Thomas Flyer’s Historic 1908 Victory Celebrated In Reno

Starting today a centennial celebration of the Thomas Flyer’s historic 1908 victory in the New York-to-Paris Automobile Race will be featured at the National Automobile Museum, the Harrah Collection.

No other automobile has ever run or won an Around-The-World Race.

The exhibit features, the 1907 Thomas Flyer will be the centerpiece of the exhibit at the Museum, on the corner of Lake and Mill Streets, in downtown Reno and will feature:

Interactive displays, A race timeline, 12 oil paintings commissioned exclusively for the exhibit, Human-interest stories and displays describing what life was like 100 years ago.

“The exhibit will tell the fascinating story of the race plus compare and contrast common items of today with those of yesterday,” explains National Automobile Museum Executive Director, Jackie Frady.

Oil paintings by Reno artist Bob Cinkel, commissioned specifically for the exhibit, will be on display.

The 5’ x 4’ paintings depict scenes of the Thomas Flyer’s adventures throughout the race, from river crossings, blizzards and sand storms to remarkable scenery.

Newspaper stories captured the excitement of the race.

Coverage documenting the race along with race photos will be on display.

The Thomas Flyer Centennial Celebration Exhibit, funded in part by a grant from Nevada Humanities, will remain at the National Automobile Museum through January 5, 2009.

Special events are planned throughout the yearlong exhibit, with themes relating to around-the-world race events.

“Some of these events will provide audience participation opportunities. Some will encourage costumes,” says Frady. “Other programs are educational so there’s something for everyone.”

The amazing race won by the Flyer featured teams from the superpowers of the day; the United States, Germany, France and Italy.

Embedded reporters traveled with each car, reporting race progress to their own country’s newspapers.

The race captured global attention because the newly invented automobile was a novelty in 1908.

Many considered the race “madness.”

No race before or since has approached this contest of man and machine.

The six racers from France, Germany, Italy and the lone American entry, the Thomas Flyer, embarked on a 22,000-mile odyssey around the world and traveled the wildest stretches of the world’s uncharted realms.

Race teams crossed the United States from New York to San Francisco in winter, a feat never before accomplished by automobile.

They traversed the island of Japan, the first car ever seen in that country, and slogged across Siberia, Manchuria, Russia, Germany and France.

The race was a skidding, shoveling, sleet-stinging, snow-clogging war against winter and it was a rain-drenching, mud-sinking battle against spring.

Race teams drove relentlessly without rest, worked late into the night making repairs, changed tires all too often, and tested the limits of their endurance, health and sanity.

For the winning entry, victory was claimed after 169 days of fierce competition on July 30, 1908.

The Museum is open Mon. – Sat. from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sun. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and $3 for children 6 to 18 years. Children age 5 and younger are free.

Family memberships are available for $70 per year, which includes parents, their children and grandchildren under the age of 19. Individual memberships are $45.

Free parking is available in the Museum’s parking lot, off Mill Street. For more information, call (775) 333-9300 or visit