Herbert H. Lytle was one of America’s earliest and most daring racing drivers. He was born July 9, 1874, in Malone, New York. As a young man he started as an automobile inventor, his workshop was across the street from that of Henry Ford and they were said to have worked together at times.
Herb Lytle began the automobile business with the Dureya Motor Wagon Co. and turned his attention to car racing, when he drove a Dureya in the “Cosmopolitan Race for horseless vehicles” held on Decoration Day – later known as Memorial Day – in 1896 at New York. In November of that same year he drove the Dureya in the London-Brighton contest in England. Then he moved to Dublin , returning to America in 1900.
He joined the Pope-Toledo factory team, driving their cars with a measure of success in national races. Between 1904 and 1910, he participated in six editions of the Vanderbilt Cup Race, more than any other driver, taking a best finish of second in 1908 at the wheel of an Isotta Fraschini, less than two minutes behind the winner George Robertson in the Locomobile “Old No. 16”.
In 1911 he raced at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 Mile Sweepstakes.
During his career, Herb Lytle had been in many serious accidents, but his closest call to death was from an attack of typhoid fever, wich confined him in a hospital for two weeks, in the winter of 1908. On his recovery, he went almost direct from the hospital to enter the Vanderbilt Cup Race at Long Island.
After his retirement from active racing, he ran an Apperson agency in Kokomo, Indiana, then became proprietor of the North Shore Hotel, a resort hotel at Kalorama Park on Tippecanoe Lake, 15 miles west of Warsaw in Kosciusko County, Indiana. Herbert Lytle died from pneumonia, on Friday afternoon, 04 March 1932, at age 57.