As many other early auto manufactures had racing fever, Cole did as well. Cole had some good early success in racing. The race cars were built on the base of the Cole 30 Flyers and were pretty much so stock with the exception of removing fenders and parts of the body to lower weight. The one exception was the Cole racer that was in the 1911 Indy 500 as that one had a modified engine and a chain drive.
One of the first wins for Cole was when they won the 1909 Brighton Beach Marathon, a 24-hour-race with 16 participants. Also, two Series 30 Flyers, driven by William “Wild Bill” Endicott and Louis Edwards, entered the Massapequa Sweepstakes, one of the 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Races. Endicott won the prestigious 10-lap event, covering 126.4 miles (203.4 km) in 138 min 4.32 seconds. Based on these wins, Cole used it in the marketing by commemorating the win with a special trophy plate on all Cole 30’s he sold in 1911. Cole also came up with a marketing slogan for their dealers that said “The car that can win the race on the weekend and then can sell on Monday.”
Several of the racing features and designs still were used through 1914 such as the heal toe break and gas pedal configuration. In 1912 their marketing also stated that all speedsters were tested on the Indy track and guaranteed to go 65MPH.
Cole stopped their focus on racing in 1912 after having been involved in the crash heavy first Indianapolis 500. Throughout the teens, several Cole dealers utilized Cole cars in regional events but the company didn’t do anything officially with racing again until 1924. With the advent of his balloon tires in 1924, Cole was again teaming up with the Indy 500 by having the first pace car with balloon tires.
Here are some rarely seen Cole racing photos and early newspaper articles.
#7 is the Cole car in the two below pictures
An early crash in another race. You can see the #7 bringing up the rear.