© St. Petersburg Times, published February 21, 2003
The Vanderbilt Cup was established in 1904 by William K. Vanderbilt Jr. as America's first major trophy in motorsports. A re-creation serves as the series championship trophy in CART.
The original is in the Smithsonian Institute. In 1996, a recreation was produced by Tiffany & Co. with the approval of the Vanderbilt family to serve as the trophy for the U.S. 500, a race created by CART to challenge the Indianapolis 500. In 2000, CART designated the Cup as its series championship trophy. Names of U.S. 500 winners from 1996-99 and CART series winners since 2000 are etched into the Cup.
The Cup is cast from about 135 troy ounces of sterling silver and is 21/2 feet tall. It features the image of William K. Vanderbilt Jr. driving a 90-horsepower Mercedes at Ormond Beach in 1904.
Vanderbilt was a skilled driver and racing pioneer. The original Cup was a prize for races staged by Vanderbilt around the country in the early 1900s.