Great Adventures: 1908 New York-Paris Race |

Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 300+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 26000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at $9.99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade Now for $9.99 Learn more
This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points

Great Adventures: 1908 New York-Paris Race

Pat Kinsella lauds those magnificent men in their driving machines who contested a crazy 1908 car race from New York to Paris


STARTERS’ ORDERS The six competing cars jockey for position in Times Square on 12 February, with the German Protos stuck at the rear

Back in 1908, when cars were a rich man’s toy rather than a means of transport, an extraordinary race was held – covering nearly 22,000 miles across three continents. Over almost six months, team members mutinied, pistols were drawn, extortion was attempted and the cars tackled terrain ranging from frozen swamps to railway tracks.

The Great Race was staged in mid-winter, because organisers wanted competitors to drive across the frozen Bering Strait from Alaska to Russia – yet this was an era before antifreeze or snowploughs; the winning car had a convertible roof and no windscreen. Many – including Henry Ford – doubted the cars would cope. At that time, just nine people had crossed the United States by automobile – none of them during winter.

Was such a journey even possible? eoretically, yes. But, warned Britain’s Daily Mail, “the motor car, after a woman, is the most fragile and capricious thing on Earth.”


Sponsored by the New York Times and France’s Le Matin, the race captured the world’s imagination. Six cars set out on 12 February, carrying the flags of four nations, and 17 men from five countries (see line-up, right). France entered three cars. The first was a De Dion-Bouton, driven by G Bourcier de St Cha ray (who had previously organised a Marseille-Algiers motorboat race, which saw the entire field sink), with Norwegian explorer, Hans Hendrick Hansen. The second French car was a Moto-bloc, driven by Charles Godard and the third, a Sizaire-Naudin, with August Pons at the wheel.

Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of BBC History Revealed Magazine - October 2015
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - October 2015
Or 499 points
Getting free sample issues is easy, but we need to add it to an account to read, so please follow the instructions to read your free issue today.
Email Address
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.15 per issue
Or 4099 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.15 per issue
Or 2699 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 4.61 per issue
Or 499 points

View Issues

About BBC History Revealed Magazine

The October 2015 issue of History Revealed