Feb 23 2009

The Alco Team at the 1911 Elgin National Trophy Race

From 1909 to 1911, the Alco-6 Black Beast Racer competed in 13 major races. The Alco's last race was at the Elgin National Trophy Race held on August 26, 1911. Despite finishing a strong second , the American Locomotive Company decided to quit racing two weeks later. Lee Ferbin of Springfield, Missouri has forwarded the above image with this amazing commentary.

My grandfather was part of the 1911 ALCO team and I have this photo of all the members of the "ALCO Camp". My grandfather (Herbert Carl Ferbin) is on the far left. For years I could not imagine what the "ALCO camp" was, never connected it to racing or trains. I know that I was thrown off by the calf in the foreground. At some point of doing research, I found a list of racers at the Elgin and learned about Harry Grant and part of the story began to fall in place.

My father died in 1999 (born 1907), but earlier he told me his mother always went to the Indy 500 when he was a kid (by then his parents had divorced). I wonder whether my grandfather was at the 1911 Indy with the same crew and the Black Beast.

I'll keep checking your site and wish you great luck with the ALCO. My first grandson is 7 months old and I look forward to sharing all the photos on your site with him when he is older and telling him that his great-great grandfather worked on that car. If you are able to bring the ALCO to Indy, I'll try to make the trip to see it and meet you. Thanks.

Lee, thanks for sending your email and photo to me and agreeing to share them on VanderbiltCupRaces.com. Looking at the photo, driver Harry Grant can be seen in the middle with his hands folded. His mechanician George Babcock is to his right. Frank Lee, who drove one of the three Alcos in this race, is standing to the far right wearing an Alco sweater.

I am planning to bring the Alco to the 2011 Indy Race to celebrate the centennial of the inaugural Indy race. Hope to meet you there!

Links to related posts on VanderbiltCupRaces.com and the Elgin Races:

1911 Elgin National Trophy Results

Alco Black Beast Racing History (1909-1911)

Index: Alco-6 Black Beast Racer

History of the Elgin Road Race

The Elgin Road Race Collection- The Crittenden Automotive Library

Elgin Road Race Photos


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