By 1915 Peugeot had established itself as a premier automotive marques and a formidable competitor on tracks and road courses. Their L76 model had won the French Grand Prix in 1912 and the Indianapolis 500 in 1913. They returned to victory again in the 1913 French Grand Prix with a new EX3 model.
As World War I approached, Peugeot importer Alfonse Kaufman shipped an EX3 to the United States for Dario Resta, an established driver in Europe but largely unknown in the United States. The car was overhauled by the Californian mechanical genius, Harry Miller, whose cars would dominate the Indianapolis 500 and other American races during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Preparation of the car continued up to the American Grand Prize which took place two weeks prior to the Vanderbilt Cup Race in February 1915. Both races were part of the celebration of the Pan-Pacific Exposition. The Peugeot appeared at the American Grand Prize without a finishing coat of paint leaving the white primer exposed.
The Peugeot EX3 had a four cylinder engine with a bore of 3.9 inches and a stroke of 7.1 for a total displacement of 340 cubic inches. The precision design included a single iron block and integrated head, unlike previous convention which cast cylinders separately or in pairs. The crankcase was made of aluminum, a new advance in the era.
The chassis design was considered state of the art as well. Key features included lightweight wire wheels and an innovation called “integral flange” hubs to attain new levels of efficiency in speedy service for wheel changes. Like its predecessor the L76, the EX3 was admired for its streamlined bodywork and long tail which help stabilize its handling at high speeds.
The EX3’s tenure on the American racing scene was brief but hugely successful. Not only did the EX3 – in the hands of Resta – win the 1915 Vanderbilt Cup Race, but also the American Grand Prize Race. Resta, however, would move to the newer EX5 for the remainder of the 1915 season and 1916 as well.
This 37-second newsreel clip shows Resta winning in San Francisco in the Peugeot EX3.
Off-Topic: Friends, Roz and I went on a road trip with the Mets to St. Louis over the weekend. Hats off to the good-natured Cardinal fans for being so friendly...even with our "Let's Go Mets" chants and my ever-present Met flag. Here is a PDF of Mets' amazing 20-inning win over the Cardinals. I may be the only Met fan to attend the two longest Met games in history on the basis of time- May 31, 1964 23-inning loss to the Giants and last Saturday's game. Yes, I stayed to the very end of both games!