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The Great Auto Race: From New York to Paris

On February 12, 1908, over 250,000 people crowded to see the decent of six teams from four different countries, as they prepared to embark on the longest automobile race in history, from New York to Paris.

World Champion Thomas Flyer built at 1200 Niagara Street Buffalo.  Driver is George Schuster, winner of the 1908 New York to Paris Race.  George was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2010, and the Thomas Flyer is in the National Automobile Museum, Reno NV.

World Champion Thomas Flyer built at 1200 Niagara Street Buffalo. Driver is George Schuster, winner of the 1908 New York to Paris Race. George was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2010, and the Thomas Flyer is in the National Automobile Museum, Reno NV.

With the race coming to an end on July 30, 1908, the Thomas Flyer had traveled three continents in 169 days. At this time, there were few paved roads in the U.S., creating more challenges for these drivers. George Schuster, a mechanic at the E.R. Thomas Motor Company, was asked to drive the Thomas Flyer in the "Great Race” and holds a record to this day, over 100 years later. Schuster was the only member of the “Thomas crew” to go the full distance.

The E.R. Thomas Motor Company manufactured motorized bicycles, tricycles, motorcycles, and automobiles in Buffalo, New York, from 1900 to 1919.  

E. R. Thomas Company employees with Thomas Flyer cars, 1908. The test driver on the right is Clarence Buxton. Clarence was scheduled to drive in the 1908 New York to Paris race, but decided to stay home since his wife was expecting their first child.

E. R. Thomas Company employees with Thomas Flyer cars, 1908. The test driver on the right is Clarence Buxton. Clarence was scheduled to drive in the 1908 New York to Paris race, but decided to stay home since his wife was expecting their first child.

These and other treasured photographs can be found in "Buffalo Memories: The Early Years."

Buffalo Memories: The Early Years Cover
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