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Barney Oldfield American Automobile Racer

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It is safe to say that the name Barney Oldfield has been for 100 years without a doubt linked with the American Automobile and the American Racing Automobile. As a driver he was before the public for twenty or more years in the early 1900s.

Oldfield was born on a farm near Wauseon, Ohio January 29, 1878. When he was about 14 years old he purchased a bicycle and in 1994 won second place in an 18 mile road race.

By 1895 he appeared in several bicycle races, won two gold medal and a gold watch at the Ohio state championships in Canton. He soon afterward began selling bicycles. Barney Oldfield was soon recognized as the bicycle race champion of Ohio and turned professional. He then covered Ohio and Michigan as a traveling sales representative of bicycle manufacturers. In 1899 Barney Oldfield was introduced to his first gasoline powered motorcycle. During 1900, 1901 and 1902 he was a participant in nearly all bicycle and motorcycle events.

Probably the most significant event in Barney Oldfield's entire career came in 1902 when he became associated with Tom Cooper. This association led to a meeting with Henry Ford, who had prepared race car called the Ford "999". Cooper's money financed the "999", Henry Ford designed and built the "999" and Barney Oldfield was the driver. Seen below is Oldfield and Ford in 1902.

Barney Oldfield in the Ford 999
Barney Oldfield in the Ford "999" - Henry Ford Standing - 1902

On September 21, 1902 at the Grosse Pointe track in Detroit Oldfield set a world record and beat an Alexander Winton Racer. The next year, 1903, Barney Oldfield drove the "999" at Indianapolis in 59 3/5 seconds. This was the first time the minute mark was ever broken on a one mile course.

Posing for the picture below in 1903 are Barney Oldfield (right) and William Graham (left) in the Winton Bullet No.2 (right) and Winton Bullet No.3 (left). Barney Oldfield drove for Winton in 1903 and 1904 before joining the Peerless Motor Car Co. raceing team.

Bullet No.2 and Bullet No. 3
Bullet No.2 and Bullet No. 3

In 1904, Oldfield was hired to race the Peerless Green Dragon shown below. Powered with two 40 horsepower engines joined together, it's short exhaust blew out flames. For this reason it was the called the Peerless Green Dragon. Oldfield's first record in the Peerless Green Dragon was set at a track in Buffalo, New York.

Barney Oldfield In The Peerless Green Dragon
Barney Oldfield In The Peerless Green Dragon

Barney Oldfield's Lightning Benz shown below was built as a 150 horsepower sports car by Benz & Company in 1909. Horsepower was eventually boosted to 200 horsepower and an automobile was then built around this engine. In 1910, the car was purchased by Ernie Moross and given the name Lightning Benz. At Daytona Beach in 1911 Barney Oldfield drove the Lightning Benz 132 MPH and the car became an attraction which toured the United States much like a traveling circus.

1910 Barney Oldfield Lightning Benz
1910 Barney Oldfield Lightning Benz

Barney Oldfield drove this Stutz at the 1914 Indianapolis 500 starting 30th and finished 5th. The 1914 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, or International 500-Mile Sweepstakes Race was the fourth such race in history. It was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 30, 1914.

1914 Barney Oldfield Stutz
1914 Barney Oldfield Stutz

The Golden Submarine shown below is another popular American Racing Automobile driven by Barney Oldfield. This race car was built in 1917 and it's first race was at the Maywood Speedway in Chicago, IL. It posted a speed of 107 MPH but never finished due to engine problems. The Golden Submarine was equipped with a 4 cylinder 289 cubic inch 136 Horsepower engine

1917 Golden Submarine - Driver - Barney Oldfield
1917 Golden Submarine - Driver - Barney Oldfield

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    1920 Lexington Wins Famous Pike's Peak Hill Climbing Race
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    1920 Barney Oldfield
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