Mar 10 2010

Article “Driving The Ford” & the Future of the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race Winner

The Spring 2010 issue of Hagerty's magazine profiles Bob Casey, curator of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The article "Driving "The Ford" describes the current condition of "Old 16" and speculates about its future.


Here is Bob Casey in front of his Old 16. Highlights from the article:

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Old Number 16, the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup-winning Locomobile Racer. All of its exterior finishes are original. Casey read about it as a kid in Ken W.Purdy's seminal The Kings of the Road. "Bringing it here was the fulfillment of a childhood dream," Casey says. Not unexpectedly, its conservation is a continuing battle. "From time to time, paint will flake off and we'll literally glue it back on."

The engine of Old Number 16 presents the museum's most serious preservation issue. "Recently, we noticed a crack in the combustion chamber. We're monitoring it and it's clearly getting worse; oil is starting to mix with water. Old Number 16 has been run every year since 1906. We haven't said we'll never run it again, but if we do, it will be very sparingly."

Casey's love for the car is evident: "When it runs at twilight, you can see flames coming from the exhaust; at idle, you can hear the individual explosions and it literally blows smoke rings from the exhaust." It visually saddens him that this living and breathing piece of history may become inanimate. However, Casey can take satisfaction in knowing that his efforts have ensured that Old Number 16 will remain on display where thousands of people will see it each year.

As seen in this film, Old 16 was last run in September 2008.


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