10/7/1877 - 8/10/1915
Record updated 10-Jul-06
Works driver for the American Locomotive Company, he won the Vanderbilt Cup in 1909 and 1910.
In 1906 the American Locomotive Company decided to build a car. The first machines were built under licence from Automobiles Berliet of France at Alco’s Providence, R.I. plant. However in 1908, they decided to design and build their own car. The new car was called the American Locomotive Motor Car, or Alco.
The Alco was a fine car that took 19 months to build. The engine was huge. The four-cylinder engine displaced 453 cubic inches while the six cylinders displaced 579 cubic inches and prices ranged from $6,000 to $7,500. A fantastic amount of money in 1908.
Harry Fortune Grant had been hired as their chief tested in 1906. A large man, almost 6 feet tall and weighing 200 pounds, he pleaded to be allowed to race the car.
In 1907 he went to work for one of ALCO's dealers in Boston. C.F. Whitney, the proprietor bought a special 40 hp car from the factory and Grant with his riding mechanic Frank Lee had his chance. In September they entered a series of races in Massachusetts, winning the five and the twenty mille events while just missing out on the fifty mile race when a tire burst.
In 1909 Grant, now officially racing for the factory, took one of his greatest victories by winning the Vanderbilt Cup driving an Alco called the “Bête Noire” (Black Beast) with an average speed of 62.81 mph. In 1910 he repeated his feat with another win at an average speed of 65.18 mph. . However at end of 1911 the factory pulled out of racing and Grant resumed his testing duties.
He raced at Indy four times in 1911, 1913, 1914 and 1915. His best finish was a 7th in a Sunbeam in 1913. infact 1913 was the only time he finished the race.