The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by kurtis, Jul 18, 2009.
This is kinda what it looked like all dressed up!
Yes and no... The first picture is actually from 1929, when Meyer drove a different Miller (ex-Lockhart). The second picture shows the replica of his 1928 winning car in the IMS museum, built up using (mostly) genuine parts from different cars, including the frame of (most likely) the 1929 car!
Right! I'm thinking many, if not most, of the oval cars (Midgets, Big Cars & Indy Cars) of this era are reconstructions using actual or reproduced parts. It seems that each of these "survivors" have been put together to represent a current iteration of a particular time in its racing life. Usually the pinnacle of its career! Though an exception might be the Sparks-Thorne "Big Six". It now has the smaller engine (which was in it when Thorne ran it at Indy). But it currently has a Cross-Spring front suspension; which might have been put on the car either to run at Pikes Peak or more likely that Joel could have a two place Sports Car to race.
I guess there is a known number of 183, 122, & 91 CI MILLER cars produced, maybe the extra motors too. I'm happy that the cars are restored, but see that talking about which ones are the most correct, and with the most MILLER made parts is a discussion that will attract lawyers. Guess the Pebble Beach team that judged them in 2021 is sworn to secrecy.
There were no "extra motors" back then, in fact some engines did double duty in different chassis! The age of spare engines did not really begin until the Silver Arrows era in the thirties, and then only with the factory teams. First spare engines at Indy would be late forties, early fifties, but so far I have no definite information.
The Sparks-Thorne "Big Six" recreation is a joke, from the viewpoint of historical accuracy, same as the Tommy Milton "Convertible" Miller - they are so far off even the most basic measurements it's almost laughable. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for recreating the sound and the glory of old racing cars, but they didn't do much research when building them in the seventies or eigthies (I'm not sure). Not coinicidentally, they both came from the same "collection" (read: replica shop).
One for Bob 37 kid
According to Tony Henkels, a former Shop Foreman for Art Sparks; spotted remnants of the Thorne "Big Six" (Art and Joel had "Split the Sheets") in the Pasadena CA shop of Bohman & Schwartz. Henkels asked "Sonny[" Bohman about the dismantled car (including engine)A bout the car. Bohman sais that the car was for sale for work done and storage. The price was $600.0o. Joel Thorne was dead. He had flown his aircraft into the ground on a 1955 foggy SoCal morning. Thorne had engaged the body building company to convert the Indy car into a two seat sports racing car to compete in the Carrera Panamericana (the Mexican Road Race). Tony told me he didn't have the money with him; but want to buy the car. But when he returned a couple of weeks later; the car was gone. David Uhilein had bought the car and turned it over to Joe Silnes to complete. Silnes turned it into a single seat, cross-spring suspension race car; an iteration of which it had never run. Dana Mecum bought it at auction for $121,000! Fairly expensive for a Sparkes 183 C.I.D. six engine!
I’m sure there is a reference to Riley in this thread saw this at a British car show yesterday
That is a great series of observations, thanks for sharing.
Just chatting about the 3 of the S74's (6 built in total) that came to the US in in November (30th) of 1911 for the Savannah Grand Prize. David Bruce-Brown (winner), Caleb Bragg and Louis Wagner as the respective drivers.
All three cars are sent to Los Angeles, and appear in the Santa Monica Road Race (Dick Ferris Trophy) in May, 1912. Caleb Bragg, Tetzlaf and Barney Oldfied (ex-Bruce-Brown). Teddy Tetzlaf winning in his S74 (ex-Wagner) Side note, for that race, Bruce-Brown drives a Benz.
Interlude...May 30th, 1912, the S74 FIAT's do not race at Indianapolis as the engine limit was 600 cu.in. / ~9.8 litres. (the S74 was 855 cu.in. / ~14 litres.) Instead, Teddy drives an S61 and gets second place. Bruce-Brown driving a National (DNF)
Bruce-Brown goes to Europe to race in the French Grand Prix at Dieppe, June 25 - 26th, 1912 (Wagner, DePalma and Bruce-Brown) in the other 3 S74's.
Tetzlaff then proceeds to Tacoma July 4-5, 1912 with an S61 for the AAA race and the Montamarathon Trophy and which he wins both. In the Montramarathon race, Frank Verbeck is also driving a FIAT S61.
And now in the heat of August, 1912:
Caleb Bragg, Tetzlaff and Bruce-Brown's US based FIAT S74's go on to Milwaukee for the American Grand Prize in August of 1912. Bruce-Brown flips his car and dies during practice. Caleb Bragg and Tetzlaff start the Grand Prize, Tetzlaff DNF/broken suspension and Bragg wins. Cars return to LA.
Which brings us to the racing stable that had these cars, the following were old all sold by Eugene E. Hewlitt of Pacific Coast Motor Company, Los Angeles, California to: Dr. Edwin Janss and Eddie Meier, combined their fleet which included the following:
1. 1911 FIAT S74 Tetzlaff (ex-Wagner), Dr. Edwin Janss (owner)
2. 1911 FIAT S74 (ex-Bruce-Brown), Eddie Meier (owner)
3. 1904 FIAT "Cyclone" (ex-Gordon Bennett Cup)...which by that time has had more drivers than...
4. 1910 FIAT S61 (ex-DePalma, Savannah GP, ex-Tetzlaff Santa Monica,) Eugene Hewlitt (owner) ?
5. 1910 FIAT S61 (ex...I am running out of brain power)
...and of course, why does it matter to me...once the FIAT engines were dead in the 1911 S74 (ex-Tetzlaff/Wagner and the 1910 S61 (ex-DePalma/Tetzlaff) those 2 cars had their engines replaces with 50HP Pope-Hartford engines and went on to continue to race. The S74 becoming the Ono and the S61 retaining a FIAT radiator and having a similar full body built. Both survived and end up in the Bill Evans collection in San Diego. The S61 being fully restored (not getting into the legal definition of race cars and "restoration", but this car would meet a significant amount of the legal threshold as the only missing bit was the engine. The original FIAT seats were even built into the the new body and were subsequently saved) and is trying to be run at various events, including Goodwood. The Ono's fate is...
Didn't run down Caleb Bragg's S74, which I think he personally owned. He did have an S61.
If I mixed any of the above up, please, say so. Went down this rabbit hole, because it is fun to see a snap shot of barely one year in a race cars life. As the above really is only November of 1911 through August of 1912.
Fun facts from 1914...an S74 appears in the short film "Getting Acquainted"
Then, in the 1915 Film "The Little Teacher"...what should appear?
We do know that the above car is not the Ono, as it will have competed in the San Francisco Exposition road race "American Grand Prize" on February 27th, 1915 and, in 1914 the Ono has an appearance in the Charlie Chaplin film "A Gentleman of Nerve", with Laurel and Hardy (go to the 50 second mark).
Tell me . . . now , what has Bill done to " ONO ' ?! has he screwed it up even more than when I last saw it many years ago when he had changed it to wire wheels . which it never had . . .
When he rebuilt the S61, they pulled the original FIAT wheels off the ONO.
Story I heard on the S61, was Lonnie Reed had it, sold it ER Bourne, ER swapped it for a 50hp touring out of the Indy museum. I guess it sat in the basement until Mr. Evans got it? By that time he had done the deal for the Ono, and when Herb passed, Mr. Evans had both. Never seen a picture of the S61 car, I do know what the body looks like, cause it was sitting in the rain at Jack Murphy one year.
I wonder how many spokes that board track racer used in his wheels?
During my reading on the S74 FIAT's came across a Mr. Frank Fox, who was racing his 1910 (?) Pope-Hartford around Indiana (and mainly at Indianapolis) between 1910 and 1913.
This also turned into a kinda fun rabbit hole, Mr. Fox owned the Pope-Hartford dealership in Terre Haute, IN. Which was at 811 - 815 Ohio Street. Don't know if this is the original building, but something is still there that has that certain "look".
During his life, he was involved in a wide variety of interests from real estate development to horse racing. He also did not back down. The following article is a fun read:
He built and raced a couple of Pope's, his notable achievements were finishing 22nd in the Inaugural (1911) Indy 500:
He crashed at Indy in 1910:
He didn't quailfy in '12. He proceeded to build a new Pope-Hartford race car named "The Gray Fox" and in the 1913 500, with Howdy Wilcox at the wheel and Frank driving a few relief laps, the car finished 6th:
Howdy Wilcox was his go to driver on several occasions.
There are a few Pope's that have popped up over the years bearing some of the signature modifications of Frank Fox, most notably is the B. Plez Nance 1909 40hp car, when he acquired the car in bits, the rear dumb irons had been significantly cut down and the car had the appearance of having been an old race car (and goes like an old race car too). No one ever figured out what it's history was...an interesting is this what the car was...
Thanks Fur Biscuit! Never saw radiator straps on a car before.
Probably made radiator changes quicker during a pit stop if you picked up the random thrown odd rock. Pretty clever really.
Think it was more intended to to provide additional support to hold the radiator on, either way it looks cool.
What's a rear dumb iron, and why would one want to significantly cut one down?
IF this is the same car in both photos the top one has shorter rear frame horns and shorter rear springs than the one in the other photo.
Before fully stamped frame rails were the norm (front to rear, w/integral mounts for the springs), the ends of the frame were in some cases 3/4 eliptic springs, with the bottom spring being half and the top rear facing spring being mounted to the frame on one end and the other carrying the shackle mount for the bottom spring. On some cars, instead of a top spring it was solid bit of forged metal and riveted to the end of steel frame.
Miriam-Webster: "a rigid connecting piece between the frame of an automotive vehicle and the spring shackle"
As time moved on, the front shackle mounts were integrated into the frame, but on many cars the rear mounts were still forged iron.
If you look closely at the bum end of this Portola, you can see that the rear spring mount is a long forged tublar affair, that is curved outwards and then back on its self to end in the shackle mount. On the Gray Fox, and probably the earlier car, these were cut down (shortened) to reduce the rather long wheel base for better weight distribution and handling.
If I had to guess what Frank started with, would be the below, you can clearly see the rear frame iron.
Haven't turn up much on exactly what was updated, however looking at the pictures, the wheels and steering certainly have been changed. Will see if I can find a picture of an '09 frame vs a '12 and see if one is a ladder style and the other a single drop. It does not look like a '13, which would have a double drop and pinched rails just forward of the cowl.
This is probably a shot of the Janss/Meier "stable", pretty cool.
1. ?? Davis might be in the "Cyclone" (note Name painted on the hood, also see news clipping below from 1914)
2. S74 Teddy Tetzlaff
3. S74 Caleb Bragg
4. S61 George Hill
5. S61 Frank Verbeck
6. ?? Williams FIAT might be an American assembled FIAT 45hp that was hotrodded and raced.
Thank you fur biscuit.
I learned something today.
The cowl, seat, levers, and rear spring hangers (and possibly the frame- looks straight over the rear axle in the second pic) are different as well- makes me wonder if they are just
different vehicles altogether.
85 years ago - 12.10.1936 - Tazio Nuvolari brought home the Vanderbilt Cup!
Pictured here minutes before emabarking on the transatlantic journey on board the majestic oceanliner SS Rex, members of the Scuderia Ferrari and the 3 Alfa Romeo 12C-36 deployed for the race, plus the über-cool Alfa Romeo Tipo 500 assistance truck.
#8 Tazio Nuvolari P1
#9 Antonio Brivio P3
#10 Giuseppe Farina DNF
I know you guys like documentation .I can't give what I don't have.
We are just glad you dig out all the cool pictures. THANKS Bob.
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