1st Car Race in America

The winning vehicle, a Duryea Motor Wagon Company vehicle driven by Frank Duryea
The winning vehicle, a Duryea Motor Wagon Company vehicle driven by Frank Duryea

Historical Context

On July 10, 1895, the Chicago Times-Herald newspaper announced an automobile race to be held in the city, with prizes up to $5,000 being offered (roughly $150,600 in 2018). Six cars took part. Automobiles were so new in America - the first ones having been produced only two years before - that editors at the paper couldn't figure out a proper name for them. They eventually came up with the name Moto Cycle.

The route was from Chicago to Evanston and back, 54 miles (87 km). Various cars competed, including Frank Duryea's victorious car, and a German-made car by Karl Benz that came in second place.

Duryea's car won the race, taking 7 hours 53 minutes, having traveled an average of 7mph (11km/h). The Benz car came in an hour and a half later. For winning, Duryea was awarded $2,000 ($59,787 in 2018).

Photo Info


Photographer: Unknown (Public Domain)
Date taken: September 28, 1895
Location taken: Chicago, Illinois, USA

Source: Independent.co.uk

Related Events

  • 1895-11-28 America's 1st auto race organised by the "Chicago Times-Herald" - Chicago to Evanston and back; 6 cars, 55 miles, Frank Duryea wins averaging 7 MPH

Historical Photos