Skip to main content

Barney Oldfield

BARNEY OLDFIELD began the work that eventually made his name synonymous with automobile racing as early as 1902, becoming one of the most famous and colorful figures of the pioneer era with such cars as Ford’s “999,” the Winton Bullet, the Peerless Green Dragon, the Blitzen Benz, and the front-wheel-drive Christie. Although devoting most of his time to a series of barn-storming appearances on the nation’s smaller dirt tracks, the flamboyant Oldfield also drove in several major championship races for Fiat, Mercer, Maxwell, Stutz, and other manufacturers with considerable success. Early in 1910 he averaged 131.724 miles per hour with as Benz on the sand at Daytona Beach, Florida, surpassing the world’s land speed record for a measured mile by more than four miles per hour. In 1914, Oldfield drove a Mercer to second place behind Ralph DePalma in the Vanderbilt Cup road race at Santa Monica, California. He retired from driving in 1918.