Aug 29 2015

The William K. Vanderbilt Jr. One-Mile Land Speed Record Trophy

The zenith of William K. Vanderbilt Jr's racing career was the 1904 Ormond-Daytona Beach Automobile Races.  On January 27, 1904, he set the one-mile land speed record on the beach going 92.3 mph in a 90-hp Mercedes. To mark this achievement,  Willie K. later received this beautiful silver trophy.

Stephanie Gress, Director of Curatorial Affairs for the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum has provided details on the trophy:

It bears the Gorham silver mark, the same maker as the Borg-Warner Trophy!  It is a triple mark of a lion, an anchor and a letter G.  Gorham had many such sports trophy commissions  in that era.

The copy on the trophy reads:

One Mile

Automobile Record

Ormond Daytona Beach

Presented by

John Brevoort Morrs

Won By

W.K. Vanderbilt, Jr.

Time, 39 sec

The presenter, John Brevoort Morrs, may be a descendent of the famous Brevoort silversmith 1715-1775, whose pieces are found at the Met and other institutions. This will need additional research.

 During these January races, William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. met with A.R. Pardington, chairman of the American Automobile Association Racing Board, and finalized plans for America's first interanational auto race. Marked by this trophy, William K. Vanderbilt Jr.'s performance at the 1904 Ormond Beach Daytona Automobile Races gave him the credentials of a legitimate race driver and a leader in the sport of automobile racing.

Less than four months after receiving the One Mile Land Speed Record Trophy, William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. offered the Vanderbilt Cup trophy challenging American and European manufacturers and drivers.


Howard Kroplick

Gorham Manufacturing Company, Providence Rhode Island

Gorham Marks and Silver Codes

Borg-Warner Trophy


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