first sanctioned time trials and races the following year (March 26th – 28th, 1903), forever etching Ormond Beach as the “Birthplace of Speed.”

Ormond Beach 2003

For the next eight years, before the event moved south to another racing icon, Daytona Beach, inventors like Olds, Winton, Ford, Chevrolet, Stanley, Packard and others came to Ormond to test their machines at what was “the only reliable flat track in the U.S.”

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the first formal meeting and battle between Alexander Winton’s “Bullet #1” and Ransom E. Olds’ “Pirate” for the Hotel Ormond Challenge Cup, Art Eastman had the unique opportunity to shoot “something different” with his visit to this year’s milestone celebration, the “Birthplace of Speed Centennial.” Incidentally, that inaugural race was won by Winton’s heavier “Bullet #1” by a small margin in 75 seconds, ripping through the Florida air at 48 mph.

Approximately 30 vintage racing machines were on hand for the beach party, including the following: 1903 Packard Gray Wolf (set several American and World records on Ormond Beach in 1904); 1904 Olds Curved Dash Runabout; 1902 Holsman; 1911 Ford Brass T Speedster; 1911 Kissel racer; 1904 Peerless Green Dragon (driven to several world records by Barney Oldfield); 1911 Franklin Desert racer; three 1906 Stanley Steamers; 1912 Cutting; 1904 Pope Toledo (winner of the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup), and as Art mentioned, vintage racer, Tom Mittler’s 1922 Wisconsin Special, which was the show’s favorite for its originality. The “Wisconsin Special” set the land speed record of 180 mph.

“With period garb adding to the show”, adds Art, it’s apparent not all vintage events need to be contested on asphalt……Walter Pietrowicz

More information, please visit: www.birthplaceofspeed2003.com

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY/ARTWORK ©ART EASTMAN

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