Behind the steering wheel is George N. Schuster (1873–1972). He was was the driver of the American built Thomas Flyer and winner of the 1908 New York to Paris Race.
The "Great Race" was an international competition among teams representing Germany (Protos), Italy (Brixia-Zust), France (three teams: DeDion-Bouton, Moto Bloc, Sizaire-Naudin) and the United States (Thomas Flyer). Schuster was also the first person to drive across the United States during the winter in an automobile.
The 22,000 mile course (13,341 miles driven) started February 12, 1908 in Times Square with a crowd of 250,000 watching the start of what would become a 169-day ordeal. The Race began in mid-winter at a time when there were no snowplows, few roads on the around the world route, unreliable maps, and often little food for the competitors.
Schuster was chosen to be part of the Thomas Race Team due to his proven mechanical abilities, which were put to daily use during the Race.
The ride survived. She was found after years by the car collector William Hannah who bought the automobile and restored it. Now the car is on display in the National Museum of Automobile in Reno, Nevada.