Indy winning heritage in The Garage

robson.jpg

While reading through H.A.M.B. comments about the Vanderbuilt Cup, I stumbled across an incredible archive of American race winners called Rumbledrome. It is full of photos and details of American racing history. It got me thinking that there is a bit of my family’s history that I don’t think I’ve shared.

goshen.jpg

The photo above is of 1946 Indianapolis 500 winner, George Robson. Mr. Robson was my grandfather’s cousin. Robson died in a racing crash in September of that same year. As a 40 year old, this was 41 years before I was born but there is still a bit of living history. My grandmother remembers visiting England as a newlywed to visit the Kirkland and Robson families. Apparently the Robsons were quite well off and had a magnificent country home. she remembers George as a handsome and very charming man. This lifestyle made quite an impression on a young girl from Pennsylvania. Unfortunately is wasn’t too long after that George was killed.

robson-indy-win.jpg

On the Labour Day Weekend race in Atlanta, Robson crashed into the ailing car of Billy De Vore, likely as a result of the heavy dust in the air. Following the initial collision, George’s car was hit by George Barringer and Bud Bardowski. Robson and Bardowski Barringer (corrected April 08) both died as a result of their injuries.

I’ve never had any connection with oval track racing and I’ve never even been to Indy, but it’s still pretty cool to know that there really was an Indy 500 winner in the family!

46sta2.jpg

46sta3.jpg

46sta4.jpg

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Twitter

Comments

  1. Gary Faules says

    I have a lot of old photos of board tracks. In some cases they could actually change bords from under the track while the race was in progress!

  2. says

    Gary
    I knew there was some Brickyard blood in you … obviously, some genetic leanings to go fast. That’s a very neat family story. I’ve love to say I had some relations to the Chenard & Walcker of Le Mans fame, but no such luck.
    Cheers!
    Paul

  3. says

    Dear Sirs,

    My name is “Joest” Jonathan Ouaknine and I’m a French journalist. I am preparing a book about the story of Indycar from the beginning until today. it will be published as a book, in France, in 2009.

    I am getting in touch with you, because I would like to know if you could give me some pictures and the right to use them within a book.

    I’m looking forward for your answer.

    Regards.

    “Joest” Jonathan OUAKNINE

  4. Brianna says

    Hi. Uhm, I was looking up information on Mr. George Robson and I found your blog. See, I’m trying to find out info b/c he’s my great great either grandfather or uncle (it’s unsure b/c my mom never knew him, but he’s related to her father and so on) My mom has a newspaper article on him from when he won the race. I just wanna thank you for having the information and pictures that you did b/c it helped me out a lot.
    Sincerly, Brianna

  5. Anthony de Jong says

    I too came across this blog looking for information on George Robson.
    How is George related to me?….he is the brother of my wife’s grandmother; Amy Donaldson, the mother of my wife’s mother; Sherry Donaldson.
    If anyone has any information, pics etc. please send.

  6. Cindy Kuc says

    hello … I recently acquired a matching set of wedding photos in antique frames. While cleaning them to prepare for resale, I found a stamp on the reverse of both that read “Mrs. George A. Robson”. I remembered the name from somewhere and did a quick Google. I found the info on the driver of the 1946 Indy 500. I did some further research and found a photo of a grave or memorial shaped like a car with the name George A. Robson. I intend to list these frames on eBay and make reference to the “possibility” of a historical / Indy 500 connection. If you are interested, you may check them out on ebay.com. My user name is c_roseville.

  7. Brian Robson says

    I am George Robson's Great Nephew. Hal Robson was my grandfather.

    I read your blog, but discovered that your facts are incorrect.

    The Robson's from Newcastle moved to Toronto in 1910. When WWI started they went back to the UK to support the war (My great grandfather was a machinist). They went back to Toronto, and eventually to Los Angeles. In LA is where George, Hal, and Jimmy learned the machinist trade at the family shop, and raced cars. George and Hal became champions and raced the 500.

    Our family was from the working class, and was not well off. Just a bunch of hard working geordies!

    Yes Amy Donaldson is the youngest sister. Albert Robson (youngest brother) is still alive as well.

    I worked in IndyCar racing for 14 years and can answer any and all facts about the family. My Grandmother is 92 and recalls all the memories of the family. She traveled with my Grandpa throughout his career.

    Regards,

    Brian Robson

    Colorado, USA

    Speedway16@qwest.net

    • robson21 says

      HI, I wanted to know if you have any information on who George Robson's kids were, reason Im asking I heard that he was related to my dad.. which my dad's name is George Robson

  8. Dave Schnable says

    Re: George Robson. I don’t know much of anything about George, but I do have a little information and some photos of the car his brother Hal drove in the 1947 Indy 500, called the Palmer Special. My dad, Dave Schnable, helped to build that car. I have a few photos, and a bunch of photos of other cars from that year. I don’t have information about those other cars, just the photos. Anybody interested?

  9. Julie Schram says

    Hey Dave-

    reading that note you wrote about photos of George Robson-I am on of his grand-daughters, and Marjorie, his wife, died Wednesday, at 96 years young. Her second husband destroyed all photos of George-much to my GASP and would love to get any photos at all. My mom and we kids love to look at the old newspaper clippings we have.

    Please e mail me if you get this msg-and anyone else as well with any memorabilia available-it would be nice…

  10. Julie Schram says

    And Cundy Kuc-
    I am so bummed! I looked at your msg about wedding frames-with George Robson on it-and a grave photo or the liking. did you sell these? I wouldv’e loved to get my hands on them. My mother Beverly and her brother George were Marjorie and George’s two children. Marjorie passed away last Wednesday at 96 years young.
    I have just stumbled onto this website, apparently…I love it

  11. Julie Schram says

    Hi Gary-

    nice to meet you too! It’s a wonder how people find out they’re connected!
    I cannot get the images to open on the website-any advise or suggestions?

    Thanks so much for the return note

  12. Ian Wagstaff says

    I am a freelance automotive journalist living in the UK. I am currently writing a book on the British involvement in the Indianapolis 500 which has the approval of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and which is a follow up to my ‘British at Le Mans’ published in 2006. As he was born in Newcastle, George Robson naturally deserves a chapter to himself in this book. I have just been writing up my notes on him from my research in the Indiana State Library. Needing to check something I turned to Google and then stumbled across the comments from the family on ‘Thegarageblog.com’. I obviously want to ensure that the chapter on George is as complete and as factual as possible and so I wonder if any of you could assist with anecdotes or information that is not readily available. My e-mail is ian@wagstaff.fsbusiness.co.uk

  13. Ed Divita says

    Julie-
    your info on 05.29.09 at 2:08 pm was just what I was looking for. I’m writing about my father whom I was told met your grand father at the 1946 Indy 500 Race. He was involved with cars and in the transportation business most of his life. It propagated through his sons. I would appreciate some info on his wife and children. Were they at the Indy 500 race. This type of tragedy is difficult to reference especially if it is not substantiated. Did George Robson’s children stay active in racing supporting his brothers? What did your mother, George’s daughter Beverly do as a vocation as the years passed? I’m interested in heritage as it relates to familial lives as they progress.

  14. Roy Ogunsiji says

    I was also struck by the Robson’s having come all the way from Newcastle. UK. and not only taking part in the Indy 500. But to win a race, Wow. I live 90 miles away from Newcastle in Liverpool. I adore Hal’s 1948 Palmer Construction Offy.
    So much so I have built a road legal replica using Jaguar XJ6 components. Everyone who sees this car is shocked by it’s size and brutal appearance. I hope it’s a fitting tribute to the Robson Family.

  15. Julie Schram says

    ED

    I am sorry I never got back to you, however, I will take some time to fill in as much I can-My Grandma Marjorie was at the raceway when the accident occured. Yes, what a horrible shame it was, she spoke of him like they were true soul mates-she never ever stopped loving him best. She would tell stories of how how he would come home and they would roll around in the money he won. Fun!

    My mom, Beverly left home after being mistreated by her 3rd husband Carl, married my father Robert Charbonneau, had 6 kids, and still married today. My mom had a brother, George Jr, who passed away a few years ago. Marjorie had two other girls by Carl, Carolyn and Marylou. They live out of the state, and are doing well. I have been slow to gather info on my grandfather cause life is just so busy! Unfortunately Marjorie(I loved her so) passed away in March, at least she has finally joined George.

    Let me know of any other info I can share with you!! and Merry Christmas to you and yours

    • robson21 says

      I read this, and i believe this is my dad grandfather my dad is George Robson Jr, I don't if you could tell me more about this family, my dad's dad left him when he was a little boy.. so I don't really don't anything much about the Robson side

  16. p aul m. june jr. says

    Hi Julie,
    Your grandmother, Marjorie and my father were both born in Hammond, LA. Their parents were Willard Pierce June and Mary Lucy (Peterman) June. I was saddened to hear of your grandmother’s passing. The last I knew she was living with her sister, Dorothy. Is Dorothy still living?

    Paul M. June Jr.

    • Julie Schram says

      Paul-Good evening!

      sadly enough, she passed a month prior to Marge. It was so sad, seeing them pass away so slowly. In their 90's, they lived a long life. Dorothy was quite the old crotch, but I loved her. Marge, led a fuller life, although saddened by the tragedy of losing George, from the stories my mom told, it impacted thier lives alot. Well why wouldn't it? Marge couldn't have lost a better man.

  17. Tracy de Jong says

    Hello Julie,
    I am Tracy, grand-daughter of Amy (Robson) Donaldson who is George’s younger sister. I guess that makes us second cousins. I too am sorry to her about the passing of your grandmother, George’s wife – Marjorie. My grandmother has some fond memories of her brother George. It would be nice to be in contact and get acquainted; since most of here are distant relatives, and share information we all might have with each other of the Robson family.
    If you would like to contact me, and others here, especially Gary and Brian, I would like to hear from you.

    Tracy de Jong
    T3.deJong@yahoo.com

    • Julie Schram says

      Hi Tracy-Sorry I have been so delinquent in getting back to this page. I have recently befriended Brian, and we would love for all to join us at Indianapolis next May. My mom will be there, Beverly. I wished she could chat with Amy, that would be so neat. I will e mail you, and we can chat further…

  18. Steve Robson says

    Hey,

    I came across this post because my grandfather, Charles Robson, always told me his cousin won the Indy 500 in 1946. Does anyone know how Charles is/was related to George?

    I realize this is late in coming but, I'm curious about this stuff

    • Julie Schram says

      Steve–
      Not sure! Charles does not sound familiar at all-but I will keep my ears open for any info regarding the matter…
      I am George's Granddaughter, and have thumbed through many photos and articles…

  19. Brian robson says

    It’s been a while since I have seen any of this. Since I have been on here, my grandmother Kay Robson passed away in 2009. But on a good note, my grandfather Hal was inducted into the Sprint car Hall of Fame in 2010. it was a great event as I saw my great uncle al, and met more Robson’s of my generation.

    Julie, I am sorry to hear about your grandmothers passing. Although I never met her, I only heard fond comments of her. I was with your mom/dad in 1995 at the 50 year reunion of the 1946 race. I hope everyone is well. I have pictures of our grandfathers and more that I would love to share. I am a very proud Robson.

    BR

  20. Julie Schram says

    well hi everyone-time flies doesn't it? all too quickly. It is the 28th of November 2010, I have not been here for a long time. I had posted a few things, but just got busy with other things. I am the granddaughter of George Robson . I wanted to let anyone know I have recently been in contact with Brian Robson (Hal Robson's grandson) and we are trying to get a reunion going at the 100th anniversary of Indianapolis next May. Through the year I had made contact with a freelance journalist who wrote a chapter about George in a recent book "The British at Indianapolis" he will be attending the 100th anniversary and would like to meet Robson kin. My parents will be coming, my mom being George's daughter, and it wuld be so great for all that can, attend and meet. I can be reached by e mail-acjulieann@aol.com, or through this page. I will be checking regularly!!

    • says

      A book I wrote,"The Ghosts of Jungle Park", includes a nice picture of George Robson at Jungle Park Speedway after he won the 100 lap midget race on the 1/2 mile dirt track in 1941. Jungle Park is located 65 mile west of the the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Though the track hasn't been raced on since 1955, it is still intact and even has one wood grandstand still standing. You must go there! Tom Williams, Jungle Park Historian

  21. Dennis E. Woods says

    What a marvel is the internet!

    I am married to Lynn Donaldson Woods, Amy Robson Donaldson's second daughter, sister to Sherry Donaldson Buller and aunt to Tracy Buller De Jong.

    George had three brothers and two sisters. Brothers Harold, Jimmy and Al, sisters Amy and Ada.

    George and Harold (Hal) were the first brothers to compete against each other at Indy; both Chevrolet brothers drove at Indy, but never in the same year. The Unsers (more on that in a minute) competed against each other afterwards. Jimmy was a racer but left the sport after injuries forced him away. Hal was a very accomplished Sprint car driver, survived an illustrious career and was inducted into the Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2010 (see link http://www.wheels.ca/Auto%20Racing/article/786179 ). Uncle Alie (to Lynn) is still alive but aging and medical conditions keep him in our thoughts regularly.

    I can be contacted at; dwoods33@tampabay.rr.com

    Lynn and I are hoping to make the reunion at Indy this year.

  22. Dennis E. Woods says

    Continued from my previous post;

    For those who might be interested, I have my own history with Indy. Following a furlough from American Airlines in 1974, I became Al Unser's pilot flying his Cessna 421 for the '74 and '75 race seasons. I "worked" the pits both years as an unpaid USAC mechanic; unpaid because I just wanted to be "up close and personal" with the cars and teams (Vel's/Parnelli Jones). Al's team-mate was Mario and at Pocono in '75 I flew AJ down to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes where one of his horses was running. Bobby and I flew his Aerostar to Milwaukee in '75 and before returning to American in '76 I flew for Galles Motors in Albuquerque (later to be famed for Galles Racing under Rick Galles's direction and "Little" Al's '92 victory).

  23. Rose Marie Krupens says

    My husband, Hal Krupens, named after his uncle Hal Robson, is the son of Ada Robson Krupens, Hal's eldest sister.
    He grew up as a youngster in L. A., surrounded by the Robson family who called him," Butch". We sadly did not make it to the family reunion this month, but did watch the race on TV. We spent many Memorial Day Holidays listening to the race on the car radio on our way from San Diego to Los Angeles to visit with Ada and Gram Robson. We certainly miss all the family members who have passed on, and will make a point of contacting Aunt Amy and Uncle Ally. It's so sad that we get so busy with daily life that we don't keep in touch.

    • Michael Klein says

      My name is Michael Klein. My sister Mary went to PLHS with Harold. My mom and dad were friends with Jack and Ada on Adair St. I was too young to remembver the 1946 race, however we were always great fans of auto racing and my dad Karl later toured with a sprint car back east and then three years with a indy car from SanDiego at the brick yard as a mechanic. I read your message after writing mine and was supprised. I am in Oregon and building cars from scratch. My first impression of a home built car was a little go-cart type that Harold showed me that a neighbor had built. I build hot rods and am resently using inline engines. Knowing that George won Indy with the only six cylinder inline engine is very interesting to me. Can you tell me any thing about the engine type, who built it, modifications, carburation, etc. It would please me so much and to be able to pass this information on to the Inliners International of wich I am a member. Hope I here from you, Michael Klein

  24. Michael Klein says

    My name is Michael Klein. Our family met George Robson when he came to visit his sister Ada. Ada married Jack Krupens and they had a son Harold (or Hal) also George Jr. came to live with them for awhile in the mid 50s. This took place in San Diego. I build cars from scratch and lately am favoring inline engines. George won with the only six cylinder inline. Can you help me with any information regarding the engine type, modifications, carboration, etc. This is so interesting to me.

  25. robson21 says

    Hi, I've been looking into the Robson family, and came across this, My dad is George Robson Jr, and I've heard his grandfather was a race car driver in the indy 500, but I don't know much of the family because my dad hasn't had communication with his dad since he was a boy, so any information would be great I've never knew anyone on my dad's side… robson2121@hotmail.com

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


+ 1 = two