It was 1908 when an American-built Thomas Flyer won the New York-to-Paris Automobile race. The “Great Auto Race of 1908” was an international competition. Six cars entered with teams representing Germany, Italy, France and the United States.
Edwin Ross Thomas, head of his E. R. Thomas Company of Buffalo, New York, entered his Thomas Flyer on behalf the United States.
The 1907 Thomas Flyer weighed five-thousand pounds. It had a 4-cylinder, 60 horsepower engine that could reach speeds of 60 mph.
Montague Roberts was to be the driver and George Schuster, then chief mechanic and road tester for E.R. Thomas, came in as mechanic, and then as the driver to finish the race.
Starting on February 12, 1908, the New York to Paris race took them through Albany, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Valdez, Alaska, then to Japan, and on to Vladivostok, Omsk, Moscow, St. Petersburg in Russia, and finally Berlin and Paris.
From the Alaskan snow and to the Siberian mud, the Thomas Flyer, at one point, only travelled 60 miles in 4-days. In the end…Schuster and the Thomas Flyer team arrived in Paris at 6 pm on July 30. The Thomas Flyer covered three continents and over 22,000 miles in only 169 days.
Schuster was the only driver to complete the full route from New York to Paris, and the first person to drive across the United States during the winter in an automobile.