Winning brings sponsors. This was true in the 1920’s and still is today.
Racing in the first half of the 1920’s was good for the Lexington Motor Company. Firestone, , Triangle Gasoline ,Rayfield Carburetors, Connecticut ignitions , Mobiloil, just to name a few picked up Lexington and their Pikes Peak Hill Climb race cars wins in their advertising .
The racing success of Number “7” was only the first half of the “Legendary Lexington” story. The second stage of the story, in my eyes, is just as important as the first half. How does a hill climb race car survive for 90 plus years in as raced condition? Most cars that were lucky enough to survive racing were usually torn down, parted out , or worse yet sent out to be scrapped, as technology pasted them by.
What would happen to Number “7” ?
After the Pikes Peak Hill Climb win in 1924. The Lexington Motor Company and the mountain parted ways. The company was in dire trouble and would only hang on for a few years longer. The race cars were offered for sale to any interested Lexington Dealerships. Lucky number “7” was going to have a new home.
The New York City Lexington dealer Harry Diamond bought the race car and displayed it in his N.Y. dealership for many years. Some where along the line at a later date, seven was moved into the dealership basement for storage. The good news it was stored in a good place and not forgotten. Short term storage , turned into long term storage of around twenty years. Details are not crystal clear, but some time in the early 1940’s a great caretaker was to appear , and the basement banishment would be over.
From a Diamond, to a DuPont, through a Stanley, and finally back home. Connecting the 1940s to the 1990 and back to home.
People have asked how does PPHC history get lost of worse yet forgotten over the years. Some compare it to Moonshiners’ history, passed down by word of mouth, (seldom in writing) from one generation to next . Tall tales embellished , dates and names crossed over ,with some stories becoming folk lore while others are totally lost. One man went on a mission to get the stories put into print. Stanley DeGeer, the most prominent “Race to the Clouds” author started a hunt for the original Pikes Peak Hill Climb “Penrose” trophy . Not only did he find the trophy, he alsoalong the way, with the help of Lexington historian Henry Blommel, found the Lexington race car number 7 stashed away in the DuPont family collection.
The “DuPont” family !
If you look up DuPont family on Wikipedia, most folks will notice, ” Since the 19th century, the DuPont family has been one of the richest families in America.” The DuPont’s’ also manufactured up-scale automobiles from 1919-1933. What Pikes Peak Hill Climb fans will remember about the family is they saved Lexington number 7. Details of the time in the families collection are vague . The car was last kept in the Colonial Flying Museum in Toughkenamon Pennsylvania. What is known from their purchase in the early 1940’s until it was rediscovered in 1994 , the car still remained in as raced condition AND was turn key ready and running well. (That is no small feat) .
Through the hard work of Stanley DeGeer, the DuPont family and the Pikes Peak historical group the Lexington number seven was going back to Pikes Peak. The car would go on to spend time displayed at the Hill Climb Museum in Manitou Springs Colorado and the Fayette County Historical Museum in Connersville Indiana .
Back Home !
Today its’ forever home is in the El Pomar Pikes Peak Historical Museum in Colorado Springs along with several other PPHC historic race acrs and memorabilia. Number Seven is displayed in the place of honor , at TOP of the display next to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb Penrose trophy . Stop in and check it out, the place is amazing.
Thanks for reading the story of the Legendary Lexington !
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