Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Barney Oldfield and the Golden Egg -- September 29, 2010

Barney Oldfield was a pioneering auto racer. The Golden Egg, also known as the Golden Submarine, was an early effort at streamlining. The car was designed by Fred Offenhauser and Harry A Miller, who both became famous racing car builders. Except for the skinny tires and spoked wheels, it looks remarkably modern. The "outlets" (windows) were covered with screens because he couldn't get rounded glass. Glass all around could also have been dangerous. From the 22-July-1917 New York Tribune. Click on the image for a much larger version.

Barney Oldfield's New Racing Contraption Has Been Christened the "Golden Egg"

In the old days Barney Oldfleld was ever the picturesque daredevil of the automobile racetrack. And he certainly did stunts, all the way from the Ford 999 and Peerless Green Dragon times until he had made all the dirt track "records" that Bill Pickens could think of or Ernie Morosa lay claim to. But now, apparently, our Barney has become cautious. Look at this racing machine in which he now competes, which someone has christened the "Golden Egg," because of its form and color. Racing in a sedan, it looks like to us. But Barney knows that if she ever turns over he'll be safe. There are no corners to catch on anything.

The "Golden Egg" is made with outlets all around at the top, which are covered by a heavy wire netting. This gives vision on every side, but stops things from flying in. The exhaust leads out through the back end of the egg. When Barney and the cigar and the mechanician are inside it is just like racing in a closed car. Of course, modified wind resistance, as well as the principle of safety first, have something to do with the idea. The body was built to Barney's ideas on a chassis which he developed himself, and he has used it in several racing engagements thus far. Respect for the truth compels us to say it could have been more successful.

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