Early American Automobiles

My Tribute to one of America's Greatest Heroes

Edward "Eddie"Vernon Rickenbacker
October 8, 1890 July 27, 1973


Factory worker for Columbus Buggy Company, race car driver for Mason, Duesenberg, and Maxwell automobile companies, the "Ace of Aces in the Army Air Corp in the First World War and was awarded the Meal of Honor, Principal owner of the Rickenbacker Automobile Company, Indianapolis Speedway owner, Vice President in General Motors, and owner and founder of Eastern Air Lines, and he was a genuine American Patriot.

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David and William Rickenbacker


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Adelaide admiring a painting of her husband
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Adelaide Rickenbacker

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Columbus Buggy Factory, 1908

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The photograph shows Eddie in a Firestone-Columbus, driving orator, statesman, and politician William Jennings Bryan (seated behind Eddie) on a Texas speaking tour in 1909. Eddie was in Texas helping the Columbus Buggy Company establish dealerships for the Firestone-Columbus and offered to drive Bryan as an advertising stunt


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The original Columbus Buggy Company
factory in Columbus, Oh.

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The Mason Racing Team from left Eddie Rickenbacker, Eddie O'Donnell, his mechanic, Billy Chandler, and
Fritz Walker


Eddie raced in the first Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day, 1911. He raced for the Columbus Buggy Company until 1912, when he left to become a professional racer. He raced for a second rate team called the "Flying Squadron" until the end of 1912, when he took a job with Fred and Augie Duesenberg at the Mason Company. After a brief time racing for Peugeot and Maxwell, he was named manager of the Prest-O-Lite Racing Team. He raced for Prest-O-Lite until the end of 1916


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Eddie and his mechanic in a 1912 Mason Racer, later
called Duesenberger

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Pictured with Eddie, fourth from right, with a group of men looking at a race car engine in 1915, are Teddy Tetzlaff, Bob Burman, Harry Grant, Billy Carson, and Joe Thomas
Four of these were killed in racing accidents

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Rickenbacker seated with Johnny Aiken and Dario Resta owner and manager of his race team



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Eddie and mechanic in his 1914 Maxwell Racer

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Sgt. Eddie Rickenbacker


His first major task in the Army was General Pershing's driver. He Told General Mitchell that anyone could drive an automobile. He wanted to be a pilot. General Mitchell his permission for him to train to be a pilot.
What a pilot he became!

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Flying High Into the Sky

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Abe Carp, Rickenbacker's gunnery sergeant
He and Rickenbacker devised a sytem that
prevented the guns from jamming.

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The 94th Ground Crew


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Proud to be a Soldier


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94th Aero Squadron

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Eddie with some of his fellow pilots

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Eddie Rickenbacker received the Medal of Honor for his flying exploits during World War I.

He had 25 confirmed kills in nine months


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Eddie and his mother at his homecoming

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Adelaide Rickenbacker

After Eddie returned from World War I as America's hero, he was linked romantically by the press with a variety of women. However, given the grueling travel schedule he kept, he didn't have time for romance. That changed in 1921, when Eddie renewed his acquaintance with Adelaide Frost Durant, whom he had known on the auto racing circuit;


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1926 Rickenbacker Boattail  Coupe

In 1921, Rickenbacker persuaded Harry Cunningham, Barney Everitt, Walter Flanders, all with many years of designing and manufacturing automobiles to start a new company which would be called Rickenbacker. He wanted the automobile to have four wheel brakes. Up until this time, all automobiles only had two wheel brakes. It took some persausin, but agreed to. Thus, the Rickenbacker was the first car with four wheel brakes.

An attractive new boat-tail model with a variety of new safety features was introduced for 1926 with the substantial price tag of $5,000. This car could approach 100 miles per hour and, unlike other sports cars of its era, could seat four. However, it was not a financial success and, perhaps, fewer than 20 of these boat-tail Rickenbackers emerged from the Cabot Avenue factory.

The Rickenbacker was a very expensive car and never really had any success. It closed down in 1927.

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Desota, Official Race Car with Rickenbacker driving

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Eddie with winner's trophy

After selling his interest in the Rickenbacker Automobile Company, he purchased the International Speedway. He sold it in 1945.

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Eddie and Adelaide Rickenbacker with sons
David and William at General Motors Hdq.


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Eastern Airlines Cermony retiring the last
open-cockpit Pitcairn Mail Wing

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Edward Rickenbacker on the steps of
an Eastern Airlines plane

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Celebrating a memorable milestone

He also was a Cadillack salesman,, but General Motors made him Vice-president for sales

Ace Druumond, scripted by Eddie Rickenbacker in 1935-1940, was not oly a popular comic strip, but was also became a radio serial and a movie

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In love with one another for fifty-one years


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