You may be surprised to learn that Mercedes Benz was racing its cars right here in Nassau County, and through the Town of Hempstead as an entrant to the 30.27 mile (48.7 km.) long Vanderbilt Cup Race in 1904. An international race founded by William Kissam Vanderbilt ll, and which predates Indianapolis 500, which began in 1911, by 7 years.
Incredibly, FIAT, the Italian auto manufacturer, was also here in Nassau County in 1905 racing its cars, which were driven by Vincenzo Lancia, who would later go on to found the Lancia automobile brand, which today is a part of the FIAT Group of automobiles (FCA).
Swiss-born driver and co-founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company, by the name of Louis Chevrolet raced on Willis Avenue in Albertson driving a FIAT in 1905.
All of these century-old historic gems, and more, have been compiled on a remarkable web site, along with vintage photos of the drivers, cars, track, towns and landmarks such as the prominent Garden City Hotel, which served as the off-track race headquarters.
Created by Mr. Howard Kroplick, the site is called:
116 years ago, crossing the Atlantic was not an easy endeavor, but it was an exciting time; the birth of the automobile, the call of the race. This call propelled the likes of Mercedes Benz and FIAT in their early years, to make the long journey to America, here to Nassau County, Long Island, our home.
Mr. Kroplick's research and enthusiasm brings the relevant history of auto racing on Long Island to life through the Vanderbilt Cup Race, and presents a remarkable historic precedent, to the proposed U.S. Grand Prix at Jones Beach, since those participants in 1904, were the historical forerunners to some of the modern teams of Formula One.
116 years later, the U.S. Grand Prix at Jones Beach proposal would see the successors of the Vanderbilt Cup teams racing in Nassau County once again.
Without the slightest exaggeration, F1 would be coming home.
A PROPOSAL TO BRING F1 TO NEW YORK
U.S. GP JB _ U.S. GRAND PRIX AT JONES BEACH
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U.S. GP JB