The racers line up at the starting point in Times Square.
Image: Library of Congress
On the frigid morning of Feb. 12, 1908, a quarter of a million people lined the streets of New York City to witness the start of a contest without precedent: a westward automobile race from New York to Paris.
Sponsored by the New York Times and the French newspaper Le Matin, the race featured six cars from four countries — three from France and one each from the United States, Germany and Italy
The planned route would take the racers across the United States, up through Canada into Alaska, over the Bering Strait (which race organizers hoped would be frozen solid in the dead of winter) to Siberia, through Russia and finally Europe and Paris. Read more…