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Original 1907 Thomas Flyer joins 2011 World Race competitors

Thu, 14 Apr 2011

The American-made Thomas Flyer, driven by George Schuster, won the world's first around-the-globe race.

It was 1908, and it was still hard for a man to get around the globe, let alone the fledgling automobile. But the Thomas Flyer made the 22,000-mile trip in 169 days. And this was before there were gas stations at every corner and tire shops within shouting distance.

That legendary car will leave its place in the National Automobile Museum to briefly join the 26 competitors in the 2011 World Race when it rolls through Reno on April 25.

"The Thomas Flyer is one of the nation's most celebrated pieces of automotive history, and, like all National Automobile Museum vehicles, has been meticulously cared for and is still a fully operational vehicle," museum executive director Jackie Frady said. "Having the Thomas Flyer take to the road for the World Race is a fitting tribute to one of the world's most famous vehicles."

The race starts in New York City on April 14. The teams will travel west through the United States, stopping in Reno on April 25 before hitting San Francisco. Then the cars will be loaded on a boat and shipped to Beijing. There, the cars will head though Asia and Europe, eventually finishing in Paris on July 21.

The 2011 World Race isn't only for the super-rich, and teams aren't driving 1,000-hp supercars. A few of the more interesting rides include a 1957 Mercedes-Benz S220, a 1929 Hudson sedan and a Freightliner Century Class S-T.

Visit to check out the rest of the competitors and the full itinerary.

By Jake Lingeman