Dario Resta, driving a Peugeot, won the last Vanderbilt Cup race, held in Santa Monica, California

Thursday 16th November 1916

Dario Resta, driving a Peugeot, won the last Vanderbilt Cup race, held in Santa Monica, California. In the same year, Resta also won the sixth Indianapolis 500 race. The Vanderbilt Cup, an early example of world-class motor racing in America, was organized in 1904 to introduce Europe’s best automotive drivers and manufacturers to the U.S. Named after the event’s founder, William K. Vanderbilt Jr., the grand prize of the race was the elegant Vanderbilt cup, crafted by Tiffany & Company, the famous American jewelers. Dozens of automotive pioneers traveled across the Atlantic to participate in the first major international racing competition held in the United States. The race, a 10-mile lap course over a 30-mile circuit, was held in Hicksville, New York, and had 18 entries. George Heath, a Frenchman, won the first Vanderbilt Cup in a Panhard automobile, edging out his competition with a brisk average speed of 52.2mph. French-built cars continued to dominate the Vanderbilt Cup until 1908, when daredevil George Robertson drove a 90hp Locomobile, known as “Old 16,” to victory in the fourth Vanderbilt Cup. It was the first major international racing victory for an American car, and served notice that the U.S. could compete in motor racing and automobile production. The original Vanderbilt Cup event was held a total of 11 times between 1904 and 1916, at which point the demands of World War I brought an end to the tradition.

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