Originally Posted by BeatnikPirate
I'm wondering to what extent, if any, Miller may have been influenced by the mid-engined Auto Union racers designed by Dr. Porsche in the mid thirties?
(Later. Further research reveals I was wrong. The Miller-Hibbard sports car was designed AFTER the Ford race car meaning after 1935. So they may have known about the Auto Union race car)
Doubt there is any connection. From the drawings it appears the car was designed about 1931 or 32. Miller was working on the 1935 Indianapolis Ford (seen above) starting in 1933 or 34. The first Auto Union rear engine race car was built in 1933.
Miller may have seen a grainy newspaper photo of the Auto Union after a race but that is about it. Even that would have been after he did the drawings in the Jalopy Journal article.
The idea of a rear engine car was very much in the air at that time. John Tjaarda designed a series of rear engine "Sterkenburg" cars for the Briggs body company in the twenties which culminated in a streamlined rear engine sedan shown at the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago in 1933. This car was redesigned into the Lincoln Zephyr.
Many forward thinking designers were experimenting with front wheel drive and rear engine ideas. Miller had been building front drive race cars since the early twenties. I guess he felt it was time to try a rear engine car.