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The Great Race of 1878

September 30, 2016

THE GREAT RACE. 1878. The world's first auto race. Green Bay to Madison. The Wisconsin State Legislature offered a $10,000 prize(about $250,000 today) to the winner. There were six entrants - all of whom would have to invent and build their vehicles from scratch. This was all new - the first automobile in the USA had just been invented a few years prior by John Carhart (with help from J I Case) in Racine, Wisconsin.  After years of planning and construction, only two teams were able to compete in the race - The City of Green Bay, a fast and unpredictable vehicle that could sometimes drive at speeds in excess of 10 miles per hour, and The City of Oshkosh which was much slower but more reliable. Oshkosh won. The average speed over the entire race was 6 mph. The photo depicts the winning vehicle. The steam is fake - a retoucher's attempt to add drama to the photo.