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History Birthplace of the Novi Special

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by J.Ukrop, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. J.Ukrop
    Joined: Nov 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,940

    J.Ukrop
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

    Gr8laker likes this.
  2. Great story, thanks for sharing.

    Sad to see all that history slowly slipping away.
     
  3. seatex
    Joined: Oct 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,664

    seatex
    Member

    It's a real shame what has happened to the Detroit area. Once the most powerful city on earth, now in bankruptcy. Sad, sad, sad. At least the water tower remains. Thanks, Joey.
     
  4. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,200

    flamingokid
    Member

    I've always wondered what would have become of the Novi if they had let Fangio run it at Indy in 1958. Fangio didn't think it was all that tough to drive and he smoked the other driver in practice,who went on to place 10th.Thanks for another great story,Joey.
     

  5. I didn't realize how early they were developed, I can remember hearing about them in about 1960, but by then, sadly, they were back markers. One could hear the "scream" of the Novi over the howl of the offys.
    Does anyone have pictures of the engines, pictures of the cars are everywhere?
     
  6. flyin-t
    Joined: Dec 29, 2004
    Posts: 1,377

    flyin-t
    Member

  7. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Some engine shots from back in the day.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    The #54 Novi was Duke Nalon's ride in 1949 in which he earned the nickname "Iron" Duke.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. 231ramona
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 274

    231ramona
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  10. olskool34
    Joined: Jun 28, 2006
    Posts: 2,465

    olskool34
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    I drive by that water tower and look at it almost every day. It too will soon be gone unless someone steps in.
     
  11. HotRodToomer
    Joined: Jun 25, 2006
    Posts: 857

    HotRodToomer
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Right by where I live. It's one of the things that when I was a kid sparked my interest.
     
  12. Normbc9
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,121

    Normbc9
    Member

    I had the experience of both seeing the Novi cars run on the big tracks and the engines disassembled for maintenance. Like the Offenhauser engines these were precision engines that ran smooth and fast. The noise is unforgettable too. I could tell they were on the track from a long distance away.
    Normbc9
     
  13. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 3,094

    autobilly
    Member

    And not all that long ago. Truly sad to have witnessed it's demise.
     
  14. Whenever I pass through the Novi area or find myself on Grand River, I always try and stop by to take it in one more time.

    FWIW here's the 1963 Indy 500 with the Granatelli era Novis from 4:24-on.

    http://youtu.be/bE6rgs-wltY

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  15. From the 2012 Millers at Milwaukee...I'm pretty sure this car was built by Gary Babineau...

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  17. Here's a fairly obscure Novi video from Indy during the Granatelli era. This is a collection of outtakes from a Studebaker-STP promotional video featuring Paula Murphy who drove for Andy in a wide variety of cars...as far as can be discerned, this is the first woman to drive a competitive racecar around IMS.

    Keen observers will notice Eddie Sachs and Jim Hurtubise...

    <a href="http://<iframe width=" 480"="" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DLcxvjN1ASU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="">">http://<a href="http://<iframe width=" 480"="" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DLcxvjN1ASU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DLcxvjN1ASU" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe>
     
  18. SakowskiMotors
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,242

    SakowskiMotors
    Member

    That is an incredible engine. I think i have a new dream engine for a roadster....

    I had an old Ford with a Novi AC System in it.
    Such a cool American company that did so many things.
    Check it out http://www.sakowskimotors.com/detail.asp?carid=452
    Pictures of the Novi AC in the trunk at the bottom.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. When first developed and completed, the Novi engine was installed in the chassis of one of the 1935 Miller Fords. I can't remember the exact details; but, suffice to say, the car was not successful. It's currently owned by Tom Malloy.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    1941 was the first year of the Novi. I guess it depends on what the definition of 'successful' is, but Ralph Hepburn finished 4th at Indy that year. He probably could have lapped the field but didn't dare push over about 75% throttle or he would have burned those 1941 tires right off the wheels.:)
     
  21. You're exactly right. I guess I should have said that it (the car's chassis) was "overwhelmed" by the powerful engine.:confused:
     
  22. Looks like Cleveland. Such a bummer all these old building's are getting bulldozed.
     
  23. Lew Welch, the owner of the original Novi cars, was an OEM vendor to the Ford Motor Company. His factory in Novi Michigan, made such things as heaters, and various linkage systems. His business ran into hard times; and in 1959 he sold the cars and engines to Andy Granatelli. I guess all the changes at Ford, at that time, probably caused the downswing in Welch's fortunes as well as those of the city of Novi:(
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  24. Those of you that are interested in the Novi Specials, and are in the Los Angeles area, might consider going out to Fontana to the AAA Speedway (formerly the California Speedway) on October 18th and 19th. The Indy Racing League will be running the MAVTV 500. On display and on the track (perhaps) will be the original Novi (a Winfield V8), the Bowes Seal Fast Special which was the 4th place finisher in the 1941 Indy 500. Apparently, the speedway and Victory Lane magazine are offering a ticket special. The discount is for Saturday admission of $35, with a grandstand and paddock pass. I believe to get the special, you call Pam Shatraw (at Victory Lane) 650-321-1411 or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com

    On Friday, when the IRL and Indy Lights are running and practicing, the vintage racers will be on the track shortly afternoon, and about 4:30 pm.

    The vintage race cars will be on display in the paddock area both Friday and Saturday.

    [​IMG]
     
  25. Gr8laker
    Joined: Sep 15, 2011
    Posts: 60

    Gr8laker
    Member
    from Michigan

    Would like to see the water tower. I live near that area. Where is it?
     
  26. It's on Novi rd just south of Grand River on the east side of the street
     
  27. BillWallace
    Joined: May 6, 2011
    Posts: 132

    BillWallace
    Member

    The back story of the Novi is as interesting as the cars themselves. Henry Ford was a racing fan & liked the idea of a v8 car in the 500. He & Lou Welch were in a sense business partners. The Novi engine was the product of their financial colaberation & the brilliant minds of Fred Offenhauser , Leo Gossen , & both of the Winfield brothers. Backed by Ford money the engine was installed in one of the 1935 Harry Miller designed Ford race cars that had been not ssuccessfull at Indy. Also part of the Novi team was the rumored illigitemate son of Henry Ford just to keep an eye on things. After ww2 Welch had Frank Kurtis build new chassis with front wheel drive & although 3 of the races between the end of the war & 1950 were won by much less powerful engines the Novi was to heavy & could not keep the tires of the time from wearing away. Two veteran drivers lost their lives in these cars & by the time new rear wheel drive cars were built the Novi's were no more competitive than the other cars & still suffered from the problem of weight & tire wear. A great & lasting legacy of effort & misfortune.
     

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