The Baby-Vanderbilt, 1915

There seems to be very little information out there about the Baby-Vanderbilt; presumably a support race for the 1915 Vanderbilt Cup; held that year in San Francisco as part of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Unlike the Vanderbilt, which ran as a longer road race throughout the area, the Baby-Vanderbilt seems to have been run entirely within the grandstand area as a sort of miniature circle-track race. This image is from a stereoscope of the start of the race, and provides a rare opportunity to see an early 3D(ish) image of a cyclecar race. I’ve animated it here to approximate the 3D view the stereoscope provides.

In my searches for more information, I came across a marvelous post at The Garage Blog telling the story of motorcyclist Bob Mibach pausing to dig through the chicken coop at a farm with a “motorcycles for sale” sign. In a moment of barn-find perfection, he came upon one of the Baby Vanderbilt racers: an Indian twin powered and very restorable little pile of smiles. Could it have been the Indian-powered machine that propelled Harry Hartz to victory in 1915?

There seems to be precious little information out there on the Baby-Vanderbilt. Here’s a thread on the Nostalgia Forum, that mentions film of the event that doesn’t seem to be online any longer. Please pass along any more info if you come across it.

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