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  • Writer's pictureDavid Story

Elgin National Road Race and Fords new flathead V-8

The Elgin National Road Race was originally held from 1910 through 1920. In 1933 the motor racing spectacular was brought back as part of the festivities surrounding the Chicago World’s Fair.

Fred Frame of Indianapolis was the winner of the revival of Elgin National Road Race - Aug 26, 1933. He was driving a Ford V-8 at an average speed of 80.22 mph.

With heavy factory backing, the 1933 Elgin National Road Race for stock cars became the first sanctioned race for “production” automobiles. The competing vehicles supposedly came straight from the assembly lines, although Fred Frame’s roadster looked more like an early hot rod than a racing car.

When Ford first introduced its flathead V-8 in 1932 it was shunned by car buyers. To increase the sales of V-8 powered Ford, Henry Ford hatched an idea. He decided to get involved in racing events.

Ford utterly dominated the stock car portion of the event sweeping the top seven places, with 1932 Indianapolis 500 winner Fred Frame leading the pack. His average speed over the 24-lap, 203-mile grind was an impressive 80.22 mph - impressive when it was said that a good Ford V8 was capable of touching 85 mph on a level road. Reportedly, Frame and another Ford V8 driven by Lou Moore were clocked at just over 100 mph on the straights.


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