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SLIDER: 1904 Buffum Greyhound racer

The Buffum company of Abingdon, Massachusetts constructed in 1904 one of the most powerful racing cars of its era.  Named the Greyhound, it was made for Messrs Kimball and Moody of the Central Automobile Company.  It was powered by an 8-cylinder engine of 100 h.p., formed of two horizontal four-cylinder engines coupled together to make a flat-eight.  It was said to be the first eight-cylinder car offered for sale in the United States.  It must have been a rapid machine; it weighed a mere 2,300 lb.  Other features were coil spring suspension and direct drive (presumably meaning that there was no gearbox).  It was due to be raced by Lafayette Markle for the Central Company.

The Central Automobile Company, located at 1684 Broadway in New York, was one of the largest automobile garages in the city. Specializing in storage, repair, and sales of foreign cars, they were the authorized agent for Mors.  The design was similar to the 8-cylinder Winton racer from the previous year, and its is said that the Buffum car was constructed to race against the Winton in the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup, but there is no evidence that the Buffum was ready before 1904.

Kimball and Moody intended to race the car in speed trails and hill climbs on the east coast. An article in The Motor Age of March 13th, 1904 stated that there were problems with the carburation “which is defective and will need to be remedied.”  But the same article reported that “One of the company’s employees says he had the car out on the Coney Island boulevard early one morning and that it was timed between mile posts in not far from 42 seconds…”   Sadly, no more reports of the car appeared.  It may never have raced.

Photo courtesy of the Richard Roberts Archive

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