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Barney Oldfield

   Barney Oldfield

                           

Barney Oldfield started his career as a racer on a bicycle, but everything changed in 1902 when he was hired to drive automobiles for a little known automaker out of Detroit. Henry Ford had driven his 999 for himself in a race or two, but soon decided that he felt safer just making the cars. He needed someone else with the sheer grit and daring needed to drive his car at high speeds, and 24 year old Barney Oldfield was the man for the job. After seeing the 999 for the first time, Oldfield told Ford, "But I've never driven a car." Inexperienced as he was, Oldfield is rumored to have learned the controls of the car the morning of his first race, and by the end of the day he had defeated what was thought to be the world's fastest car, the Winton bullet. He defeated all the competitors by at least half a mile in a five mile race. Barney Oldfield made a name for himself that day as a fearless and exciting driver, and he also put his sponsor, Henry Ford, on the map and on his way to becoming the most prominent American automaker of all time.

 

                 
 
   
 
Copyright 2003 Pierre J. Lachance