1920 Paige 6-66 Daytona

1920 Paige 6-66 Daytona 1920 Paige 6-66 Daytona 1920 Paige 6-66 Daytona
Roadster with Rear Seat
Summary
This car, a one-off Paige 6-66 Daytona, set world stock car speed records in the U.S. in 1921-1922. Additionally, it set a new Brisbane-to-Adelaide record in Australia in 1925. The car had a special German-silver body on a stock Paige chassis, and used a stock Continental 6-66 engine. In January of 1921, Ralph Mulford made some shakedown runs on Florida's Ormond Beach, and then set the Class B stock-chassis record of 102.83 mph for the mile. It was the first stock chassis vehicle of any kind to break the 100 mph barrier at Daytona Beach. In May of 1921, Mulford and the Paige secured the Class B records for all distances from five to 100 miles on the 1/8-mile banked track at Uniontown, PA. The car covered 89 miles in one hour. Disassembled and stored in Australia for 70 years, this may be the most complete and original of the early American race cars. The lumber frame for the silver body is original. Configured as it was for racing, the fenders, running boards, top, spare tire, taillights and wiring are the same as were used on the Australian cross-country run. It is a touchable piece of American racing history.

Description
This 1920 Paige, a one-off built Paige 6-66 set new stock car chassis speed records in the U.S. in 1921-1922. Providing the basis for the limited-production Paige Daytona Speedsters, before going to Australia to set a new Brisbane, Australia record in 1925.

In mid-January of 1921, Ralph Mulford, a household name from the heroic days of American racing, made some shakedown runs on Ormond Beach near Daytona Florida and then, on the long broad strip of sand where Americans have been racing and setting records since 1903, set the new Class B stock-chassis record of 354.01 seconds for the mile at 102.83 mph. It was the FIRST stock-chassis vehicle of any kind to break the 100-mph barrier at Daytona.

In May 1921, Mulford and the Paige then secured the Class B records for distance from five miles to 100 miles on the 1/8 mile banked board track at Uniontown, PA. The car covered 89 miles in one hour at slightly better than 89.6 mph for 100 miles. After the runs, Paige introduced a special "Daytona" in the style of the Stutz Bearcat and Mercer Raceabout.

After the Paige record had outlived its purpose, the car was purchased by Walter Whitburn, a Paige dealer in Australia. While in Australia, it set another world record by P.R.A in 1925. The tip took 68 hours beating the old record by nearly 14 hours.

The Paige remained in Australia until 2000, when it was imported back to its home in the U.S.

1920 Paige 6-66 Daytona 1920 Paige 6-66 Daytona 1920 Paige 6-66 Daytona
Roadster with Rear Seat
The 1920 Paige, a one-off built on a standard Paige 6-66 luxury chassis, set new stock-chassis speed records in the United States in 1921-1922. In mid January 1921, Ralph Mulford set the new Class B stock-chassis record of 35.01 seconds for the mile - 102.83 mph - on January 21. It was the first stock-chassis vehicle of any kind to break 100 mph at Daytona.

In May 1921 Mulford and the Paige then secured Class B records for distances from five miles to 100 miles, using the 1/8 mile banked broad track at Uniontown in Pennsylvania. The car covered 89 miles in one hour, and average just slightly better than 89.6 mph for 100 miles.

These were impressive figures at that time, bearing in mind that the Paige was running in 'stock' tune, its 102 mph at Daytona, which compares very well against what was then the internationally recognized outright land speed record of 124.10 mph set by Hornstead in a 200 horsepower Benz at Brooklands in 1914.

To confirm the 'production car' lineage of its record-breaker, Paige then introduced a special 'Daytona' model, a fully-equipped two-seater in the style of the current Stutz Bearcat and Mercer Raceabout.

The Paige set a World record in Australia, going from Brisbane to Adelaide in 68 hours. After the record-car had outlived its promotional usefulness in Australia, a country where Paige was far from a big seller. The car then passed through a succession of owners until coming into the possession of a struggling South Australian wheat farmer who could not afford the engine overhaul it needed.

Miraculously, it survived and spent a long time in storage and even escaped a savage brushfire. In 1980 its restoration was started and was completed in 1989. It again looked and sounded every bit as impressive as it must have been in the early 1920s.

This vehicle was shipped later to Australia to promote the brand, set further records and was dismantled and stored. Carefully rebuilt with all original parts in the 1980's it is believed to be the most complete and original of early historic American racecars. It is shown in the same configuration than when setting speed records in the early 1920s.

The Paige Automobile Company was formed by Harry M. Jewett, a wealthy coal company owner. He had taken a ride in a two-stroke, three-cylinder car that had been created by the Reliance Motor Company. The president of the company was Fred Paige. Jewett purchased the company, reorganized it as the Paige-Detroit Motor Car Company (based in Detroit, MI), and established Fred Paige as its president. Paige would remain as president for only a short period, as he was later forced out after several production problems arose. The 'Detroit' portion of the name was dropped in 1911, after Jewett had shut down production, fired many of the employees, and re-organized the company.

Their first vehicle was a two-seater vehicle powered by a three-cylinder, two-stroke engine that displaced 2.2-liters. A few years later, a four-stroke, four-cylinder model was offered. A six-cylinder unit became available by 1914. Four-cylinders would be apart of the Paige line-up until 1916, when the company focused solely on their 3.7 and 4.9-liter sixes.

The company's most famous automobile was the Paige Daytona, built between 1922 through 1926. It was a sporty, 6-liter car that (in proper guise) set many speed records. The engines were Continental units that had a stroke of 5-inches and a bore that measured 3.75-inches. The block and cylinder head were constructed from iron while the crankcase was from lightweight aluminum. The crankshaft featured adjustable pressure oil feed driven by a gear pump that provided the lubrication. It engines breathed through Rayfield carburetors, had an L-head design, and had fully-enclosed and lubricated valves. Equally impressive were the gearboxes, which were among the finest built of the era. They were three-speed Warner non-synchromesh units that had a reputation for their ease of use, reliability, and quietness.

The Daytona 6-66 Speedsters were advertised as the 'World's Fastest Car'. Their claim was reinforced when a stripped production car exceeded 100 miles per hour at the Daytona sand-beach track. In doing so, it broke every stock car record for speed after traveling a mile in a mere 35.01 seconds at a speed of 102.8 miles an hour.

A low-cost alternative was also produced, called the Jewett.

Following on the coat-tails of its sporty sibling, an eight-cylinder unit was added in 1927.

The Graham brothers were successful businessman who had made a sizeable fortune in the manufacture of glass bottles. They later began building kits for modifying vehicles into trucks. This led to the manufacture of their own line of trucks which was later purchased by Dodge in 1925.

In 1927, the Graham brothers purchased the Paige-Detroit Motor Company for four million dollars. The following year, Paige-Detroit cars became known as Graham-Paiges. For several years, trucks were added to the lineup, but this was short-lived as Dodge had a non-competition agreement with the Graham Brothers which meant Paige-Detroit had to cease production of trucks.


By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2008

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