Swan and the Indy 300
One of my relatives built his own entry to Indianapolis and drove it to 10th place... winning $800!
your picture here
This is me with my grandfather's cousin, Swan Osteweg, in 1975. Back before the First World War, Swan was an agent for Apperson Jackrabbit cars, in a small town where he was probably the only car owner (Lee, Illinois). In 1916, he modified one of his cars and took it to the Indianapolis 500 (actually, it was shortened to 300 miles because of the war)... he hired a driver named Ora Haibe, who quit midway through the race due to difficult steering... so Swan got in the car himself and finished the race. Starting 13th on the grid, the Osteweg Special finished 10th, winning $800 in prize money.

This is the starting grid of the 1916 race. No, I can't see Swan's car in the picture -- but I just got a photo of it from the Indianapolis Speedway archives, and here it is (I think that's Swan at the far right with his Kodak by his foot, but I'm not sure):

So what in the heck is an Apperson Jackrabbit? They tell me this is one. They were quite sporty in the pre-WWI days, and apparently they were one of the first sports cars to evoke the name of a swift animal in its name (doesn't quite have the same ring as "Jaguar" though).

Here's a photo of another Jackrabbit, which belonged to Ernest McClain of Dickinson County, Kansas. Many thanks to his great-granddaughter Jacki for sending me this photo.

powered by lycos
SEARCH: Tripod The Web