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History Classic Indy roadsters: Most beautiful oval racers ever?

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Bill McGuire, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 234

    blueprint2002

    Thanks Rootie for some more great detailed pics, this time of the Offy four. It appears that the stud pattern on the flywheel housing would allow an angle of 36 or 72 degrees (from vertical) either side with no changes, some other angle might need an adapter of some sort.
     
  2. Offset
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 1,585

    Offset
    Member
    from Canada

    I remember as a kid collecting "Indy Car" cards that came with flat gum in waxed wrappers just like baseball cards. No idea where they went but even then I believed they were indeed the most beautiful race cars.

    Thanks for sharing all your stories and pictures. Very cool.
     
  3. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,677

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    swartzroadster.jpg
    Not sure if you are asking if they ran dirt with an Offy or not, but here is Dick Swartzlander in a Lesovski laydown from 1959, with the obligatory sbc. View attachment 4171068
    Pic fixed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
    Ranchero59 likes this.
  4. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 234

    blueprint2002

    Either way! Seems to me that at least one reason for replacing the engine would be those intake stacks right behind the left front wheel, on the original. Could be other reasons as well.
    Another thing: most dirt cars, even much later, seem to have been uprights, and I guess that could be the accepted recipe for success, so it would be interesting to know how well this and other laydowns
    fared.
    Thanks for your interesting contribution.
     
  5. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,707

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Roadsters running dirt wasn't really that uncommon. In 1956 Johnny Boyd ran several dirt races with several top ten finishes. At Phoenix that year he started on the outside pole and led quite a few laps, ending up finishing 6th in the BSF roadster.

    1-rd-1.JPG 1-rd-2.JPG 1-rd-3.JPG 1-rd-4.JPG 1-rd-5.JPG
     
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  6. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 234

    blueprint2002

    Thanks Rootie!
    Specially like the #25 car sideways, and the tires they are all wearing.
    I guess that cylindrical device on the #51 car is an oil cooler?
     
  7. AmishMike
    Joined: Mar 27, 2014
    Posts: 377

    AmishMike
    Member

    Wish all dirt cars like world outlaw would lose the wings & run those hard narrow tires. Might be fun to watch again - & find out who can drive. Hell, wish all race cars - NASCAR, Indy, & F1 would lose the wings & run hard narrow tires
     
    quick85 likes this.
  8. 29AVEE8
    Joined: Jun 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,384

    29AVEE8
    Member

    Rootie.
    Interesting shots of Roadsters on dirt. I believe the #25 Watson is the '56 Indy winner, Yes? Must be '57 but where, Jud Larson? I never knew that car ran on dirt. I know that Bignotti and Johnny Boyd ran that Bowes KK500G on dirt several times. And last, the #69 appears to be the ex Agajanian '56-'57 Kuzma that was bought by Bob Sorensen in '58. Where is that and who is in the cockpit? Thanks, Mike.
     
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  9. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,707

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    That's Jimmy Reece in the Zink 25 at the Hoosier 100 1957. Larson was in the Zink upright that day. I believe Reece finished in the top 10. Yes that is the Sorenson 69 with Norm Hall up at Sacto 1960 but was a DNQ.
     
    Speedwrench likes this.
  10. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 234

    blueprint2002

    Not sure where I found these; can anyone identify them? Thanks.

    gettyimages-150189297-612x612.jpg watts.jpg
     
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  11. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,707

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    The first pic is Ray Nichels working on Pat O'Connor's Ansted Rotary Spl. 1955

    1x-30-y.JPG


    The second pic is of the Bill Akin restored Lindsey Hopkins Epperly laydown.

    Capture resto-1.JPG
     
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  12. Speedwrench
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,003

    Speedwrench
    Member

    I'm going to throw this one out to see if anyone knows.

    What was the fate of the Epperly laydown that was the Bryant Heating and Cooling / Hoover Motor Express Special ? I,m not sure who all drove it, but Bobbie Marshman was in the seat for Bryant and Don Branson and Eddie Sachs drove it under the Hoover colors. I hope it found a good caretaker to restore it to it's as-raced glory. I always thought it was one of the most beautiful roadsters to hit the Speedway.

    Also, any idea who owned it in its active days? It seemed like some sort of package deal from the sponsor point of view ; you got the car, Joe Langely as head wrench and Billy Earl doing whatever.

    Thanks in advance for whatever information is out there.
     
  13. When I was a kid I used to listen to the Indy 500 on my pocket-sized transistor radio and try to imagine what it was like to be there. They didn't televise the race back then. It would still be a thrill to see one of those races run with the roadsters. As far as the current Indy races go I wouldn't bother to go see one if it was free. I must be getting old.
     
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  14. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,707

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Akin found and restored that one also.

    Capture bryant-1.JPG Capture bryant-2.JPG Capture bryant-3.JPG
     
  15. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 234

    blueprint2002

    Many thanks Rootie. Will post a few more "mysteries" (to me) and hope you can find the time to help with those as well.
    That Epperly laydown is really radical, with the engine inclined to the left instead of the right. Seems there were at least two of them. Did they get any wins? Thanks
     
  16. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,707

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    No, in fact an Epperly built car only had one Champ car win and that was back in 1957 at Milwaukee with this car.

    Capture epperly 57.JPG
     
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  17. 29AVEE8
    Joined: Jun 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,384

    29AVEE8
    Member

    Looks like J. Rathman
     
  18. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 234

    blueprint2002

    Laydown all right. Year? Builder? ae9d9c99c58684b4261163e7741402d7--indy-cars-roadster.jpg
    Not a roadster I think. Looks like an upright with IFS. ID anyone?
    d1fc44129f8f2b6bfa17659363383e37.jpg
    Thanks
     
  19. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 234

    blueprint2002

    No response there, so I'll try another.
    hoyt 55 a.JPG
    I am not certain, but I think this car qualified on pole at Indy in 1955. It is somewhat unusual in that the driveline is offset to the left like a roadster, but it’s narrow and fairly tall, like an upright. Also the front suspension is with a transverse leaf spring, not torsion bars. Who was the builder, and in which year was it built? Any wins?
     
  20. RidgeRunner
    Joined: Feb 9, 2007
    Posts: 800

    RidgeRunner
    Member
    from Western MA

    Could it have been "updated" earlier car when the photo was taken? Might be from the camera angle but looks like the steering wheel/driver seat position doesn't line up with the headrest/roll bar (such as they were in those days).

    Ed
     
  21. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,707

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Built by Myron Stevens I believe. It ran several years under different ownerships. In 1955 it did sit on the pole with Jerry Hoyt driving but that was kind of a fluke as due to bad weather he was the only one to attempt to qual. on pole day. It had a offset drive similar to a transfer case that you might find on a 4x4 truck.

    Capture mi a.JPG Capture mi b.JPG capture mi c.JPG
     
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  22. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 234

    blueprint2002

    Thanks guys! So many interesting variations in the cars those days.
     
  23. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,707

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Kurtis Kraft 1000 chassis an example of which won Indy 1950.

    Capture kk-1.JPG
     
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  24. sdluck
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,204

    sdluck
    Member

    Dead perch
     
  25. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,196

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    sd
    I bet 99 out of 100 people would miss that!
    Ok, 98.
     
  26. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 234

    blueprint2002

    Thanks Rootie. Notice the tread on those tyres was symmetrical, not biased to the right.
    Wonder why Kurtis abandoned the IFS, then tried again a few years later.
     
  27. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 234

    blueprint2002

    Have been thinking about it some more, and maybe it’s beginning to make sense. The centreline headrest certainly indicates that this was originally just a straightforward upright, and the front suspension shows it was an older car.
    To keep it competitive, without drastically altering the frame, they moved the engine left as far as it would go, and tilted it to the right to keep it within the existing bodywork. Then they shifted the steering and the seat right as far as possible, but that was not enough to bring the seat down alongside the propshaft. That was achieved by the transfer box which took the shaft farther left.
    With all this they achieved a lower seat height, as in a roadster, while still keeping the narrow body and low frontal area of the upright. A small weight bias to the left may also have been the result.
    Sound possible?
     
  28. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,707

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Just my opinion but back in the 50s the vast majority of tracks on the Champ car circuit were dirt tracks and I believe straight axle cars, for the most part, work better on the dirt. With a few exceptions most teams were single car teams and that is what Kurtis's customer base was so that is what he catered to.
    I really don't know the full history of the Robbins car but I agree that it does appear to have originally been a centered drive car modified to have more left side weight bias and a lower c/g at some point.
     
    Speedwrench likes this.
  29. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 234

    blueprint2002

    Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Results would decide which way to go.
     
  30. indianapolisracer
    Joined: Feb 9, 2011
    Posts: 135

    indianapolisracer
    Member

    I saw this car in the 80s in Buck Boudeman's chicken shed race car storage facility when I purchased the 1932 Martz Spl from him . It still retained the maroon paint from 1955 and was excellent unrestored condition . I wanted to buy it but his asking price was more than I could afford .Somebody did acquire the car and did a total restoration , today I doubt the car would have been touched it was that nice !
     

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