The 1907 Thomas Flyer defined early ‘supercars’ with its epic victory in the globe-circling 1908 New York to Paris Race. With 250,000 people in Times Square the morning of February 12, 1908 to watch the start of the Race, it was an event comparable to a space launch going to the moon decades later.
With only 680 miles of paved roads in the entire US (most of that in cities), many considered a winter crossing of just the US in a ‘horseless carriage’ impossible. Especially at a time when snow ploughs had not been invented. Covering 22,000 miles in 169 days, the Thomas Flyer bested German, French and Italian competitors, becoming the first US automobile to win an international racing competition.
The winning driver, George Schuster is equally celebrated for his world victory with the induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame on October 12, 2010. George’s global off-road feat still stands unchallenged over 110 years later. Today the Thomas Flyer is the Crown Jewel of the William F. Harrah collection at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, NV, and Its provenance is well established with the Flyer’s induction into the National Historic Vehicle Register on June 19, 2016.
The Flyer’s accomplishments also include becoming the first automobile to cross the US in winter in a record 41 days, 8 hours and 15 minutes. It was also the first horseless carriage ever seen by thousands of people around the world. Measured by power, endurance, provenance and its global victory the Thomas Flyer is a worthy contender to be considered one of the very first historic supercars.
Pictures courtesy of TheGreatAutoRace.com
Video link: https://youtu.be/vdyLRxeZKt8