National built cars from 1900 to 1924 in Indianapolis, originally powered by electric motors. Electricity was phased out as a power source in 1906 when Arthur C. Newby became the company president. Newby was one of the four founders of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where National won the 500 mile race in 1912 at an average speed of 78.72 mph. National still holds the record as the largest engine to ever win the Indy 500 with a four-cylinder engine that displaced 490 cubic-inches!
National factory teams raced throughout the US with wins and success in such races as Elgin, Santa Monica, Los Angeles to Phoenix, Visalia, Panama-Pacific, Savannah and many others. The factory effort ended in 1912 after Joe Dawson's win at Indy, but private owners continued with limited success (and limited factory help) until 1919. In 1922 National merged with Dixie Flyer Company and went broke in 1924.Also photographed at :
By 1906 electric cars were dropped and National began building a reputation at the race track. Nationals were driven to an unprescendented 84 first place finishes in races around the country in 1910.
A Speedway Runabout won the second running of the Indy 500 in 1912. That was the last year National focused on racing and began offering several different models of fine cars. By 1924 the company had gone bankrupt.