Barney Oldfield and his Golden Submarine
1917 Barney Oldfield races his Golden Submarine.Barney Oldfield (1878-1946) was born in a farmhouse on the outskirts of Wauseon, Ohio. By 1904, Oldfield was Americas most famous race car driver. Oldfields place in racing history and American popular culture was not due simply to his success in competition, seeing as he never won the greatest races of his day. Rather, Barney Oldfields fame and significance were achieved as a result of his being a pioneer and, more importantly, as being the man most responsible for introducing Americans to auto racing. Oldfield was a working class racer. He refused to wear uniforms, livery, or even clean clothes. He chomped on a cigar as he roared through his turns. In his early years he was even known to race with a whiskey bottle tied with a cord around his neck. He was loud, profane and reveled in bawdy big city night life. And could he drive! He set innumerable records - first to drive a mile a minute and first to log a one-hundred mile an hour lap at Indy to name but a few - and helped put Firestone on the map with the Oldfield Tire. In a time when traveling shows and circuses were the primary entertainment in rural America, Oldfield took his famous cars with their fantastic names - the Blitzen Benz, the Green Dragon and, as seen here, the Golden Submarine - out on the barnstormer circuit and gave the folks a show. Aerodynamics helped make the Golden Submarine the fastest dirt track car in America during its heyday. Technology for the Golden Sub went on to influence the Miller race cars that would dominate the Indianapolis 500 for decades. This version of the poster is seen before site-specific information could be added to the top text panel.