(1886 - 1958)
This photograph of W. W. Brown was taken on July 17, 1913 as he drove his Model 10 Buick “Bearcat” up Pikes Peak in Colorado. He had raced the car in Winfield, Kansas just 13 days earlier. Click your mouse on the photo above to see a plaque commeriating Brown’s ascent of Pikes Peak.
After reaching the summit of Pikes Peak on July 17, 1913 without the aid of horses to pull him, W. W. Brown proceeded to drive up the steps of the Summit House to get his 1910 Model 10 “Bearcat” to the highest point on the mountain that he possibly could.
The following appeared on page 7 of the July 26, 1913 issue of the
Winfield (Kansas) Daily Free Press:
“Bear Cat Went Up Pike’s Peak
W. W. Brown, Winner in (July) 4th Races Here, Performs Daring Feat in Colorado Springs,
The following interesting account tells of the drive W. W. Brown made in his “Bear Cat” Buick racer recently. Brown won second in the automobile races here on the Fourth of July. The Clipping is taken from a Colorado Springs paper:
Two Daredevil Automobile men set a new record yesterday when they drove the Buick agency, 113 North Cascade Avenue, to the summit of Pike’s Peak in three hours and 22 minutes.
W. W. Brown, a Kansas City racer, was at the wheel of the car which is known as a Buick “Bear Cat”, a 20 horsepower racing machine, and his companion was J. R. Bradley, a local automobile man.
This is the first time that a car has gone to the top of the Peak under its own power since 1900. The car which first made the trip required 24 hours for the journey.
After Brown and his companion had reached the summit yesterday afternoon, shortly before 6 o’clock, they drove their little racer, which weighed 1,400 pounds, straight up the steps onto the platform of the summit house where they posed for a photograph. They spent the night in a cabin in the mountains and returned to the Buick agency here this morning shortly after 9 o’clock.
The round trip was 58 miles and the machine used 4½ gallons of gasoline and ½ gallon of oil.
Brown’s little racer showed its relationship to the Buick which finished second to Barney Oldfield in the big Los Angeles road race early this month. The driver of the California car found his machine in the oil fields where it had been through a fire, and bought it for $50. Brown’s car also has been through a fire and he paid only $100 for it. Since buyi8ng the machine, it has started in 18 races and has won 15 firsts and 3 seconds.
“Never again,” said Brown, when he crawled out of the little car this morning at the conclusion of his trip. “Driving up the Peak may sound all right but when you try it, you find that it is anything but pleasant. It was impossible to hold the car on the road all the time. But at that, we didn’t have an accident until we started back. Leaving the Peak, we started down the cog road and busted a tire because the gravel wouldn’t hold when the brakes were on.
“We had to make frequent stops to roll large boulders out of the road and to make bridges over gullies. Our actual running time going up was three hours and 22 minutes.”
Brown and Bradley left here yesterday morning at 11:10. They had lunch at Cascade and left there at 12:10 o’clock. They made the trip up the Peak over the old wagon road. The road is almost impassable in places.
W. W. Brown in the Du Chesneau he raced at Elgin, Illinois in 1915 - John Distefano collection
#3 W. W. Brown at start of the 1915 Elgin Road Race, Elgin, Illinois
John Distefano collection
W. W. Brown, left, driving a #3 Du Chesneau in the 1915
Elgin Road Race, Elgin, Illinois – John Distefano collection
W. W. Brown, right, with his riding mechanic, Tony Gulotta who drove in the Indianapolis “500” 13 times himself between 1926 and 1939
John Distefano collection
The Buick Trophy
also known as the
R. H. Collins Trophy
R. H. Collins, manager of a Kansas City Buick dealership, awarded the Buick Trophy to the owner of the winning car in a five-mile race for privately owned entries that was contested annually at the Elm Ridge race course in Kansas City, Missouri from 1909 through 1912. Collins went on to become a vice-president of General Motors.
W. W. Brown, who was the last of the four recipients of the award, drove his own Buick 10 to victory in this race on June 15, 1912. He claimed to have purchased the car for $150 after it had been burned in a garage fire. Brown lapped the second place finisher, defending champion Jack McLean* who was driving a Velie – photo from the Velie Register
*According to an article appearing on page 9 of the September 22, 1911 issue of the Hutchinson News, Jack McLean displayed his “Velie 41” at the Kansas State Fair at Hutchinson, Kansas that year. The article states that McLean raced the car both at Kansas City and in “the Indianapolis motor race this past Decoration Day” (the 1911 Indianapolis “500”). To date, no independent validation of that latter claim has been located.