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The 1907 Thomas Flyer circled the globe—without roads—in 169 days

The fictional Leslie Special, driven by Tony Curtis in the 1965 comedy The Great Race, has nothing on the real thing, the 1907 Thomas Flyer. Winner of the first New York-to-Paris ’round-the-world car race in 1908, the Flyer required no movie tricks to successfully complete the historic endurance race. Not with gritty George Schuster behind the wheel.

The Thomas Flyer, built by the E.R. Thomas Motor Company of Buffalo, New York, is the latest automobile featured in Up Close, the Historic Vehicle Association’s text-based, story-telling video series about vehicles in the National Historic Vehicle Register. And what a story it has to tell.


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They made some great films in the mid 1960s. The Great Race, it’s a Mad, Mad World, Those Magnificent Men in their flying machines. Natalie Wood, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk, wow!


Forget about the Leslie Special - I always wanted the Hannibal 8!  Growing up, "Push the button, Max!" was a common phrase in my house.

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