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History Auto racing 1894-1942

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

  1. Desmodromic
    Joined: Sep 25, 2010
    Posts: 274

    Desmodromic
    Member

    Reminds me of an engineless midget I bought many years ago. When originally built, it had two Harley "knucklehead" engines, one in front of the other, like a V4. I was Harley-ignorant at the time, figured I'd buy a couple of correct engines for it. Rude awakening - seems like they're 10,000 to 15,000 dollar items, and I needed two! I recently picked up a "shovelhead" (I'm learning Harley-speak!) for a more reasonable price, and have been looking for another.
     
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  2. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,700

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    I copied the text by hand then typed it here.it may have been some other word as I am unable to read my own writing at times.
     
  3. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

  4. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,700

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    52033988_478733559325592_1842544732375351296_o.jpg 1930 with Enzo, Nuvolari,and Alfa Romeo P2
     
  5. Vitesse
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 259

    Vitesse
    Member
    from Bath, UK

    I saw the same picture and caption on Facebook, Bob. The error is down to Facebook's auto-translate and/or Google Translate, which always automatically render "course de côte" as the literal "coast race". They don't do idioms very well.
     
  6. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,396

    The37Kid
    Member

    About this Item: Carl Hungness & Associates, Speedway, Indiana, 1975. Faux Leather. Condition: Very Good. Second Edition. Brown faux leather boards with gold embossed text and racing car illustrations are bright. There is a 2" inch cut on the outer top rear hinge, else near fine.The binding and text bock are secure; the pages unmarked except for a lightly pencilled price on the ffep. A detailed and profusely illustrated history of the Indianapolis 500, from its beginning in 1912 up to 1975 (the year this book was published). Complete driver statistics are included. Extra postage may be required for this large and heavy volume. Size: Folio - over 12" - 15" tall. Privately Printed. Seller Inventory # 002377

    I thought the INDY 500 started in 1911,:rolleyes: fake News , now Fake reviews.:confused: Bob
     
  7. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,700

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    i just won't post captions anymore......
     
  8. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    :rolleyes:
     
  9. Michael,
    With respect to the Sparks engines: There were Two! With the chassis designs ('37 and '38): There were Two! They were known as "The Big Six" and "Little Six" respectively! The "Big Six" chassis built by Clyde Adams, had parallel front springs. The six cylinder engine was 337 C.I.D., not 366! And it had a 7 inch spiral volute supercharger mounted on the rear of the engine; which gave better cooling. Nothing like that had been run at Indy. Though Leo Goossen engineered and drew the working drawings for the "Big Six"engine; it WAS Sparks' design and specifications. The car was faster than anything seen at before at Indianapolis. Driven by Jimmy Snyder, it shattered the 9 year old lap record. However when Snyder and riding mechanic Takeo Hirashima came in from a practice a noise was heard in the supercharger that turned out to be a bearing; the failure of which was found to be the impeller seizing. As the fix of the supercharger took time, the qualifying position of the car was back in the middle of the field. At the start of the 1937 Indy 500 it only took 3 laps for Snyder to put the "Big Six" into the lead. On the 27th lap the car came into the pits with a rough engine! Opening it up they saw that all the supercharger's ducting had come apart. All of the valve springs had broken. Sparks having put all his money into the car was broke and had to sell the car.

    Joel Thorne bought the "Big Six"; and in the deal convinced Art Sparks to agree to a "Lifetime" employment contract. Thorne Engineering came into being! Amongst other projects two new cars and engines were to be built. Clyde Adams and Frank Kurtis were to build the chassis' which, to Art's specs, were lighter than the "Big Six" The new car had the driver to the left of the driveline (the riding mechanic had been eliminated). The engines of the "Little Sixes" (as they became to be known) were to be different than just putting on a smaller block! And, because AAA had adopted the FIA regs, (making the "Big Six" obsolete) the new engines were 179.5 C.I.D. supercharged. Similarly, the new engines retained DOHC, seven main bearings and cylinder studs going through to the main bearing caps. Because alcohol now was allowed as fuel, the new design featured a combustion chamber designed to create a swirl turbulence and an 18 degree induction angle with only two valves per cylinder (Sparks thinking that the AAA might return to fuel restriction). The new crankshaft was of Nitraloy Steel. A blend of gasoline and Ethanol alcohol was used for the new engines' to take advantage of the 8.5 to 1 CR and the 18 lb. boost of the supercharger. The fuel also gave greater cooling and didn't eat up the many magnesium parts. The new "Little Six" was faster than the original "Big Six"! Below are photos from Conceptcarz of the "Little Six" owned by Joe Freeman of Race Maker Press Sparks-Thorne-Indy-num10-DV-10-MH-03-800.jpg Sparks_Thorne_Ltl6_DV-06-MHR_e01-800.jpg
     
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  10. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 761

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    Thanks for the additional information. I ignored the Little Six because I was concentrating on the "junk formula" - those cars were totally different, and with the "smaller block" remark I was refering to the Big Six. Which was originally 337 CID, thank you - I did say I did this from memory, didn't I? ;)
     
  11. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Thanks Old Dawg for this amazing contribution. If I'm not mistaken it was that very Little Six that won the 500 in 1946.
     
  12. rod1
    Joined: Jan 18, 2009
    Posts: 575

    rod1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Please Bob,Do Not stop any thing,you do.You are one of the Gems of the Hamb.
     
    The37Kid likes this.
  13. imageddba4c0c534e67200b9a1fa46f73383d-630142.jpg
    Yup! George Robson drove it to that win. Ted Horn drove it to a 3rd place finish in 1941. Jimmy Snyder unfortunately had been killed in a Midget race some years earlier. The winning "Little Six" is in the Indy museum. The second "Little Six" had been sold to Robert Flavel. It is currently owned by Joe Freeman who to this day races it in "Vintage" events. The "Big Six" soldiered on, mostly at the hands of Joel Thorne. Art Sparks finally having enough of Thorne's antics got out of the "Lifetime" contract. Art DID continue to do some work (mostly overhauling the engines) for the "Sixes"! As a neighborhood kid, I was fortunate to visit Mr. Sparks' garage/workshop often. Those engines were, a are, absolute "jewels"! Tony Henkels, one of Sparks' shop foremen, told me he accompanied Thorne to a Pike's Peak Hill Climb with the"Big Six". Thorne scared himself so he quit! Thornes last venture was to take the "Big Six" to "Sonny" Bohman of Bohman & Schwartz in Pasadena CA to convert the car to a Sports Racing Car to compete in the
    Carrera Pan-Americana (Mexican Road Race). The never happened as Joel Thorne was killed when he crashed his aircraft in 1955 (unfortunately taking out several people on the ground). The "Big Six" was sold at auction several years ago for $121,000 to Dana Mecum. Mecum runs it for time to time at "Millers at Milwaukee"!
    imageddba4c0c534e67200b9a1fa46f73383d-630142.jpg
     
  14. I should add that the "Big Six' currently has a "Big Six" (six cylinder) engine!

    "Dawg"
     
  15. Pete Eastwood
    Joined: Jul 27, 2011
    Posts: 745

    Pete Eastwood
    Member
    from california

    In the early '90's I was working on Jimmy Brucker's , Louie Meyer, 1933 Indy winning Miller.
    At that time Brucker owned the Little Six. It was sitting in his hanger in Santa Paula Ca. with several other great race cars. Bob Morris & Jimmy got it from Flavelt's widow, It was all original, and was so nice I felt it should never be restored !
     
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  16. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    So I take it the Big Six was fitted with a Little Six engine so as to continue to race from 1938 onwards, and has subsequently had the original Big Six engine reinstalled. Thus presumably bringing it back to near-original specification. Just as well that Carrera PanAm conversion never happened, though the circumstances were tragic.
     
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  17. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,700

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    Thank you "rod1" .That is most humbling.
     
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  18. Yeah Pete, Joe Freeman told me that when HE bought it, he took it to Phil Reilly's shop in Marin County. They told him the same thing: It was so good and beautiful, all they really had to do is look it over and replace all the fluids. Joe, who lives in Boston, told me that he's not going to bring it out t0 Monterey anymore unless they let us "PreWars' run on the first weekend (the "Pre-Reunion") AND the second weekend. I almost got him to bring it out to AAA Speedway last month. He's been telling me for years that once he gets me out on a "Big Oval" with "The Little Six"; he'll be able to catch me and "Suck My Goggles Off"!
     
  19. What happened was: For the 1939 Race (the "Big Six" being legislated out) Sparks DID NOT just stuff a four cylinder "Offy" in it! He removed the supercharger and reduced the size of the six to 272 C.I.D.
     
  20. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    No easy task, involving changes to the bore and/or stroke, compression ratio, valve sizes and timing, carburetion, both manifolds, ignition timing......the list goes on. And the results, with Thorne driving, are another testament to the genius of Art Sparks.
     
  21. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 761

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    Sadly, the Big Six is far from "near-original specification" today. Last time I saw it, the body was way off in dimensions.
     
  22. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Considering that the car was actively raced for about ten years (excluding war years), there must have been many evolutionary changes, apart from repairs and replacement due to wear and tear, as well as accidents. So it would be difficult to achieve a "definitive" form that it took at any particular time. Maybe that accounts for it: I have no specific knowledge so can only speak generally.
     
  23. That happened to many a "Original" car! Evidence some of the current "Collector" Millers! Many race cars, unless they were immediately put into, say, a museum, when they became obsolete or wrecked, were "updated" or "cannibalized". In the case of the Sparks "Big Six", Sparks made the first changes. It was wrecked twice at Indy: once by Rudy Caracciola. The other by Joel Thorne. Through those accidents, I think the car, particularly the engine and front suspension (parallel leaf springs) remained unchanged. According to Tony Henkels, former Shop Manager for Sparks and mechanic for Thorne, the first major change of the "Big Six" chassis occurred when Thorne took the car to Bohman & Schwartz to make the car into a two man sports racecar. After Thorne's death, the car sat unfinished in Bohman's shop. Henkels said that he saw the car over in the corner; and asked "Sonny" Bohman it's status. Bohman told him that $600 could take it away. Henkels went home and began to count his dimes and dollars. Coming up "a little short", it took Tony a little time (he didn't say how long) to raise $600! When he went back to Bohman's shop the CAR WAS GONE! It seems that David Uhlien, a noted racecar collector, had bought the car. Uhlien took it to Joe Silnas to "restore it". It was sold at auction out of Uhlien's Estate. I DO NOT know when the change of the front suspension to "Cross-Spring" was made. The rest of the chassis and engine seems to be a "correct" (perhaps "near-correct") recreation of the single seat version of the "Big Six". I was tempted to go bid on it; but was disabused of that notion when my wife said: "If you want to own another racecar, you must sell an airplane!"
     
  24. banjeaux bob, This is a priceless photo. Is it under copywrite protection? If not I would like to copy it and post it on the Alfa Bulletin Board. How would I obtain permission to do that?

    Jim Whitaker
     
  25. banjeaux bob
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 5,700

    banjeaux bob
    Member
    from alaska

    Jim, I stole it from a FB post. There were no prohibitions ,copyrights, or watermarks associated with the image.
     
  26. Ha, cool. Thanks.
     
  27. Barbara could streal it for you!!
     
  28. Yep, but I already have it from Bob. Hi Tim, you still in Florida?
     
  29. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 25,396

    The37Kid
    Member

    Some were around here I have an 8x10 photo of the Sparks Big Six that David Uhlien sent me years ago after he had added it to his collection. Way back in the days of letter writing it was fun to receive a letter from him and a few photos of ongoing projects. Things change, so has our hobby, so you shouldn't use todays standards to judge restorations done 30-40 years ago, just be thankful the cars were saved. Bob
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
    Speedwrench and Old Dawg like this.
  30. No, we got back last sunday evening. It was agood trip.
     

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