Friday, May 18, 2018

They used an EMF 30 for AAAs pathfinding duties for the Glidden Tour from Detroit to Denver in 1909

In 1909, William Metzger arranged to have the E-M-F “30” designated as the pathfinder for the Glidden Tour.

Metzger, the M in EMF, had been a star Cadillac salesman, and joined Barney Everitt, and Walter Flanders, production manager at Ford, when they partnered up to launch their own automotive brand in 1908. They later sold to Studebaker in 1912

Pathfinding was a grueling experience involving travel over the worst kinds of roads (if you can even call them roads), fording streams and braving the elements to map out a path that tour participants could follow.

The first tour was in 1904 and ended at the 1904 World's Fair at St. Louis, Missouri. The AAA sought a major event that would involve local clubs and draw national attention to the possibility of cross-country motoring. After the 1913 tour, it was felt that the purposes that had given rise to its birth had been fulfilled, and the activity ended.

The 1909 version of the tour would be longest thus far in the series at approximately 2636 miles. Tour participants started out in Detroit, making there way to Chicago, then north to Minneapolis, on to Omaha and Denver, and then ending up in Kansas City.

The initial road out of Detroit was about 10 miles of brick pavement, but then turned to mostly deep sand for the rest of Michigan. If that sounds ridiculous, remember, one of the biggest sand dunes in America is in Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes. Michigan is home to the largest dune system in the world, associated with a freshwater lake.

The sand was so deep that the drivers found themselves bobbing and weaving back and forth as if in a boat on some rapids. And the dust was so think behind the cars that any follower had to trail behind 50 yards just to be able to see where he was going.

If you look at the picture taken during the pathfinding expedition, you will notice that mud. The E-M-F was either driving through it, stuck in it or being pulled out of it. for this and many postcards of the 1909 pathfinding trip

 At one point in the journey, after driving through hub-deep mud for hours, Lewis and the crew stopped in Minnesota and weighed the car and found they had picked up an addition 1100 lbs. in mud!

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