1909 Buick Racer
Wetplate collodion tintype photography by Conrad Young
History of the 1909 Buick Racer
This one of a kind Buick was the second car to be registered in Orange County, CA. Originally, it was a 1909 Touring which was changed into a racer by a Santa Ana blacksmith in 1910. (now the site of Knowlwood Restaurant on the corner of the 5 freeway and Sand Canyon Road in Irvine.)
Raced by the Ellis brothers of Santa Ana, the car took 5th place in a 1912 race from Los Angeles to Phoenix against Barney Oldfield.
The Pioneers of Buick Auto Racing
Walter Lorenzo Marr was an Automotive pioneer and talented engineer who worked with David Dunbar Buick perfecting the first Buick production automobiles. He worked with Mr. Buick a number of times around the turn of the century, building Buick’s first two one-off vehicles. He was the Buick Motor Company’s first Chief Engineer from 1904 through 1918 staying on as consulting engineer until 1923. He was also the founder of the Marr Auto Car Company in 1903 which produced the Marr Auto Car. The Marr Auto Car was one of the world’s first automobiles with an overhead camshaft (OHC) engine.
Based on the team of Burman, Chevrolet and Strang, the race car was a 1909 Buick Model 16 with a frame supplied by Marquette Motor Company. The racers later became known as Marquette-Buicks. Their history and races were detailed in this 2002 article in Antique Automobile .
Three Marquette-Buicks raced in the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race.