Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Indy 500 - The Haynes Speedster (1922)

Here's the first in my quest to run down info on all the automotive companies shown in the Indiana tourism ad that kicked off the racing season, we arrive at the Haynes Automotive Company of Kokomo, Indiana. I touched on Haynes before, running an ad for their Light Six, but this is the first time I've hit on their sportier cars. Haynes released its Special Speedster in 1921,  a year before this ad ran in Motor Life. It embodied what we think of when we hear the term "sports car." A two-seater aimed at the club-going, golf-playing, young man about town. The Speedster was a romantic convertible with Spanish leather interior, as the advertising says, "the car you want if you want to go 75 miles per hour."

In 1922 Howdy Wilcox, the 1919 winner of the Indy 500, proved the Haynes Speedster was more than up to the claim, attaining speeds up to 80 mph. However what's fast on the freeway isn't so on the bricks. In '22 Wilcox finished dead last, the exact same position he started. I guess it's not so great to be turning in speeds in the 80 mph range when the winner's turning in laps at 100 mph!

I did a little searching for images of the Haynes factory in Kokomo and came up with this shot of the Apperson shop from 1894. It's interesting to see the connection between the auto world and the world of horses and buggies. Back in the late 1800's, most of the companies that would eventually turn out cars were making wagons of one sort or another and it shows in the Apperson shop. Note the spoke wheels and the wagon-style leather seat in the background. You'd never know it was an automotive shop if not for the gears in the foreground.

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