Courtesy Automobile Club of Southern California
Cars race on the dirt/gravel course in 1915.

Here’s something not to be missed this Saturday morning, the San Diego Exposition Road Race Centennial car show and tour, starting out at 9 a.m. at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.

“Barney Oldfield, Eddie Rickenbacker, Earl Cooper, and San Diego’s own “Bad Bill” Carlson would fight it out on a six-mile elliptical circuit laid on the dirt roads of Point Loma,” reporter Richard Crawford wrote in a 2009 story in UT San Diego. “The race was planned as a promotion for the Panama California Exposition. Shriners from the Al Bahr Temple sponsored the event.”

Back in those days, the Automobile Club of Southern California sponsored and sanctioned road races; this was one of them. The photo here is one from its archives.

On Saturday, January 10, 2015, cars from that era will meet up at the Auto Museum, not only to commemmorate the event, but kick off the museum’s new exhibit that celebrates cars from 1915, the year of the Panama-California Exposition. In case you don’t know, the exposition was responsible for bringing thousands to tiny San Diego a century ago, as well as creating the iconic look of Balboa Park.

Members of the Horseless Carriage Club local chapter will be bringing their cars to the show, then “road worthy” cars will make their way to Pt. Loma for a drive around the course. Let’s hope you don’t need to get to the airport while these pieces of history are rattling down Harbor Drive.

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