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History 1926 Hamlin Special Indy Car

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ziegld1, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. ziegld1
    Joined: Feb 21, 2011
    Posts: 37

    from St Louis

    I'm doing a little research on different Indy cars in the mid 1920's. I'm having problems on locating information on a 1926 Indy car that was entered under the name of the Hamlin Special. This car was a front wheel drive with a Fronty DO engine. Does anybody know why it was called the Hamlin Special (Who , Person or Company Sponsor ?) This car was entered by Louis Chevrolet. Any leads of info would deeply be appreciated. Dave Z
  2. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,585

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    You might have better luck over on the Yahoo Groups Racing History Site. (You'll have to join up) The are several real knowledgeable historians of the open wheel racing scene over there. Have you tried obtaining a photo from IMS? The image my Fox's Illustrated History of the 500 is too small to read the lettering on the side of the car-there is a large crcular logo with the name Hamlin barely legible-there is other lettering that I can't read.
  3. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 779

    Michael Ferner

    The Hamlin/Frontenac was commissioned and entered by the Hamlin Motor Co. of Harvey (IL), formerly the Hamlin-Holmes Motor Co. of Chicago. Apparently, Hamlin-Holmes had tried unsuccessfully to market a front-drive road car for many years when they approached the Chevrolet Bros. in 1926 to build the Hamlin racing car.

    The Chevrolets used "a great number of Ford parts" to build the car, including a Model T engine that was sleeved down and destroked to half its size for the new racing formula of 1926. It had a 16-valve Frontenac DO head and, quite atypically for the US, a Rootes-type supercharger. The engine and standard Ford transmission was put into the chassis back-to-front and slightly inclined, and the chassis itself was probably a modified Model T frame, with standard Ford suspension front and rear.

    Driven by the inexperienced Jack McCarver, the car barely qualified at Indy and retired early with an engine failure. At Detroit a few weeks later, Bruce Miller crashed it, which was probably the reason why the car didn't show up at Abilene (TX) the next week when Babe Stapp was supposed to drive. Tom Alley finished 4th at Hawthorne/Chicago at the end of August, but it was only a 20-miler and, worse: there were only 4 starters!

    Alley drove again at Syracuse in September, but another engine failure put him out early. The next driver was Buddie Marr a week later at Middletwon (NY), where the car was an also-ran, and then the track runs cold until a September 9, 1928 appearance at Akron (OH), where Bert Karnatz finished 5th (and, apparently, last again) in a 100-miler. You can call that an undistinguished record.

    The Hamlin Motor Co. went out of business in 1930. It is unclear whether production of road cars ever went beyond a number of prototypes over a ten-year span.
  4. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,989

    from Australia

    This car was running as the Ray Day Piston Special in 1932.

  5. ziegld1
    Joined: Feb 21, 2011
    Posts: 37

    from St Louis

    Thanks for the info it helped alot. All of you guysare great !
    Dave Z.
  6. lhamlin
    Joined: Jun 12, 2012
    Posts: 1

    from Chicago

    My Great Grandfather designed the Hamlin Special. We have some really great pictures from the race as well as a lot of pictures of prototypes etc. Trying to do some research myself so I can surprise my Dad. I know he would be really thrilled if I could find one somewhere to go visit.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012

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