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History Pre-War Inhibitions

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. Ryan
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    Ryan
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    Staff Member

    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  2. Flipper
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    Flipper Member

    I see that it has the same independent front and rear suspension that the indy cars got. Cool.

    I had a chance to look at a 1935-ish Miller indy car. I was very impressed. It was elegantly simple in way the suspension subframes bolted to the main frame rails.

    [​IMG]

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    Sometimes I think I was born 50 years too late, but other times I'm glad I'm in this time period. Today the average guy has better access to cool tools...and air conditioning.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  3. Mac the Yankee
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    Mac the Yankee Member

    ...so they were uninihibited, then :)? (sorry, it's the teacher in me)
  4. onedge
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    onedge
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    The specs on those sketches are something. Does get you thinking about it. Someone should build one!
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  5. I would be happy just to find a belly tanker!
  6. chaddilac
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    chaddilac Member

    From 110 hp... to 160hp... on paper!!! That's awesome!!
  7. Perrorojo
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    So which HAMBer is going to build it?
  8. Rusty O'Toole
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    Rusty O'Toole Member

    Harry Miller, the greatest automotive genius America ever produced. Originated the Miller racing cars (176 MPH from 91 cu in, DOHC straight eight, supercharged, in 1925) which gave birth to the Offenhouser and Meyer Drake engines that were still winning at Indianapolis 40 years later. Built one of the first motorcycles in the US. Invented the outboard motor which he gave to his neighbor Ole Evinrude.

    Even he didn't know where all his ideas came from. He believed they were put into his brain by some outside force, but he didn't know how or why.

    Last race car he built was a similar looking rear engine Indianapolis racer in the forties. Twenty years before the rear engine cars came to dominate there.

    Friend of Preston Tucker and gave Tucker the idea for his rear engine car.

    He did all right until the Year of the Locust (1929). After that it seemed like America no longer needed someone capable of building such brilliantly conceived but expensive machines.
  9. dad-bud
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    dad-bud Member

    Nice 'conversation starter' there Ryan.
    Harry Miller was definitely an 'outside the box thinker'.
    Thanks.
  10. Jkustom
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    Man it a bummer they never got a prototype together.. If it had made it into today it would really be something to see... I have deep respect for the people of that era, designing and building things, in a lot of cases just to see if they could actually do it..
  11. BeatnikPirate
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    BeatnikPirate Member

    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?

    Attached Files:

  12. Rusty O'Toole
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    Rusty O'Toole Member

    (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.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  13. BrerHair
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    BrerHair
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    Great story Boss. Wow, Auto Union pic above sure looks like it, wonder which came first. Either way, elegant little car, sort of a track-nosed, boat-tailed, 2-seater belly tank!
  14. Rusty O'Toole
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    Rusty O'Toole Member

    The Miller car does bear a remarkable resemblance to a Mercedes rear engine sports car from the thirties.

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/special...des-sports-car-hits-the-streets-in-california

    As this car debuted in March 1934, long after the Miller drawings were made, this is no more than a remarkable coincidence or great engineers drawing similar conclusions from the same data.

    http://www.emercedesbenz.com/autos/...z-history-rear-engine-mercedes-benz-vehicles/

    Unless you believe in thought transference or telepathy. Miller himself said he didn't know where is ideas came from.......

    ...............................................Later..............................................

    I was wrong. A little research revealed the Miller-Hibbard car came AFTER the Ford race car. So they very well may have heard of the Auto Union and Mercedes cars.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  15. crosleykook
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    crosleykook Member

    Some years apart, but I wonder if this may have influenced the 1948 Norman Timbs / Emil Diedt Roadster? Seems a bit like a streamlined update of the Miller idea....
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  16. BeatnikPirate
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    BeatnikPirate Member

    Attached Files:

  17. Dirtyest Devil
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    Dirtyest Devil Member

    Ryan, I couldn't agree more. Your words are perfect, and so true! Miller, ahh... the man!
    I often think about his genius ideas and his troubles with money and investors, what a wild time it must have been.

    I have a parts pile for a special speedster I will get at someday. Anyone with an old time contraption, is more then welcome to race on the beaches of NJ this October the 20th if you dare! It was days like those I wish I could reach out and grab!

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    Great Thread!!!
  18. Rusty O'Toole
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    Rusty O'Toole Member

    "You're right. I love looking at the drawings of automotive dreamers like H. Miller and in poking around I came across some interesting stuff from the same general period, such as the futuristic designs of Josef Ganz from the 1920s and early 1930s and the amazing Alfa Romeo Aerospider from 1935!"

    Get a load of the Burney Streamline, a rear engine car by zeppelin designer Sir Dennistoun Burney

    http://www.carstyling.ru/ru/entry/Burney_Streamline_1930/
  19. Flipper
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    Flipper Member

    With a big motor hanging out the back, it looks like it would be a wheelie poppin' mofo!

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  20. Real cool flyer! Is it BYOB or is the Fire Dept. bringing the beer?
  21. Shit! Sorry, I just caught the two separate dates. I need to move to a town where the Fire Dept. supplies the beer!
  22. Weaverville Studios
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    Weaverville Studios Member

    Hibbard? Thomas Hibbard?!?!? As in Hibbard and Darrin Coachworks that designed and built many of Howard 'Dutch' Darrin's best early work?

    This project sounds like the kind of thing that a wealthy patron of Zakira's in Cincinnati should pick up...I can only imagine a build thread led by our mutual friend Joshua Shaw detailing its creation...Hmmm,:cool:
  23. OrphanBabyCars
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    OrphanBabyCars Member

    In my book series, "Orphan Babies, America's Forgotten Economy Cars," I briefly mentioned this car, which was to have been a street-legal sports roadster adaptation of the Miller/Ford race car. But the team did not have enough cash between them to finance even a prototype. In order to acquire development capital, Hibbard and Miller accepted a commission to design a line of American Bantam baby cars.

    Roy Evans, president of the American Bantam Car Company of Butler, Pennsylvania, hired Miller and Hibbard in 1936. Miller was to design a new, sturdier engine to fit the defunct American Austin frame and named him Vice-president in Charge of Engineering. Hibbard was assigned the task of updating the tired Austin bodies and he carried the title of Vice-president and Designing Engineer.<O:p

    Hibbard’s proposed 1937 Bantam designs differed only slightly from the Austin group. Hood side panels retained a row of stamped louvers. Fenders followed the same line as the Austin with deeper skirting. Stamped artillery wheels and a new grill and bumpers were added, but Austin ancestry was evident. The proposed Bantam roadster even retained the Austin’s three-point fixed windshield. Frankly, the new Bantam proposals resembled miniature General Motors products of 1933.<O:p

    An eager town and an anxious body of stockholders required tangible results from their investment. So Evans released a prospectus with a yellow and blue sales booklet, illustrated with photos of Miller and Hibbard, as well as black ink renderings of Hibbard’s proposals. Evans promised a pickup, panel truck, roadster, Custom Roadster, and three coupes—one of which was fitted with a bustle-back trunk.<O:p

    The most enticing of the bunch was the Custom Roadster, “America’s smartest speedster.” <O:pSlim, cycle-type front fenders, a built-on trunk, snap-down boot to hide the collapsible top and a folding windshield were all featured on the proposal. Miller envisioned a 71.3 cubic-inch, single-overhead- cam, 4-cylinder engine of an astounding 75 horsepower when equipped with the optional supercharger. (That compared with the former Austin’s 13 horsepower.) Speeds of up to 100 miles per hour would have been easy in a Bantam Custom Roadster, built to order.<O:p

    By September 1936, plans were in place to develop the Bantam automobiles to sell in the $300+ range. Inquiries to handle the car outside of the United States were received from 42 dealers in 23 foreign countries and from 37 export companies. American dealers with the desire to sell the product wrote to the manufacturer from 1,804 towns across all 48 states. In addition, 1,146 letters from individual prospective buyers asked when the new Bantam line would be available.<O:p

    By 1937, the prospectus and design proposals were in public hands and full-scale mock-ups were being prepared using American Austin body panels. An Austin pickup cab was modified with rounded corners and an all-steel top. Management was so convinced of its progress that production was announced in the January 1937 issue of Commercial America:

    The new Bantam cab pick-up commercial car, which is now in production at the Butler, Pennsylvania, plant of the American Bantam Car Company is a complete steel unit. Not only is the floor of the truck of steel but the cab itself is of complete steel construction to provide maximum safety for the driver as well as added durability.

    But the vice-presidents had not yet offered an estimate for toolingand machinery. When the figure was presented, all of Pennsylvania couldhave heard Evans as he flew into a rage and fired Miller and Hibbard. The pickup prototype was abandoned. <O:p

    Tom Hibbard eventually became head of styling for Ford Motor Company and worked effectively there for several years. Harry Miller stayed around for a while and rented space from Bantam to develop a small, four-wheel-drive racer for an old friend, Ira Vail. Vail wanted two racers that would be suitable not only for the Indianapolis track, but for smaller dirt tracks, too. Miller built one of the cars and he had it running around the Bantam plant. As payment for the space he occupied, Miller redesigned the old Austin manifold system for use on the new Bantams. When that work was completed, he moved down to Pittsburgh where he created a series of sensational front-wheel-drive Gulf-Miller race cars at Gulf Oil Company’s research and development center. Several Bantam employees assisted. <O:p

    Bantam employee Frank Fenn, who replaced Miller as Vice-president, was particularly impressed with Miller’s little four-wheel-drive racer. He suggested to Roy Evans that it might have interesting military applications. Three years later, Bantam built the first four-wheel-drive reconnaissance car, which they called the Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC). The rest of the world called it a “jeep”.
  24. flamingokid
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    flamingokid Member

    The '35 Miller could easily work its way into my garage,simply beautiful.

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