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History Shelby Indy Turbine Cars

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Carguy1965, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. Carguy1965
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    Carguy1965 Member

    Carroll Shelby entered two turbine cars in the 1968 Indianapolis 500. They were designed by the same guy that did the STP turbine for 1967 and looked very similar. Ultimately the cars were withdrawn before they attempted to qualify because they were found to be illegal.

    The cars were sold at auction years ago and are now in private hands. There was a small article in HOT ROD about one of them. Anyone know where they are now?

    Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  2. SpeedwayRyan
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    SpeedwayRyan Member

    Can't say where the Shelby cars are, but a little background on the second high-profile year of turbines at Indy (John Zink and a couple of other guys had tried turbines earlier, with none qualifying until '67).

    Ken Wallis was the guy who designed the turbines for Andy Granatelli the previous year (in which Parnelli Jones led most of the race before a failed bearing caused him to drop out late in the event). Lotus teamed up with Andy and STP and brought 4 of their "wedge" turbines in '68, in addition to the turbines entered by Shelby, despite the new USAC rule limiting the inlet area on turbine-powered cars. Jimmy Clark, who was excited about driving the Lotus turbine, had died in April of '68 in an F2 event, so Chapman brought in Mike Spence to drive one of them. He died in practice, and apparently that, combined with the questionable legality of an air inlet that increased in size as speed increased, caused Shelby to pull his entries. Some say USAC asked him to leave because of the inlet issue, Shelby said that turbines needed more development after seeing Spence die...maybe it was a little of both. Parnelli Jones and Jackie Stewart were set to drive the turbines as well, but injuries (Stewart) and backing out thinking that the turbines wouldn't be fast enough (Jones) led to replacement drivers Joe Leonard and Art Pollard being signed.

    The turbine cars qualified well, including Leonard on the pole, Graham Hill in the middle of row 1, and Pollard in P11...but again, dependability was a problem with the turbines, and none finished the race. USAC then tightened up the rules on the turbine even more, running them out of the 500 for good.
  3. Mark Lester
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    Mark Lester Member

    Very interesting thanks for starting this post I will be watcing along with you to learn more. A friend and I have been kicking around the idea of running a garrett-11 turbine from an aircraft in a '57 ford two door body for a salt flat racer. We're still in the talking about it stage but have the engine. If this post turns up any knowledgeble folks any expertise on running gears would be appreciated.
  4. ol gasser
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    ol gasser Member

    1968 side-mounted McLaren/Shelby "Botany 500" Specials that were withdrwn at Indy. the Botany cars were withdrawn BEFORE qualifying...too slow...(though "safety concerns" were cited after the Spence accident)..2 of the cars are stored in a machine shop.
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  5. Unkl Ian
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    Unkl Ian Member

    IIRC, those cars were also 4wd.
  6. Unkl Ian
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    Unkl Ian Member


    What class would that combination be legal in ?

    If that motor was legal, in anything other than Special Construction,
    I'd be looking for a more aerodynamic body.
  7. Dan Warner
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    Dan Warner Member

    If Mark plans to run a turbine he will be entered in the turbine class. The engine must drive thru the wheels and the body configurstion is free. The class is broken into three sections governed by weight. Class 1 is 0-1099 lbs, record 233 mph, class 2 is 1100-2200 lbs, record is 227 mph, class 3 is 2201-unlimited, record is 427 mph.

    The more aero body suggestion is very valid.

    DW
  8. metalshapes
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    metalshapes Tech Editor

    Some pics...

    STP.

    Attached Files:

  9. metalshapes
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    metalshapes Tech Editor

    Lotus Turbines.

    Attached Files:

  10. Carguy1965
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    Carguy1965 Member

    The attached photo IS one of the Shelby Turbines. Note the louvers on the side and the scoop in the front which is alot farther forward than on the STP car. I have found very few photos of the cars.

    Attached Files:

  11. metalshapes
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    metalshapes Tech Editor

    Cool, I did not know that.

    Thanks.
  12. Rootie Kazoootie
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    Rootie Kazoootie Member

    A bit of turbine trivia. In the early 1950s Firestone had a test car built using a Kurtis chassis with turbine power. AF General Curtis LeMay, a racing fan, was involved in it's development (I think that may be him on the far right in the pic) and was driven by Henry Banks. I believe it did some demo laps at Indy in the early 50s but was never raced.

    Attached Files:

  13. mshindy
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    mshindy Member

    Hello, I am the person who bought the 1968 Turbine car fron Carroll Shelby. I may be able to remember some details.
    Matt
  14. Warbird7
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    Warbird7 Member

    One of the Shelby turbine cars is currently owned by a race car collector in the Chicago area. The other is owned by a friend of his. I have not seen them, but heard the news a few weeks ago.

    Bruce McLaren is the driver in the attached photo. Bruce's Can-Am teammate Denny Hulme was to drive the other Shelby car.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  15. model.A.keith
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    model.A.keith
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Not a Shelby .......but a turbine racer none the less

    Classic Le Mans 08


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    .

    .

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