“I Love To Make The Dirt Fly” A Biography of Carl G. Fisher 1874-1939


192 Pages • 251 colorized photos • 11" x 8 1/2" • High quality paper • Class A Library Binding

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Price: $39.95 Postage Paid to Any USA Address, sales tax applies to Indiana

Synopsis: Grammar school educated Carl Fisher becomes Indianapolis' largest bicycle, then automobile dealer. Progenitor of the Prest-O-Lite firm that produced acetylene powered automotive headlights. The firm was later sold to Union Carbide for nine million dollars. Fisher and three partners created the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500 which became the world's richest auto race and largest single day sporting event. Father of the nation's first transcontinental road, the Lincoln Highway. A monument proclaims 'He Created A Great City From A Jungle' when he invented Miami Beach, Florida and later tried to duplicate the accomplishment in Montauk, Long Island New York. Serial entrepreneur who invested in everything from solar powered refrigerators to sand impregnated tires. Died nearly broke.

He Loved To Make The Dirt Fly.

He Conceived and Built The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and The Indianapolis 500.

He Is Considered The Father of The Lincoln and Dixie Highways. He

“Carved A Great City From A Jungle,” When He Developed Miami Beach, Florida.

Carl Fisher Sold Candy, Books, Magazines, Bicycles, Motorcycles, Automobiles.

He Tried To Sell Travel Trailers, Diesel Engines, Sand Impregnated Tires, Life-Boats,

Solar Refrigerators, Normal Refrigerators, Display Mannequins Whose Eyes Rolled.

He Created With Partner Jim Allison, Allison Engineering and The Prest-O-Lite Firm That Supplied

Motorists With Marvelous Headlight Illumination.

He Flew A Car Over Indianapolis, Indiana

He Built A Wooden Race Track That Held The World’s Fastest Race.

He Tried To Convert Montauk, Long Island, New York Into The Miami Beach of The North.

He Soared In Gas Balloons, Played Polo, Raced Bicycles, Cars and Boats. He Read Continually and Swore A Lot.

He Made Millions.

He Made Friends.

He Died With No Money and The Same Spirit He Had When He Sold His First Magazine.

By Carl Hungness

Sporting the popular pince-nez glasses, a thirty-something Carl Fisher was a successful business man whose greatest accomplishments were yet to come.


Race car driver Lewis Strang surveys a chalk outline of the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he would win a race in 1910. He raced in the first “500” in 1911 and completed 109 laps.


Artist rendering of the oval and proposed road course.


A fair damsel wishes Godspeed to the speedsters in this 1909 promotional piece.


Before a race was held, Fisher called his new creation “The Greatest Race Course In The World” and built it accordingly.


High Wheelers or Ordinaries as they were termed, were a common sight on America’s roads during Fisher’s youth.


Carl’s C.G. Fisher & Co. bicycle advertising in the late 1890’s.


Imagine being a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana and looking skyward to see the city's most famous car dealer commanding your attention in an effort to advertise his wares.


Carl not only put together a proper automobile dealership but had to be one of the first to offer 24 hour service.


Sprint car racers sometimes say, “I stood up and drove ‘er like a milk truck.” Carl Fisher’s Mohawk racer surely evokes the same kind of description. It was in this car, or a duplicate that he and Earl Kiser were involved in an accident that caused death at Zanesville, Ohio in 1903.


The key to the Fisher-Allison fortune was this Prest-O-Lite cylinder that ultimately gave motorists excellent headlight illumination.


Dependability was a natural selling point.


Old time photography resulted in giving Indy winner Ray Harroun’s Marmon Wasp speedy looking elliptical wheels in this 1911 photo. Ray’s innovative rear view mirror can clearly be seen. He had the only car in the race without a riding mechanic.



Carl takes a break for a cigar during his “Hoosier Tour”.


The original Lincoln Highway route parallels what is now Interstate 80.



As proud as any big-game hunter, Carl poses with one of the prizes of the day, an uprooted tree that stood in the way of his dream.


The photo depicts what the land looked like before this area became the classy Lincoln Road. We are surprised to see the lack of power driven machinery.


In an attempt to attract the upper crust crowd who loved polo, Carl constructed a world-class field and took up the sport himself when he was middle-aged.


Soon after Jane bared her knees, the Miami Beach bathing beauty was promoted by Carl and his press agents.


One of the manicured Spanish oriented estates that dot Miami Beach’s landscape.


Carl gained an immense amount of publicity from his two elephants, Carl, Jr. and Rosie.


Construction of a board speedway was accomplished in only a few weeks time.


Barney Oldfield poses with a roadster complete with Oldfield Tires in this publicity photo showing the viewer the severity of a board track’s banking,


Fisher’s brochure described the above scene: “When your thoughts bend northward to lands of ever-changing seasons, another Carl G. Fisher creation beckons to you from the easternmost tip of Long Island, New York. There beautiful MONTAUK MANOR of early English Tudor-design, surveys nine hundred acres of playground between the waters of the Atlantic and Long Island Sound. The many forms of outdoor recreation are eclipsed by incomparable deep sea fishing.”


European flavored dwellings set amidst thoughtful landscaping created an air of tranquility appreciated in any era.


This photo shows one of the earliest Aero-Cars.




The action-oriented Fisher was convinced potential customers would look twice at a store window model whose eyes followed your path.


A mid-1930’s photo of Fisher in one of his usual floppy-brimmed fedoras seemingly

depicts a man who has hope for the future.


Carl Fisher: His name is not known to many, but his accomplishments are enduring.


The Stanley brothers, Francis E. and Freeland O. and their first steam vehicle, a most compact unit. Their creations were among the finest steam-powered cars made.


J.J. Lawson’s Bicyclette from 1879 is considered to be the first sprocket and rear-wheel chain driven machine.


Will Robertson of the Washington Bicycle Club rides a Star down the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

The Star was a very stable machine.

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