In 1926, Jonesboro's H.M. Beard Won Ford Motor Company's Gas Mileage Contest Traveling 53 Miles on a Gallon of Gas

Submitted byadmin onThu, 08/08/2019 - 09:06

Driving a 1926 Ford touring car on a carefully measured and monitored gallon of gasoline, H.M. Beard of Jonesboro, RFD, won first place and a cash prize of $200 in the gasoline mileage contest conducted here Saturday. He traveled 53 miles per gallon to take first place.

The winning automobile was from the stock and was purchased two months earlier from Chiles Motor Company entry, a roadser driven by P.C. Phillips, finished fourth with a distance of 47.2 miles for the gallon of gasoline.

The route of the testing autocade was from the Post Office at Johnson City to the Greene County line near Limestone, a distance of 21 miles and return. Mr. Beard made the round trip and, starting back, reached a point two miles west of Jonesboro before the gasoline was exhausted.

As was the case with all the cars, a low speed of from 10 to 14 miles per hour was maintained throughout the drive, which was finished shortly before six o'clock. The start was made at one o'clock.

Second prize went to C.W. Earhart in a roadster purchased from the Sullivan County Motor Company of Bristol. Johnson City's first entry, a roadster driven by Ed Range of Gray Station and purchased from the Universal Motor Company here tied at 47.7.

A list of the 20 entries, all 1926 stock models showing place of purchase of car, owner, and driver, kind of car and mileage made is shown as follows:


01. H.M. Beard, Jonesboro, Tennessee, Touring, 53.0.

02. C.W. Earhart, Bristol, Tenn., Roadster: 47.7.

03. Ed Range, Johnson City, Tenn., Roadster, 47.7.

04. P.C. Phillips, Jonesboro, Tenn., Roadster, 47.2.

05. Claude Glover, Bluff City, Touring, 46.8.

06. Ed Dickson, Gate City, Virginia, Touring, 46.4.

07. Claude Hoover, Kingsport, Tennessee, Touring, 45.9.

08. S.R. Brumley, Greeneville, Tennessee, Coupe, 45.6.

09. T.F. Carrier, Bluff City, Tenn., Touring, 44.9.

10. B.F. Farnsworth, Greeneville, Tenn., Tenn., 44.9.

11. Joe Meredith, Johnson City, Tenn., Roadster, 44.2.

12. W.R. Chapman, Bristol, Tenn., Touring, 48.8.

13. S.P. Lewis, Elizabethton, Tenn., Touring, 61.6.

14. C.S. Robertson, Elizabethton, Tenn., Touring, 37.0.

15. (Illegible), 35.7.

16. (Illegible), 35.7.

17. J.F. Edwards, Gate City, Va., Roadster, 34.0.

18. J. G. Devault, Abingdon, Va., Touring, 33.7.

19. D.L. Kinsland, Erwin, Tenn., Coupe, 33.6.

20. Dr. R.T. Childers, Kingsport, Tenn., Roadster, 33.6.


The average mileage for 20 entries was 42.185. The test route was a section of paved highway with several hills and curves, running west from Johnson City, where it connected with the Greene County Pike.

Prizes were given to all the entries. The winner received $2,000 in cash while the others were appropriately given various accessories and equipment parts for their cars.

Following the cars, after having charge of measuring and placing one gallon of gasoline in each vehicle at the starting point, the local post office was a committee of judges in a Lincoln sedan.

The committee included W.B. Miller vice-president of Unaka and city National Bank; E.L. Hatcher, Chief of Police; R.C. Hodge of the Appalachian Publishers; William M. Wrenn, Big Stone Gap and Lieutenant J.P, Wood, Big Stone Gap.

Besides the judges' car, several others interested in the contest followed along the route and at many locations the highway was lined with persons watching the procession. Jonesboro, with its usual Saturday crowd, was more crowded than ever, and the chief's interest seemed to be centered on the "gasoline gallon race."

As a peculiar coincident, the last of the 20 cars to stop and the first to drop out, both stopped near the same point  just below Jonesboro. However, one had completed the round-trip 42-mile stretch and returned to that point and the other had stopped there before completing the lap back home.

The average was considered the highest made in any similar test that year; and so far, no record had been reported that exceeded that of the winner, boasting 53 miles to the gallon. Way to go Mr. Beard!

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