Home Auto Blog Jay Leno drives a 112-year-old race car

Jay Leno drives a 112-year-old race car

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Vintage Motorsports

In the contemporary world of motorsports, where race cars have evolved into intricate machines, it’s fascinating to reflect on the simplicity that characterized the early days of racing. The 1911 EMF Model 30, which recently took center stage on “Jay Leno’s Garage,” serves as a prime example of the state-of-the-art race cars from the turn of the 20th century.

This vehicle, bearing the initials of its founders, EMF, may be relatively obscure today, but it once held the position of the fourth most popular automotive brand in the United States. Interestingly, it also earned the less-than-flattering moniker of “Every Mechanic’s Friend.”

Dale Critz Jr., the current owner, has delved into the car’s history and confirmed that it was immediately put to the test on the race circuit in Savannah, Georgia, fresh off the assembly line. While some modifications were made, such as stripping down the bodywork and adding an extra oil tank, the flathead engine remained in its original state.

One notable feature of this car is its two-seater configuration, a design choice that not only aimed to maintain a connection to the road cars available to customers but also accommodated a riding mechanic in the passenger’s seat. This riding mechanic played a crucial role, manually pumping engine oil through a total-loss system that dispersed oil onto the road after circulating through the engine.

Safety considerations were markedly different in those times, both for drivers and spectators. The Model 30 lacked seatbelts, and many of the races it participated in took place on public roads without protective barriers to shield spectators from the path of oncoming vehicles or to prevent accidents from endangering bystanders.

Today, the EMF Model 30 continues to be driven, offering a unique glimpse into the earliest days of motorsports. It serves as a poignant reminder of the substantial strides made in safety over the ensuing decades.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Vintage Motorsports

What is the significance of the 1911 EMF Model 30 in motorsports history?

The 1911 EMF Model 30 is a significant historical artifact as it provides a window into the early days of motorsports. It exemplifies the simplicity and challenges faced by race cars from the early 20th century.

Why is it called the EMF Model 30, and what is the story behind the “Every Mechanic’s Friend” nickname?

The car is named after its founders, EMF. “Every Mechanic’s Friend” was a humorous nickname bestowed upon it due to its reputation for being relatively easy to maintain, making it a favorite among mechanics.

What modifications were made to the EMF Model 30 for racing purposes?

While the EMF Model 30 was used for racing, it underwent some modifications, such as stripping down its bodywork and adding an extra oil tank. However, its flathead engine remained in its original stock condition.

Why does the EMF Model 30 have a two-seater configuration?

The two-seater design of the EMF Model 30 was not only intended to resemble the road cars available to customers but also to accommodate a riding mechanic. This riding mechanic had the crucial role of manually pumping engine oil through a total-loss system during races.

How were safety concerns addressed in the early days of motorsports, as exemplified by the Model 30?

Safety standards were vastly different in those times. The Model 30 lacked seatbelts, and many races took place on public roads without protective barriers, exposing both drivers and spectators to higher risks. It serves as a stark reminder of the improvements in safety witnessed in motorsports over the years.

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1 comment

CarEnthusiast45 December 2, 2023 - 11:13 pm

dale critz jr.’s got a real beauty there! manual pumpin’ oil, no seatbelts? wild times!

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