Dec 04 2019

Kleiner’s Kolumn:  Another Long Island Race Inspired by the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race

Three weeks after the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race on Long Island,  another group of racing daredevils took to their vehicles to vie for a coveted cup.  While not in the same league as the drivers in the Vanderbilt Cup Race or attract as much attention, they did entice others to join in this form of motorsport which is still taking place today!  And if you thought Willie K. was so young to sponsor a race,  read on!

Art Kleiner

Boys, Start Your Pushmobiles!

The race was run on the same Jericho Turnpike in Mineola as the Vanderbilt Cup Race and was sponsored by a four year old, Robert Ray Allen, the son of Robert J. Allen of the Nassau Hotel!    The Automobile, October 25, 1906

And different than Willie K., Robert Ray Allen, the sponsor, actually participated in the race.  Notice the starter - a wannabee Fred Wagner!  The Automobile, October 25, 1906

Unfortunately, Robert Ray Allen had to withdraw in the second lap.  Instead of horsepower, the cars were powered by muscle and gravity. Automobile Topics, November 3, 1906  p259


Does anyone remember these growing up?

Willie K. donated to the races, but obviously not to the same degree as his Tiffany Cup.  And as the races grew in popularity they were held in numerous locations. Brass Lamp August, 2016

Automobile Topics, December 1, 1906

Anyone interested in an Alco?  Brass Lamp August, 2016

Mechanicians were an important part of the team, but not like in Willie's race!  Motor Trade, September, 1907

Was there a Black Friday in 1907?

Must have been on every child's holiday list!  The New York Times, November 24, 1907

Even Vanderbilt Cup drivers and winners were getting in on the act and causing quite a stir ("Car Coming")! The New York Times, February 25, 1913.

Ralph Mulford

Louis Disbrow

Here's how a race was run on Nov. 17, 1906 in Flushing, Queens. Taken from "The Boy Pioneers" by D.C. Beard (1909)

Similar to the Vanderbilt Cup Races, accidents did happen!  And Willie K's name gave it significance.

Charlie Chaplin at the 1914 Junior Vanderbilt Cup Race

Read on if You Want to Build Your Own 1909 Pushmobile

"The Boy Pioneers" by D.C. Beard (1909)

The finished product, powered by the mechanician and gravity!


Dec 06 2019 Brian D McCarthy 5:53 PM

I remember going downhill in a gokart/contraption with my older brother lol. Wasn’t made as well as these though. $10 prize at that time had to be music to their ears! Check out that starting ramp they built in the video, couldn’t make it any steeper than that!

Dec 08 2019 mark schaier 7:54 PM

Remember there was a serious soap box derby, I think in Akron Ohio that ran down a long avenue, that went on for a number years. Still around?

Dec 11 2019 Jay Jarvis 3:51 PM

Does anyone have any knowledge concerning this trophy? My great uncle was John Larkin and this cup was among my late mothers things when she passed away.

Dec 12 2019 Art Kleiner 6:58 AM

Attached pic is not necessarily a push car but similar.  Couldn’t resist posting it here.  From The Autocar, Dec. 25,1925.

Dec 12 2019 Art Kleiner 10:06 AM

Marc - Soapbox derby in Akron still going strong - has evolved significantly since 1934 - take aloook -

Leave a Comment