The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by kurtis, Jul 18, 2009.
Ralph Hepburn and Bud Winfield's masterpiece.
The Novi was indeed a masterpiece.
That's not a Novi, it's the old Miller-Ford chassis with the Winfield V8 stuffed into it.
Thank you for the clarification. Wasn't the Winfield V-8 the nucleus of what would eventually be known as the Novi?
Also, is there any truth that Henry Ford was involved in the project? Your comments here would be most appreciated.
The Novi was the bespoke chassis for the Winfield V8 engine in postwar years. At some point in the sixties, and I suspect Andy Granatelli wasn't entirely innocent in this, people began calling the engine Novi.
Lou Welch, the money man behind the Winfield engine and Novi cars, was a Ford man. He had various connections to Dearborn, but it would greatly surprise me if (Henry) Ford had anything to do with this projecct.
According to Dick Ralstin's research Lew Welch was close to Ray Dahlinger.
The Dahlinger connection to Henry Ford is very interesting.
The chassis is that of a 1935 Miller-Ford. Lew Welch, a native of Novi Michigan and an OEM parts supplier to Ford, had gotten hold of one of the failed Miller-Fords that Henry had locked up. Lew entered it in the 1939 Indy race driven by Cliff Bergere. And once again it failed. Welch backed the Winfield Brothers effort to produce an engine. Of course the engine is a Winfield V-8. They put the engine in the Miller-Ford. At the hands of Ralph Hepburn the car finished 4th in the 1941 Indy 500. It ran under the Bowes Sealfast sponsorship. After Welch's town, it was call "The Novi". Due to its design (Leo Goossen) with a 180 degree crank and a centrifugal supercharger, the engine put out a distinctive howl. In later years, Lew [ Welch DID cause other chassis' to be built by Frank Kurtis using the Winfield engine. Welch soldiered on at Indy until 1956 (he had even tried a 4 wheel drive car). He died in 1980. The cars under Welch's sponsorship all became known as the Novi's. They were extremely powerful and fast. But they gulped down fuel and tore up tires. The Granatelli Bros. began their foray into Indy cars with another 1935 Miller-Ford. The used one with a 24 stud Ford or Merc block. Much later Andy, using STP as a sponsor put a Winfield V-8 into a rear drive chassis and called it a Novi. Several years ago Tom Malloy bought the car that ran in 1941. Malloy followed that up by purchasing all the spare parts and engines of the Winfield V-8 from the city of Novi (who had them stored all those years). Tom also owns a drive chassis replica of the STP Novi (it had a Maserati V-8). He plans to put one of the Winfield V-8's in it.
L to R Leo Goossen, Fred Offenhauser and Bud Winfield
Looking over the Miller/Novi
Thanks for these posts. Back in the '60s at my uncle's bar and restaurant I was hired to run the projector to show films of all of the Indy races. up to that point. ('61-'62) The sound of the Novi's got my attention. I was 15 or 16 then. I was hooked on Indy until the put the engines in the trunk. It's just not interesting any more.
I was raised on the west side of Indy about a mile east of the track. There was no sound to compare to the Novi at full yodel.
IT EVEN SOUNDED DIFFERENT ON THE RADIO
Incidentally, Tom Malloy DOES run his Miller-Novi in exhibitions. The sound, up close, is stunning!
Yup! Those were exciting days for this pencil necked kid. The lights in Art Sparks' personal shop (next door to my folk's rented house) were on 24/7, weeks before Indy. And at 10 a.m. PDT on Armistice Day (later Memorial Day) the radio was on in my car buddy's folk's garage. As we worked on our models, the scream of the Novi's was notably heard every lap.
Is there any evidence of a connection between Lew Welch and Ray Dahlinger? See link below.
SO MANY NIGHTS ... LATE WORK ... EFFORT WITH LITTLE OR NO SLEEP.
SOMETIMES MY MIND JUST FLASHES BACK TO SLEEPING NEXT TO THE CAR ..... WAKING TO WORK AND ONLY SLEEPING WHEN I COULDN'T WORK ANY FURTHER THEN AWAKE AND BACK AT THE JOB ONCE MORE..FOR WEEKS NOT KNOWING WHAT DAY IT WAS ...ONLY FOCUSED ON THE START OF THE NEXT EVENT ... AS THE DEADLINE GOT CLOSER YOU HAD TO GET BETTER, PUT FATIGUE OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND GET ONLY BETTER EACH HOUR, DAY, WEEK ...
JESSE ALEXANDER'S PORTRAIT OF ME IN 1990
I know of none. The only thing know was that Dahlinger was one of Henry's confidants, as well as his driver. Welch was a vendor of the Ford Motor Co.
THE CAR WAS EIGHT YEARS OLDER THAN ME
THIS IS A VERY FEW WEEKS LATER......
Interesting. I had never heard of Ray Dahlinger before, and also never knew of a Cote Motor Co., which turns out to be a rather grand name for simple dealership. Another statement from the article,
"when he turned seven, he received the winning car from the Indy 500 as a present."
That would've been around 1930. No car winning around that time disappeared from racing until many years later. So, I suppose the hole article is just... bunk.
Well I am relieved that you didn't call it funk or junk, and simply quoted old Henry.
I agree that giving a child a race car is a bunch of bologna. However the basic story of Henry's secret love is thought provoking.
I had a nice meeting with Robert Casey a few years ago, and as you know he was a curator at the museum in Dearborn for many years (super nice guy). I picked his brains for over an hour about the archive, finding aids, paper trails, hidden gems, Miller/Ford, etc. He indicated that the Ford family had purged a lot of the potentially embarrassing material from the archive before it was turned over to the Foundation (and the public). When asked to elaborated he mentioned the "reports" of Henry's other son.
One of the areas that Mr. Casey mentioned that sounded very interesting was the archive of purchase orders. You'd think they would have been trashed decades ago, but apparently there is a money trail in the archives (perhaps Miller/Ford - who knows?). I have not had a chance to dig through the PO's, but there could be material of interest to the folks on this thread. Such a search would however be very time consuming.
In regards to the Mansion on the River Rouge, it sure looks like it has Henry's fingerprints all over it.
Below is Dahlinger's WW1 draft card.
IT'S A ONE-OFF CAR....
CONFUSION HAS COME FROM FAKES BUILT BY BMW IN THE LAST 25 YEARS.
IT WAS LOST IN THE US FOR 30 YEARS ..IT TOOK ME 7 YEARS TO FIND IT
THE PHOTO AT THE MM START IS FROM 1990.
HERE'S A VIDEO OF ME DRIVING MY CAR. I DID THAT A LOT! IT WAS FUN!!
AND HONESTLY ... DEATH IS NATURE'S WAY OF SAYING "SLOW DOWN"!
THIS IS HOW IT LOOKED WHEN I GOT IT
YES IT WAS A F'N MESS!
I did a little digging on the net, and found this picture which supposedly shows John C. Dahlinger. The car doesn't look like a 500 winner, but instead appears to be a run of the mill Fronty Ford.
Love the Miller-Ford history, first one I ever saw was Tiny Gould's when Buster Warke was restoring it. Here is the ad for the two that the Granatelli brother were trying to sell in 1948 in the California Timing News. Bob
Thanks for your reply. Enjoyed the video. The pictures of this car ring a bell which I want to check out.
THE CAR WAS A BIG PART OF MY LIFE ..... I STILL AM INVOLVED WITH PREWAR BMW RACERS.
You can buy this...
And this one....
Let you? I expect you to post. I enjoy the knowledge you bring to this thread. Keep it up!
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