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Topics:  Automobile Club of America


The New York Times
September 9, 1900

New York Members Preparing for a Six-Hundred-Mile Test.


New Quarters Will Soon Be Taken by the Club-Trenton Fair Officials Offer a Road-Run Cup.

A season of unusual automobile activity is predicted for New York and its immediate vicinity during the coming Fall.  Several of the various committees of the Automobile Club of America have been holding meetings to arrange for different events, and by Oct. 1, when most of the prominent absentees return to town, the buzz of automobile interest will be heard unceasingly.  While no immediate runs have been announced, a number of suggestions for such semi-racing events have been made, and Chairman Albert C. Bostwick of the Committee on Runs will soon have a list that will furnish plenty of amusement for the members.

It is quite possible that several members of the club may take a run to Trenton on Sept. 24 in a competition for a cup which the committee of the New Jersey State Fair has offered to the Automobile Club for a road run from New York to Trenton.  The State fair opens in Trenton on that day and will continue throughout the week.  The Automobile Club will not officially sanction the run, for it is plain that nothing less than a race will be the result, and the club has taken a decided stand against countenancing races upon the public highways.  The complete racing rules of the club are still in process of compilation, but the sentiment is shown from the following clause, which for the present is embodied in the by-laws of the club:

"It is the opinion of a majority of the present Board of Governors that the racing of automobiles by the members of the club on the public highways of the country at excessive speed, except by consent of the proper authorities, is to be discouraged as endangering the lives of the public and opposed to the best interests of automobilism."

During the fair at Trenton a series of five and ten mile races for electric, gasoline, and steam automobiles is offered, so that Trenton, as well as Guttenberg on Saturday, will have the somewhat novel feature of automobile races for county fair attractions.  This fact only illustrates the growing popularity of the new mode of locomotion, the automobile gradually encroaching upon the field formerly held alone by the bicycle.

The most ambitious effort ever attempted by the Automobile Club is now being definitely arranged.  The is a 600-mile endurance test, which will be held in October or November.  All classes of motor vehicles, exclusively of American manufacture, will be included in this test, and prizes will be given for every variety of manoeuvre; speed, however, figuring as the least desireable feature.  Probably a week will be consumed in this test, and the run may take the direction of Boston, but in that case a still further point would have to be touched, for the run to Boston and back would be but a trifle over 500 miles.  The committee in charge of this event has several localities under consideration, and at the next meeting the programme will be entirely perfected.


The first club book of the Automobile Club of America has just been issued, and beside the material customary in such volumes, there is a mass of additional information which will be found valuable to every driver of a horseless car.  The road ordinances of New York are printed in full, and extracts of the ordinances, in so far as they relate to automobiles, of Brooklyn, Chicago, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, and Newport.  There is also a complete list of all the automobile clubs and associations in the world.  Besides those already in existence in the United States, others are now being organized in Boston, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Chicago.  A list of the general and division officers of the League of American Wheelmen is also given, showing at the same time the State divisions which have issued road books.

Albert R. Shattuck is Chairman of the Automobile Good Roads Committee, and partly through its efforts the New York Legislature was induced at its last session to make a larger appropriation for good roads.

The membership list of the club contains fifteen names of honorary members, among whom are President McKinley, Gov. Roosevelt, Mayor Van Wyck, Lieut. Gen. Nelson A. Miles, Thomas A. Edison, and the Presidents of the automobile clubs of Great Britain, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Turin.  The active membership of the club is over 200.

For nearly a year the club has been without a President, George F. Chamberlain, the Vice President, being in reality the executive head.  He has refused many requests to become the actual president, his business interests not allowing sufficient leisure to attend to the detailed duties of the club.  Col. John Jacob Astor and Gen. George Moore Smith have been prominently spoken of as Presidential eligibles.  Each was a founder of the club and each has been given its career considerable attention.  The question will be decided at the coming annual meeting of the club, Monday evening, Oct. 8.  The terms of three members of the Board of Governors will expire at that time, Albert C. Bostwick, Charles P. Doelger, and George Isham Scott.  Mr. Bostwick is certain to be re-elected, and probably the others will be also.

Mr. Bostwick has his fine new French machines stored in an automobile salesroom in this city.  His French record-breaker has been used but little since his return from Europe.  It will be on exhibition at the coming automobile show in Madison Square Garden beginning Nov. 3, and with it will be a score or more of French automobiles which have recently been brought to America.  They are not all here yet, for among the club members who are still abroad are Gen. George Moore Smith, J. Howard Johnson, Clarence Gray Dinsmore, S. Clarke Bowen, and Le Droich L. Barber, and upon their return each will have a French-made vehicle.

The first social affair of the club this season, although it was quite informal in nature, was a dinner given last week to Albert C. Bostwick by the members of the standing committees.  The dinner was held at the Lotos Club, and among those present were George F. Chamberlain, Albert R. Shattuck, Whitney Lyon, C. J. Field, W. E. Scarritt, Harrison K. Bird, S. T. Davis, Jr., and A. L. Riker.  Mr. Bostwick gave a very entertaining account of his experiences in the automobile world of Paris, and offered several suggestions which he thought the club here could utilize with advantage.

Within a short time the club will leave its present rooms in the Waldorf-Astoria and take up larger headquarters in a central part of the city, and in connection with the new quarters will be a charging station for electric automobiles.

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