In February 1908, the New York Times and the Parisian newspaper Le Matin teamed up to sponsor a race from New York’s Time Square to Paris, by way of San Francisco, Vladivostok, and Moscow. Six cars from 4 nations entered: a German Protos, a Züst from Italy, and three French cars. The lone American entry was a 1907 Model 36 Thomas Flyer, piloted by racing driver Montague Roberts and mechanic George Schuster. With 6 fuel tanks holding 176 gallons of gasoline, and the car’s custom built 60-hp, 4-cyl engine, the Thomas was ready. Consistently the leader across the United States, the Thomas reached San Francisco on March 24th. Only the Züst, the Protos, and the Thomas made it past Vladivostok. The Züst expired in Siberia, leaving the Protos and Thomas to duke it out across Asia and Europe in a dead heat. The Protos reached Paris four days before the Thomas, but it was found they had used rail shipment for part of the journey and were penalized 30 days. The Thomas, with Schuster at the wheel, made a triumphant entry to Paris on July 30th resulting in great prestige for the American auto industry and for Thomas in particular. Thus, the Thomas Flyer signifies the coming of age of the early American automobile industry.
This car shares the same great heritage and bloodline as the famed around-the-world Thomas. The Thomas Flyer was one of the most powerful, elegant cars of the first decade of American Auto manufacturing.
There are only 3 authentic 1907 Thomas Flyers remaining.