Willie Haupt, Len Zengle, & Harold Larzelere - Chadwick Team Drivers

In doing a bit of research on the Chadwick Engineering Works and their success in racing, it also became evident that the company was fortunate to be a stepping stone in the career of a couple of top drivers. Of course the Chadwick story starts with Lee Chadwick himself, born in East Braintree, VT in 1875, he was a graduate of Purdue University (1899). Chadwick started in the automotive field with the Searchmont Motor Company of Philadelphia - advertised as being in the North American Building (sales office) with factories in Searchmont, PA (near Chester, PA - which is about 15 miles south of Philadelphia on the Delaware River). In Who's Who in Engineering, 1922-1923 by John William Leonard, Lee Chadwick's is career is outlined as follows:
1901 -1902 General Supt., Searchmont Motor Co., Philadelphia
1902-1903 General Supt., Fournier Searchmont Automobile Co., Philadelphia
1903 Factory Manager., Searchmont Automobile Co., Chester, PA
Formed Chadwick Engineering Works of Philadelphia, 1907 - President and general manager until 1911. 
1912 -1917 Cleveland Foundry Co.
1917 - present Cleveland Metal products.

Of course, we know that Chadwick left Searchmont sometime in 1903 and founded Fairmont Engineering Works in 1904 - changing the name to Chadwick Engineering Works in 1907. Who's Who in Engineering goes on to note that Lee Chadwick "designed and built motors in the "Irene" (1908), winner of international motor boat trophy (handled boat in races); pioneer automobile builder having built car in Boston in 1899. Member American Society CE, National Geographic Society, Big game hunting, Cleveland Cub Club, Republican, Protestant." Chadwick is perhaps best known today as the person who built the first forced induction (now known as supercharging) car to win an automobile race.

When Chadwick introduce the Great Six in 1907, they campaigned the car extensively in hill climbs and races around the region. It was Chadwick's experimentation (he's said to have tested a triple carburetor set up on the Great Six that didn't work) that lead to he exploration of forced induction. Lee Chadwick would pass away in 1958. However, in 1908, at the Giants Despair Hill Climb, the young Willie Haupt would drive the supercharged Chadwick to a record time - beating Fred Marriott in a Stanley Model K semi-racer. Which leads us to the second chapter in this story - Willie Haupt.



Willie Haupt (photo credit: shorpy.com)

William E. Haupt (1885 - 1966) was born in July of 1885  in East Cameron, PA. Haupt appears to have found his way to Philadelphia and join up with Chadwick in 1906. Willie would have been just 21 years of age at the time and had no prior racing experience. I suspect that Haupt was hired on as a shop hand and started test driving the cars for which he must have displayed some aptitude. The New York Times (November, 28, 1908), reporting on the Savannah, GA races (where Haupt drove for Chadwick), described Haupt this way: "Willie Haupt, a young American driver, who began his racing career not more than two years ago, and who has amazed some of the older men at the wheel by his seemingly reckless speeding around the turns, made one round of the course to at an average speed of approximately 71 miles an hour." Haupt would campaign Chadwick cars through 1908 and I think it's fair to say that he had a big impact Chadwick's success. His exploits for the company include:
- Gaints Despair Hill Climb - May 30, 1908 (Wilkes Barre, PA) - Fastest time for a stock car (immortalized in a Peter Helck painting from 1977)
- Dead Horse Hill Climb - June 8, 1908 (Worcester, MA) - fastest time for a gasoline car
- Norristown Hill Climb - June 27, 1908 (Norrsitown, PA) - Record Time
- Vanderbilt Cup Race - October 24, 1908 (Long Island, NY) - Finished 10th (Supercharged car )
- American Grand Prize Race - November 25, 1908 (Savannah, GA) - Fastest practice lap; DNF in race(Bearing)

Haupt's departing of Chadwick is noted in the April 8, 1909 issue of the The Automobile: "Willie Haupt, the young Philadelphian who was so successful in hill climbs and races last season with a Great Chadwick Six, has severed his connection with the Chadwick Engineering Company, and while at present temporarily engaged, is looking for a high-speed car with which to enter events this year." It is most likely that Lee Chadwick initiated the separation due to Willie's reckless nature. Regardless, Haupt would go on to race the #6 Thomas in the Fairmont Park race in October of 1909. His teammate, driving the #15 Thomas, would be Louis Bergdoll. Bergdoll (one of the Bergdoll brothers of the Bergdoll brewing fortune) were very active racers of the day. It was the Bergdoll's who introduced Willie Haupt to the world of aviation. In High Frontier: A History of Aeronautics in Pennsylvania by William Trimble, it's told that Louis Bergdoll bought a Bleriot XI monoplane in Dec 1909 for $5000 that had been exhibited at Wanamaker's department store and that Willie Haupt learned to fly it in December 1910. Haupt would go on to race for National, and more importantly, for Duesenberg - partnering with Eddie Rickenbacker.


Len Zengle & Lee Chadwick at Fairmont Park (photo credit: Mark Dill Enterprises)


After Haupt's  departure, Len Zengle (1887 - 1963) would drive for Chadwick. Zengle was born in Dayton, Ohio, but would spend the majority of his life in the Philadelphia area. He married Mary Howell and they had one son (Leonard Joseph Zengel, Jr.). Zengle would drive for Chadwick into 1910, after which he would go on to race for National and Stutz (1912 Indianapolis 500). After his racing days, Zengle owned a Chrysler & Plymouth dealership in Bryn Mawr, PA (just outside the Philadelphia city line). While racing for Chadwick, Zengle's accomplishments would include:
- Wildwood Races - July 5, 1909 (Wildwood, NJ) - Record Time
- Algonquin Hill Climb - August 7, 1909 (Chicago. IL) - Record Time
- Fairmont Park Races - October 8, 1910 (Philadelphia, PA) - Winner (Zengle drove the #12 car and Al Mitchell drove the #25 car - Mitchell was a local, 22 year old who was employed as a demonstration driver at the Philadelphia Chadwick showroom)

There's a period of time in 1909 and into 1910 where Chadwick's Sales and Advertising Manager, H.B. Larzelere campaigned the Chadwick offerings. This is due to Len Zengle breaking his hand and being unable to drive. The Motor Age of May 31, 1909 reported "The Chadwick, in the invitational event, made the ascent in 1:35 4/5, or 5 3/5 seconds better than its last year's record, which was unexpected because Driver Larzelere was only selected 2 days before the race, Len Zengle, who had tuned the car up and was expected to drive it, having broken bones in his right hand."

Which brings us to the final chapter in this story, Harold B. Larzelere. H.B. Larzelere was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1879 - a graduate of the Cheltenham Military Academy (He served in the Spanish-American War). According to The story of Philadelphia by John St George Joyce, he joined the Fairmont Engineering Works in 1905 as a sales manager. The book states that he left Chadwick in 1910 to start his own truck manufacturing business there in Philadelphia - the Vim Motor Truck Company (23rd Street & Market in Philadelphia). However, The Automobile of September 29, 1910 states that Larzelere had left Chadwick to start the Nance Motor Car Company in Philadelphia ("where they will build popular-priced six cylinder car"). Larzelere is also shown as being associated with the Sterling Body Corp. of Philadelphia for a short period of time (around 1919). The Vim Motor Truck Company seems to have been an extension of the earlier Touraine Company (builders of cars). Larzelere is listed as Vice President and General Manager of Vim in 1921 - Vim would go out of business in 1923. Larzelere's racing achievements for Chadwick include:
- Wildwood Races - 1909 (Wildwood, NJ) - Record Time
- Gaints Despair Hill Climb - May 31, 1909 (Wilkes Barre, PA) - Second overall to the Benz driven by Bruce brown and won the invitational. (Larzelere was forced to drive because Zengle broke his hand two days prior.

What a brief but proud record of achievement by Lee Chadwick and his team.

photo credit: The story of Philadelphia by John St George Joyce
Willie Haupt at the Dead Horse Hill Climb (photo credit: The Automobile, June 11, 1908)
Willie Haupt in Savannah (photo credit: The Automobile, November 26, 1908)
Willie Haupt at Giants Despair (photo credit: Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal, May 31, 1908)

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