1906 Glidden Tour


 1906 Harrison Touring on a Sunday afternoon in downtown Detroit, Michigan.

Touring was a family affair then, just as it is now.

Photo Courtesy Gerard Lacey Collection

1906 Glidden Tour

The second Glidden Tour became an international event by traveling north into Canada from Buffalo, New York. The tour started on July 9 with a deceptively easy first day of touring. The sixty-five entrants reached the check points ahead of time giving the drivers and passengers an opportunity to look over their vehicles, add gasoline, and have a bite to eat since no lunch time was figured into the official tour schedule. On the second day, the Glidden tourists had to complete the seventy-six miles from Auburn to Utica in four hours and twenty minutes. This task was made difficult by roads that were terrible in the extreme, and many drivers expressed the sentiment that they hoped never again to drive in New York State. The road from Utica to Saratoga was described as “vile” and eliminated several entrants on the third day. Cars broke axles and got lost in dust so dense that a search light was necessary to see. On Schwartz’s hill, near Amsterdam, cars got stuck on the thirty percent, three-quarter-mile long grade. The delayed motorists helped others out so that everyone made it over, and many cars enhanced their reputation by handling the hill with ease. One man did nothing to improve his reputation when “he took the road and held it at a fifteen-mile gait, refusing to give up to delayed tourists who had just escaped the hills. He drove fast only when a car wanted to pass.” When he arrived at Saratoga Springs he was given a cold shoulder by all for his uncouth behavior. The Glidden Tour continued on to Plattsburg, crossed the border into Canada and on to Montreal, Three Rivers, and finally Quebec. Of the fifty contestants who started, thirteen finished with perfect scores. Some of these, of course, did not make the full tour, only going part way and leaving the tour. Others joined the tour as it progressed along. Percy P. Pierce was voted the winner for the second year in a row, as his only adjustment or repair was cleaning one spark plug. The organization of the “Mud Larks,” the survivors of the New York to Pittsburgh endurance run of 1903, had a dinner on the 1906 tour to celebrate their reunion.


Twelve of the thirteen finishers of the 1906 Glidden Tour received these medals. Percy P. Pierce retained the Glidden Trophy he won the previous year.