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The First American Grand Prix

The First American Grand Prix, The Savannah Auto Races, 1908-1911, Tanya A Bailey
The First American Grand Prix, The Savannah Auto Races, 1908-1911, Tanya A Bailey
The First American Grand Prix, The Savannah Auto Races, 1908-1911, Tanya A Bailey


ISBN: 9780786476978
RRP: $39.95 USD
Format: Paperback, 240 pages, 254mm x 178mm, 2014
Photos/Illustrations: 105 photographs and 4 maps
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The First American Grand Prix provides an in-depth look at the great motor races that took place in Savannah, Georgia, in the golden era of early road racing: the Grand Prize of the Automobile Club of America and the Vanderbilt Cup. By examining Savannah’s earlier fame in national bicycle racing competitions and its ties to the powerful dynasties who controlled the racing world, the book explains how and why Savannah was chosen. It details the construction of the course, reveals why the races and course were considered “America’s greatest” by international racing experts of the period and includes many biographies of the drivers who came to Savannah. Finally, the book explores the theories and complexities of why Savannah’s races and road racing in general came to an end.

Posted July 4, 2014 by

Full Article

I have just finished reading The First American Grand Prix: The Savannah Auto Races, 1908 – 1911 by Tanya A. Bailey. Tanya covers the history of the people, politics, and events of the Savannah Grand Prix’s.

Tanya has obviously done a great amount of research in preparation of this book. As Savannah’s history of racing dates back to the 1850’s with horse racing, then bicycle racing with Savannah building the first cement bicycle race track in America and hosting national bicycle races.

The coverage of the association and conflicts of the Automobile Club of America (ACA) and American Automobile Association (AAA) on the hosting of local races verses international races and the politics within them is well covered.

The books covers the problems of the Vanderbilt races in New York that were run on public roadway without adequate security for the public or drivers and how Savannah’s road course was developed for safety of drivers and the public. The road racing course utilized the latest developments in road construction using Macadam with the highest-quality of materials available.

The short biographies of the drivers and mechanics, was very complete and interesting.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in automotive and/or racing history.



Acknowledgments ix

Preface 1

Prologue: Early Racing in Savannah 5

1. The Automobile Club of America and the American Automobile Association 15

2. Early Racing in the South 25

3. America’s Finest Course, of Course! 31

4. March 1908 Drivers 47

5. From Triumph to Tragedy in Savannah 61

6. Drivers of the International Light Car and American Grand Prize Races of 1908 80

7. International Light Car Race of 1908 112

8. American Grand Prize of 1908 120

9. Drivers of the 1910 and 1911 Races 135

10. Cars and Races of 1910 147

11. The November 27, 1911, Races: The Tiedeman Trophy, the Savannah Challenge, and the Vanderbilt Cup 167

12. American Grand Prize of 1911 179

13. What Happened to the Great Savannah Races After 1911? 197

Epilogue 205

Appendix: Specifications and Race Results

Specifications: Cars of 1911 206

Race Results, 1908 208

Race Results, 1910 209

Race Results, 1911 210

Notes 212

Bibliography 220

Index 222

About the Author

Tanya A. Bailey is the owner and curator of the Great Savannah Races Museum in Savannah, Georgia. She is also an award-winning author, motorsports journalist, media relations volunteer and member of the Horseless Carriage Foundation and Society of Automotive Historians. She lives in Savannah.

Great Savannah Races Museum



Automotive Research Library of the HCFI

The Automotive Research Library of the Horseless Carriage Foundation was established in 1985 with the primary purpose of recreating the pioneer automotive research libraries of W. Everett Miller and Dr. Alfred S. Lewerenz. Our goal was, and still is, to make automotive research and restoration information readily available to hobbyists, restorers, and scholars worldwide.


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