The Great Race

Over the weekend, my family went skiing (at Snowshoe, WV).  Monday night we watched a great old movie with the kids, which everyone enjoyed immensely.  A classic from 1965, The Great Race – starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood.  While fun and interesting – what does this have to do with genealogy?

Well, while this movie was a slap-stick comedy (and the most expensive comedy made at the time at a cost of $12M), it was actually based on real events. In 1908, there really was a New York to Paris race (the long way) staged with entries from multiple countries. The winner and entry from the United States was a 1907 Thomas Flyer, built by the E.R. Thomas Motor company of Buffalo, NY, and driven by George Schuster.  The car survived, was restored and is on display in Reno, NV at the National Automobile Museum.

Edwin Ross Thomas was the founder of the E.R. Thomas Motor company.  Thomas was the son of Joseph Batty Thomas and Elizabeth VanHook.  That’s right – the VanHook family has a connection to one of the great comedy movies of all time!  Click on Edwin’s name to find out more about him and his family. E.R. Thomas led an interesting and colorful life – his photo is shown here.Edwin Ross Thomas

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