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History Auto racing 1894-1942

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by kurtis, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 730

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    Looks like an early Duesenberg to me, but I can't place it. Notice the pit board in the background says "Marmon", so that limits the time frame pretty much to 1914 - '16.

    And don't place too much weight into Pop's "memoires" - they are mostly tall tales from the rocking chair...
     
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  2. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,248

    jimdillon
    Member

    I agree with Michael on the Duesenberg angle but wasn't totally sure with such a fuzzy picture (the tail has that look-IMO). If I had to hazard a guess I would lean more towards some of the early 1915 races on the west coast. Tom Alley drove a Duesenberg with the #2 in several races, where Marmon was also represented; San Diego Exposition Road Race (1/9/15), Tropico Race in Glendale (2/3/15) and the Vanderbilt Cup in San Francisco (3/6/15). Marmons ran in the first two contests but not the Vanderbilt cup so that may be suspect.

    As to the Holy Grail I am not sure I could ever give one example. There were too many great cars. There is not one that sticks out IMO.
     
  3. Bluto
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 5,114

    Bluto
    Member Emeritus

    JIM

    I AGREE "HOLY GRAIL" MAY BE A TITLE BEST RESERVED FOR LAST SUPPERS.....
     
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  4. YEAH! But to be specific: The two 91's that Griff Borgeson brought over from France in 1958! But rarer yet is the 1935 Sparks-Weirick car. Driven by Rex Mays the car had the first of Art Sparks' engines. Sparks made patterns that he thought would correct the shortcomings of the Miller 4-Bangers. It was headed for victory when a AAA official spotted a broken right front shackle mount. RexMays1935.jpg
     
  5. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 730

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    Actually, not so. I have in front of me the timing report of the '35 race, and it tells a different story: Mays started from pole and led until Petillo (coming from the eighth row) caught up, passed him just before half distance, and left him standing!

    Lap 20: Mays (1) 28'01.20" Petillo (10) 28'51.49"
    Lap 40: Mays (1) 55'47.00" Petillo (4) 56'30.67"
    Lap 60: Mays (1) 1:22'33" Petillo (3) 1:22'50"
    Lap 80: Mays (1) 1:51'01" Petillo (2) 1:51'39"
    Lap 100: Mays (2) 2:17'48" Petillo (1) 2:17'46"
    Lap 120: Mays (2) 2:45'24" Petillo (1) 2:44'30"
     
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  6. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 208

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    Jim thanks for your reply. Allow me to re-phrase the question. There are a number of early Indy 500 winning machines that are unaccounted for, and machines from other great events that have also disappeared. Excluding cars that were known to be wrecked, parted out, and so forth, is it possible that there is gem from the golden age that has been hiding in a barn for the last 70-years or so? A race car that fell off the radar, has been unaccounted for, and presumed to be lost.

    Not too long ago a painting by Leonardo was discovered, and it sold at Christie's for $450 Mil. (I'd hate to have to pay the sales tax on that purchase)
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
  7. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 23,563

    The37Kid
    Member

    [​IMG]That car WAS my Holy Grail, called on it once a month back in the 1970's, unrestored and missing the engine. Missed calling one month, and found out it sold for $20,000. The next October the engine turned up at Hershey, missed that too. Saw the restored car at Pebble Beach 2016, flawless restoration, Bob Swanson drove it twice at Indy. Tracked another one of his cars that raced into the 1960's till it crashed and was scrapped....................or was it? :rolleyes: Bob

    To make this Holy Grail list work you need to brake it down to eras, Pre 1910,1920,1930, 1940 etc. the search is for personal appeal, not the most valuable car of the period.
     
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  8. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 208

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    Bob, sorry to hear that car got away from you.

    I friend of mine in high school had a '68 Shelby Convertible, and promptly blew the engine 2 weeks after he bought it. He saved his money for the next year so he could re-build the engine, and when he finally had it finished he blew the engine again. Disgusted with the car, he put it on the market for $4,000.

    A couple of years ago I googled my friends name, and found this website:

    http://www.1967shelbyconvertible.com/

    Turns out that '68 wasn't a '68, it was actually the '67 factory engineering prototype. Carroll Shelby's personal car. There are a few pictures of the car that I took from 1977 that are on the website.

    Selling a rare vehicle for pennies on the dollar...............Priceless!
     
  9. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,248

    jimdillon
    Member

    Billy I agree that we need to fill in the blanks with more than a few missing race cars and I also believe Bluto has a point as “The Holy Grail” may be best left to another discussion. If we are going to use (or misuse) the term to represent “the most important or significant race car” is where I could not point to one car. I remember reading that Lindley Bothwell’s Peugeot was the holy grail which they were free to claim I suppose but what about the L76 Peugeot and then what about the Voiturettes that gave the Charletans some of their ideas? After writing my article on the 289 cubic inch Millers I would think someone could argue that finding one of the 289 SOHC fours used in competition may be extremely significant. Then I would consider finding one of the 1914 grand Prix Schneider racecars with the similar SOHC four would be significant at least IMO. As successful as the Offy was, then verifying the genesis would be of some real significance. I could go on and on as there were so many race cars that are arguably very significant in the development of the modern day racing car. Everyone probably has a different take on which car was the most significant.

    As to a personal Holy Grail that has already been fulfilled in my case. Back in 1969 my grandfather saw a 1957 Corvette B/G drag car I was associated with and when he saw the 8 stacks sticking 12" out of the hood, he told me it reminded him of the race cars he worked on when he worked in the Packard experimental department back in the teens. I was blown away since he seemed to have very little interest in auto racing (he was a car collector and collected some race car stuff but only to fill in the blanks with auto history I suppose). From that day forward we had numerous discussions on the race cars and I was obsessed with finding one of the Twin Six racers that we spoke of. I talked to numerous Packard so called experts and they basically said I was nuts as there were no Twin Six racers. I hit a brick wall on the Twin Six stuff but then stumbled on the 299 racing engine and few bits that came with it, nine months after my grandfather died in 1981.

    In 2000 I received a phone call from a collector from Indiana who found a Twin Six racer in South America and was having it shipped back here and wanted to know if I would look at it when it came in to help document it. I was totally blown away as it was without question one of the cars my grandfather worked on. It is now in the Gilmore museum but I had a great time with overlooking the restoration and touring the country with the car. I met some pretty cool people that I was fortunate to have photos taken that are in my shop and remind me of the good times. The memories of vindicating the conversations I had with my grandfather and great fun I had with touring the country with this car has been priceless.

    The funny thing is that my grandfather told me there were two Twin Six racers and I recently started corresponding with a gentleman on the other side of the pond as to the possibility of another Packard racer that could possibly be the second car. Not sure where it will go as I have had many people tell me of the second 299 racer and all of those leads went nowhere. Fun stuff nevertheless.

    Billy you may appreciate that back in the 80s I ran an ad in Hemmings as to the whereabouts of any parts to the 300 ci Frontenacs, as I consider them very significant (and MIA). The only call I got was from the racecar collector Chuck Davis asking me what I had as he wanted stuff as well. We became friends and would talk on occasion.

    As to finding stuff hidden away I can only hope that such is the case. It keeps the blood flowing thinking there is more stuff out there.

    Here is a pic of the 299 engine in my shop in the 80s and the intake is a bit reminiscent of stack injection. 299-06.jpg

    The Twin Six racer on the very weekend that it was brought back to American soil with yours truly enjoying the seat time. The tail was heavily damaged and was full of filler and the engine was only partial but it still had the tag attached to the frame from the experimental department. Packard-5.jpg

    One of the first shows upon completion of the restoration was Pebble Beach. Jay Leno seemed to take an interest and came over and asked questions about the car several times during the day. The owner Greg Dawson on Jay's right and me on the left.
    Pebble-05-3.JPG
    Some great memories with the car. Here is the late Ed Herrmann at the Glenmoor gathering. Ed was Goldie Hawn's husband in the movie Overboard. A real great guy that was the grand marshall of the show and Packard nut. He kept stopping by and talking about the car. The white Rolls next to the Packard is Greg's car and I was fortunate enough to be a passenger in the car when it was used as the pace car for the recreation of the 1927 race at Indy between the Stutz Blackhawk (the mate to the car Bluto owned above) and the Hispano Suiza Boulogne. This recreation was during the the 100th anniversary festivities of the Indianapolis 500 (2011). Glenmoor-Ed Herman-2.JPG

    A side shot of the car at Meadowbrook. The two gentlemen talking to Greg were the guys that bought two Marmon racers that Greg also bought when found in South America, just before locating the Packard basically in the jungle. pk1916twinsixracer22611112.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2018
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  10. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 23,563

    The37Kid
    Member

    Thanks Jim! Always great to read your history lessons.

    Bob
     
  11. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 208

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    I appreciate your comments Jim, and the wonderful pictures. I agree that "Holy Grail" is not the best choice of words, and that is why I tried to clarify my question. Obviously no one single race car could be considered the nucleus of all race cars to follow. Nor is one early race car better, or more important than another.

    The South American 299 Packard you cited is a wonderful example of what I was aiming at. These cars had an amazing level of engineering, and an equally amazing record of performance on the race track. I'll stick my neck out here, and say that had there been an Indy 500 in 1917 or 1918 the Packard 299 would have been among the favorites to win those events, and it may have gone down in history as the only V-12 to do so.

    I would have given up a month's salary to see the expression on your face back in 2000 when you received the phone call from the gentleman in Indiana. No doubt it must have been a joyful occasion for you, and spawned many great memories of times spent with your grandfather. I can relate to that 100%.

    Billy
     
  12. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 2,248

    jimdillon
    Member

    Billy I have an article or two that claimed the 299 was the favorite in 1919. It led most of the first 100 laps but had two lengthy pit stops (one for a valve and the other for a frozen right front wheel bearing). De Palma had to race it back to take 6th.

    As to when I got the phone call on the Twin Six Packard, Greg called and introduced himself and was asking about the 299 etc and told me of his find. I asked if he had a fax and to fax me a picture while we spoke. I damn near fell out of my chair when I saw it. I had a number of calls over the years that the 299 engine #2 had been found in Europe but it never materialized. When I got the fax I saw the hood that was a dead giveaway and thought it may be #2. While talking to Greg I scaled the length of the hood and found the hood to be longer than the 299 and some minor differences. My grandfather had told me they were having problems and they changed the hood to resemble the 299 hood as they did not to bring bad press to the new Twin Six they were coming out with. If there were some teething issues with the 299 it was not as big a deal. The experimental department was working long hours to make their new Twin Six a success. When I scaled it out and saw the minor differences, that was the moment I knew it was one of the cars I was hoping would show up. I have great memories with the car.

    I have to believe there are still some treasures out there-let's hope it is 300 inch Frontenac related.
     
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  13. You're certainly right about the lap times. However my information about the 1935 Indy race comes from Art Sparks' reminiscence from his bio, "Speedway.. Half A Century of Racing with Art Sparks" by Gene Banning. Plus his spoken narrative in a recording given to Larry Sullivan.

    Art is quoted as saying: "Mays had averaged 114.628 mph during the first part of the race, then slowed to just under 109 mph to conserve fuel.....to stay under the 42.5 gallon limit." (I believe they were using the 269 C.I.D. engine that Sparks had built for Indy races). "Near the 100th Lap, still leading, Mays noticed the car beginning to handle awkwardly, but he could detect no apparent malfunction. Letting off a bit, he dropped back to second place and nursed the car along until his next pit stop."

    In his record narrative, Sparks tells of Paul Weirick seeing the broken shackle mount while the car was being refueled. Learning of the problem Mays said he could deal with it; but the AAA official saw it and they were through on the 123rd Lap!

    All that said, my friends Bruce Burness (who had owned Sparks' shop until a couple of years ago); and Joe Scalzo (motorsports journalist, having interviewed Sparks a few times) have said that: "all this is history according to Art Sparks!" LOL!
     
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  14. I think Dana Mecum has the car (or a car) as the #33 Sparks-Weirick. The original chassis was built by Phil Summers. If it IS the real thing, I wonder if it still has the Sparks engine. Then too, I wonder how many collectors have what they think is a Miller that's actually a Sparks. Similarly I've seen many a Miller recreation with an Offenhauser or a Meyer-Drake engine.

    RexMays1935.jpg
     
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  15. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 730

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    There weren't too many Sparks engines. Art first modified an existing '220' Miller with a stroker crankshaft, and perhaps a second one, before he went ahead and build his own engines. The first was an F-head conversion of a Model B Ford, then he built one or two 8-valve engines to the general pattern of the Miller four. After that came the sixes, which cannot be mistaken for a Miller or an Offy.
     
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  16. All true. Specifically, when Art Sparks and Paul Weirick purchased and ran their first Miller four-banger, Art was unhappy with the the gearset, the cylinder block and the crankcase. He set out to make patterns for the castings of the block and crankcase; and redesign and machine the gear drive. Because time and money were dear, it took him years to get the first engine. It was that engine, the 269 c.i.d. that powered the #33. He made 220 c.i.d blocks as well. The 336 c.i.d. "Big Six" was a complete Sparks design (no diaphragm main bearing bulkheads). In 1938, it powered the fastest car Indy had yet seen. During the race some of the valve springs, if not all broke and the car was parked. They may have awarded it 14th place. After that it was legislated out by the AAA. In 1939 the same engine with a smaller block and a centrifugal supercharger became the 183 c.i.d "Little Six". It was in a different chassis built by Clyde Adams. One of the two "Little Sixes" won Indy in 1946.
    I took the above info from a recorded narrative given by Mr. Sparks. I say "Mister" because as we lived next door I , being a kid, only knew him as Mr. Sparks!
     
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  17. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 208

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    I ran into a news report that a broken water pipe at the DPL damaged some of the holdings at the National Automotive History Collection. The story can be seen here.

    I hope the damage is minor, and that the library re-opens soon.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
  18. kurtis
    Joined: Mar 13, 2009
    Posts: 1,990

    kurtis
    Member
    from Australia

    Did someone mention holy grail

    FB_IMG_1517982566766.jpg
     
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  19. The 1926-27 Delage 1500cc Grand Prix car - just because it sounds great. This particular car has been to New Zealand several times for maintenance and repair. It most recently did some demonstration laps at the classic race meeting at Ruapuna raceway, near Christchurch, during the weekend of 4-5 February 2018. Due to go back to the US in April.
     
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  20. saacha
    Joined: Mar 20, 2011
    Posts: 161

    saacha
    Member
    from cloud 9

    The sound of that music box is bliss to my ears.
    Also might I say, how nice to see so many intersting posts, jolly good.
     
  21. saacha
    Joined: Mar 20, 2011
    Posts: 161

    saacha
    Member
    from cloud 9

    Me again, as you might have seen from my previous posts I am reading "The Romance of Motor Sport" by Malcom Campbell, printed in 1937. The book belonged to Carlos M. Gadda a very early Bugatti Owners Club member. Please look at what I found on the back cover. I wonder what Alfa that might have been? I would love to know ! mc2.jpg
     
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  22. RE: The '26/27' Delage.. Looks like it was a bit of a handful for the fellow at first. He started finding the groove after a few laps. Maybe a later Apex would've helped. Don't know; wasn't there. There are plenty of variables in driving these old cars. And that's what makes them so much fun! Excellent video..Thanks
     
  23. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 23,563

    The37Kid
    Member

    Is that the exSeaman Delage? Not to go off track but isn't the original car three cars now? o_Oo_Oo_O Bob
     
  24. Yeah! An interesting recipe! As I think I remember we used to mix (in the 50's to early 60's ) equal amounts of Methanol and Gasoline with 10 percent Toluene (or Benzyl), 5 percent Acetone and 1 or 2 percent Castor Oil (or any other Top Oil). We'd open up the jets of the SU's and run the mix in MG and Coventry-Climax engines. Also I'm thinking that these days the Thirties European Gran Prix cars (Alfa's, Bugatti's , Delage's ERA's, Maserati's and Talbot-Lago's) use much the same. Now the German's (Auto Union and Mercedes') are a whole different deal. I don't know what it is; but it IS "Scary Stuff"!
     
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  25. THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Joined: Jun 6, 2007
    Posts: 2,330

    THE FRENCHTOWN FLYER
    Member
    from FRENCHTOWN

    maybe propylene oxide?
     
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  26. fnqvmuch
    Joined: Nov 14, 2008
    Posts: 228

    fnqvmuch
    Member

    4 in 1927 (5 engines) another couple sanction-ed for White Mouse in 1936-37 with ifs, then it gets confusing ...
     
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  27. ZigZagZ
    Joined: Oct 24, 2011
    Posts: 208

    ZigZagZ
    Member
    from LA

    Great video, thanks for sharing.
     
  28. WillyNilly
    Joined: Apr 7, 2013
    Posts: 237

    WillyNilly
    Member
    from NorCal

    I prefer the 1909 racer myself.

    christie-1909-v-4-racer-oldfield.jpg
     
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  29. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 23,563

    The37Kid
    Member

    saacha likes this.
  30. Bluto
    Joined: Feb 15, 2005
    Posts: 5,114

    Bluto
    Member Emeritus

    ONE OF MY, NOW GONE, OLD FRIEND'S WAS A PREWAR PROFESSIONAL RACER. I HAVE A LOT OF ITEMS HE GAVE ME OVER THE YEARS.
    THIS FLAG WAS WON BY REX MAYS AT TRENTON. ACE LOANED HIM THE CAR... AFTER THE WIN THEY SPLIT THE PRIZE MONEY AND REX GAVE MY FRIEND ACE THE FLAG... IT'S IMPORTANT TO ME BECAUSE IT WAS IMPORTANT TO THEM.

    I'VE BEEN LUCKY IN THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE TRUSTED THEIR HISTORY WITH ME. TO CARE, KEEP AND REMEMBER. AND ALSO TO SHARE WITH OTHERS


    SO FRIENDS HERE'S ONE MORE THING FROM A PAST WE ALL LOVE AND TALK ABOUT:

    DSC07068.jpg
     

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