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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Pre-WWII Racing Topics:  Automobile Club of America, Gordon Bennett Automobile Cup, Avery D. Andrews


The New York Times
December 20, 1899

The American Organization Decides to Enter the Competition Next Year in France.

A special meeting of the Automobile Club of America was held at the Waldorf-Astoria last night for the purpose of considering the challenge for the Gordon Bennett Automobile Cup, at present held by the Automobile Club of France, and which will be contested for next summer in France.  George F. Chamberlin, Vice President of the club and Chairman of the Board of Governors, presided.  The matter was referred to the Committee on Runs, Tours, and Contests, which made a favorable report.  It was then unanimously resolved to accept the challenge, and notification of the fact with 3,000f. forfeit will be mailed to-day.

The club has a right under the rules to be represented by three vehicles.  Two members have already signified their desire to challenge through the club.  They are A. L. Riker of the Riker Electric Motor Company, Elizabethport, N. J., and Alexander Winton, a manufacturer of automobiles at Cleveland, Ohio.  It is understood that the third challenger will be the Locomobile Company.

The prospects of the race were eagerly discussed at the club, and confidence that the trophy would be brought to the United States was freely expressed.  "And once we get it here," said one member enthusiastically, "it will come to stay, like the America's Cup."

The clubs that will compete, in addition to the American Club, are the Automobile Club of Great Britain, the Automobile Club of Austria, the Automobile Club of Germany, the Automobile Club of Switzerland, and the Automobile Club of Turin.  The competing automobiles must weigh not less than 400 kilograms and carry at least two passengers seated side by side.  Each passenger must weigh not less than seventy kilograms, and both must remain in the vehicle throughout the race.  If passengers of lighter weight are carried the difference must be made good with ballast.  The automobiles must be made in every part in the countries from which they challenge.

The race, which will be held under the rules of the Automobile Club of France, will be a go-as-you-please affair, without any stipulated stoppages to take place on the road.  The distance will be from 550 to 650 kilomtres, the course to be between two towns or apportioned into several outward and homeward journeys, of not less than 150 kilometers each.

Gen. Avery D. Andrews, who has resigned as Adjutant General of the National Guard, has also resigned the Presidency of the Automobile Club of America, of which he was elected the head at the first meeting of the organization on Oct. 16.  Capt. Homer W. Hedge, Secretary, said last night that a meeting of the club would be called shortly to elect a new President.  Among the candidates for active membership are Sir William C. Van Horne, President of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and G. Creighton Webb.  The club intends to establish a good library of automobile literature and to institute lectures on the subject of automobiles.

Frederick R. Simms, founder of the Automobile Club of Great Britain, is expected to visit New York in February, when the American club will give a dinner in his honor.

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