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America's First Automobile Race

Charles and Frank produce the First American automobile- who created their first gasoline-powered “horseless-carriage” in 1893. Like the Wright brothers, the Duryea’s were bicycles mechanics with a passion for innovation. The brothers built their first car in a workshop located in a building in downtown Springfield, MA. Their new invention was rolled onto the city streets for testing in September 1893. It sported a one-cylinder, gasoline engine and a three-speed transmission mounted on a used horse carriage. It could achieve a top speed of 7.5 mph. Frank developed a second car with a more powerful two-cylinder engine at the following year. It was this car that he drove in America’s first automobile race on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1895. The race was sponsored by the Chicago to Evanston, IL and back. There were five entrants in addition to Duryea 2 electric cars and 3 gasoline-powered Benz machines imported from Germany. The race started in the early morning in snowy conditions. Frank Duryea was the first to cross the finish line having survived a journey punctured by numerous breakdowns and repairs. He had an averaged 7.3 miles per hour and took home a prize of $2,000 ($49,500 in today’s money)

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