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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: 223

    blueprint2002

    Yes, that makes sense. In motorcycle engines with similar springs, they were out in the open, as it was not easy to accommodate them within the covers. Also kept them cooler.
    60manx.jpg
     
  2. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Thanks guys. Amazing response.
     
  3. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Something I've been meaning to ask you guys about.
    During the 50s and maybe into the 60s, HRM featured a whole lot (100s?) of superb cutaway drawings of roadsters/lakesters/streamliners etc., many of them by Rex Burnett.
    But such drawings of Indy cars seem to be few and far between, at least until the "rear-engine invasion" of the mid-60s. In fact, I have found only two:
    49 kurtis kk3000.jpg
    No signature, but the style appears to be that of Rex Burnett.
    59-60 kurtis kk500f novi.jpg
    Again no signature, could be by Bob Thatcher.
    During the same period, many road racing cars such as the Scarabs were also drawn by Thatcher and by CO La Tourette, but I can't find any more Indy cars.
    Anyone know of any more? Look forward to seeing some, if there are any.
    Thanks.
     
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  4. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Another long shot. The Jack Adams gas turbine car of 1966, which appears to be based on a Salih/Epperly laydown of 1957/58, possibly done in a hurry as not all the work is so beautifully executed as was usual with Indy cars. Turbine exhaust on both sides aimed slightly outside the rear tyres, still couldn’t have done them much good at racing speeds. And probably very unpopular with the drivers of the other cars. Unusual hand lever on the right side may have something to do with the brakes:
    66 adams airplane spl.jpg
    66 adams spl-2.jpg

    Anyone have more detailed pics of this car? Description? Spec sheet? Thanks
     
  5. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,554

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Capture turb-2.JPG Capture turb-3.JPG Capture turb-4.JPG Capture turb-5.JPG
     
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  6. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    1) Many thanks Rootie for those great never-before-seen pics of the Jack Adams special with the bodywork off.
    Interesting to compare the tyres on the car in 66 with what they were in 57-58. At least twice the width, and no tread pattern at all.
    That gas turbine I understand was a General Electric LM100, but so far have seen no figures for it’s power output.
    Who is the dude, in the cockpit, with shades and hat?
     
  7. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,249

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    Wasn't the Jack Adams car formerly Norm Demler's?
     
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  8. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,554

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Looks a lot like Sam Sessions. Bill Cheesbourg was the listed driver but Sessions may have had a go at it.
     
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  9. Speedwrench
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 981

    Speedwrench
    Member

    Possibly Al Smith.
     
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  10. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Any idea who did the rebuild of the car, with the gas turbine?
    What sort of lap speed did it manage in practice? Thanks
     
  11. skot71
    Joined: Oct 30, 2010
    Posts: 147

    skot71
    Member

    The Adams car was the Demler car. One distinguishing feature is the unique tailfin with the Cadillac shape cut in it.
     
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  12. s55mercury66
    Joined: Jul 6, 2009
    Posts: 3,249

    s55mercury66
    Member
    from SW Wyoming

    I have always thought that Adams himself installed the turbine in that car, and that he was heavily involved with aircraft, whose construction techniques are pretty much parallel with space framed race cars, less wings and suspension ;)
     
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  13. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,554

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    I suspect it could go pretty fast, but the big problem with turbine cars is the lack of compression braking. If the brakes/chassis wasn't up to the job the driver had to start slowing it up way early thereby giving up the speed advantage.
     
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  14. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Thanks guys. Every little bit helps make the picture clearer. Over 50 years on.
     
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  15. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    This view of the 1961 Chenowth Chevy shows clearly how spacious the engine bay of the roadster was. Quite a lot of additional equipment could fit in there, if needed:
    61 chenowth chev-5.jpg

    So it is difficult to understand why the original Mallards had the exhaust header, turbocharger and blow-off valve hanging out in the breeze. More so as the car is not a “standard” roadster, so things could be arranged as the designer chose:
    68 mallard offy-1.jpg

    And the later version must have had even more drag, with the induction manifold and what looks like an intercooler sitting on top, in the airstream:
    72 Mallard offy-2.jpg

    Were they smaller and more compact than the usual roadsters?
     
  16. Speedwrench
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 981

    Speedwrench
    Member

    I can think of several reasons the turbo was positioned as it was.

    1 : It keeps the turbo closer to the header exit so the exhaust gases have less chance to cool. The hotter the gases, the more efficient the turbo is. It also cuts down on the complication of the exhaust system and there's no massive heat source under the hood to transfer heat to the fuel system or cockpit.

    2 : It might have been done to enhance left side weight bias, Although I'm not sure that was as much of a consideration as it later became to be.

    3 : The placement of the turbo probably was not much of a detriment to the aerodynamics, being tucked in behind the left front and the tire acting as a wind deflector. Also, as with most open wheel cars, the tires are the main spoiler of air flow over and around the car since they have the aerodynamics of a concrete block.

    Any reasoning beyond that you would have to ask Herk or Pete.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
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  17. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,554

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Looks as if a intercooler took up a lot of space

    Capture herk-1.JPG
     
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  18. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Thanks guys, that accounts for it, I guess.
     
  19. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    python.jpg
    Smokey Yunick’s “Python” of 62-63 (Simoniz Special). Just about the most radical roadster of all. Chassis and upright engine offset to the left were fairly standard roadster, but fuel tank in a left side pannier was not.
    Independent suspension all around, arranged to cause the car to bank inwards on the turns: how this was achieved is fairly apparent at the rear, where the upper wishbones are unusually long and steeply angled so that their inboard ends are well below those of the lower wishbones, and nearer the car centreline. Looks like simple geometry does the trick. Not so apparent at the front, where the wishbone geometry appears fairly conventional as IFS systems go.
    Some unusual features of the chassis mounts, for the upper wishbones and for the coil/shocks, may hold the secret here?
    Whatever the method, banking the car inwards is exactly opposite to the natural tendency, and can only be achieved by overcoming the weight transfer, thus generating unusually high forces at some points in the suspension and the chassis?
    Did it work as intended? Were the drivers able to adapt to this unusual behaviour?
     
  20. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,554

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    To slow in 62 and then put itself out of its misery running into the wall at high speed in 63. Lots of whizz-bang, whirly gig stuff to see but in the end it ended up in the scrap dumpster. His only real success at Indy came when he was wrenching on a Watson type roadster which was about as simple as dirt. Sometimes the KISS principle really does apply best to the situation.


    Capture p-a.JPG Capture p-b.JPG Capture p-2.JPG Capture p-3.JPG Capture p-4.JPG Capture p-5.JPG Capture p-6.JPG
     
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  21. johnneilson
    Joined: Apr 12, 2011
    Posts: 906

    johnneilson
    Member

    Incredible pics, Smokey was ingenious no doubt.
    It looks like both pics depict attempts at different approaches. What looks strange to me is that I would guess the right rear upright would be fixed to the housing and the left to float (in and out). Otherwise the bind in the mechanical movement would induce an uncontrolled rising spring rate.
    Keep this info coming, it is great to see, John
     
  22. rooman
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,458

    rooman
    Member

    The third member is fixed and the driveshafts appear to have splined "plunge" connections just outboard of the inner U joint as evidenced by the reduction in diameter (just inboard of the frame rail)

    Roo
     
  23. johnneilson
    Joined: Apr 12, 2011
    Posts: 906

    johnneilson
    Member

    Roo,
    Yup, I see what you are saying, my bad. I knew something didn't look right to me.
    J
     
  24. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Thanks Rootie, yet again, for the most stunning pictures I have seen of this car. Comparing them shows some of the very different arrangements they tried, so much a part of any innovative/experimental work. Which also seems to show that Smokey and his crew were not easily discouraged, as they sought to find ways of overcoming whatever difficulties they faced.
    No denying the connection between the KISS principle and success, but how boring it would have been if it had not been for the stream of ideas that showed up every year at Indy, during this period and in fact well into the eighties!
     
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  25. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    A rather hazy, just-about-readable copy of the Indy displacement-weight table of 1942:
    1942 AAA wt sheet.jpg
    Anyone have any better?
    Since the formula did not change when racing resumed after WW2, this table presumably remained in force at least until displacement was reduced in 1956(?).
    And a new table then came into effect, even though by that time almost everyone chose the maximum allowable displacement?
    Was there a time when the table was finally dropped, and a simple minimum weight limit took its place?
     
  26. AChopped1950ford
    Joined: Sep 5, 2018
    Posts: 84

    AChopped1950ford
    Member

    A_M_R_A__Member_jpg-100655-500x500.jpg ..............Any A.M.R.A. members / car owners on this site , or fans of A.M.R.A. ?
     
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  27. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    63 kurtis kk500l -0.jpg
    The only contemporary picture I am able to find of a Kurtis KK500L, possibly the last roadster built by Frank Kurtis? It does not seem to figure in any Indy 500 results, so presumably DNQ.
    Some recent pictures of the car (as restored?) seem to show independent suspension front and rear, perhaps an attempt to keep competitive with the threatening rear-engine cars? Externally at least, no other apparent changes from earlier roadsters: upright engine offset to the left, fuel tank at the back, no reduction of frontal area, aerodynamically similar to KK500H and J (was there a KK500I?).
     
  28. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,554

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Capture kk-1.JPG Capture kk-2.JPG Capture kk-3.JPG Capture kk-4.JPG Capture kk-5.JPG Capture kk-6.JPG Capture kk-7.JPG Capture kk-8.JPG Capture kk-9.JPG
     
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  29. blueprint2002
    Joined: Dec 25, 2018
    Posts: 223

    blueprint2002

    Thanks Rootie for another set of amazing historic pictures, clearly showing so much detail.
    Independent suspension all round, fairly similar to various road racing cars of that era, though with typical Indy torsion bars. No apparent offset to the suspension, though it is difficult to be certain.
    Good to see the safety belts and the full roll cage (even if ugly): driver safety at last being attended to!
    In the fifth and sixth pictures, there is some device just ahead of the jack, and to the left. It seems to have two pipe connections: what could it be?
    Was there only this one car of this type?
    Thanks again.
     
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  30. deucemac
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 923

    deucemac
    Member

    If my memory is correct, Ed Hite's book on Kurtis speaks directly about this car. The car was built for Junior Johnson to drive. The car owner insisted on a distributor ignition instead of a mag. Frank Kurtis talked until he was blue in the face, trying to convince him to change his mind about that ignition but to no avail. The combination of owner, ignition , roll cage, and Junior's reluctance about the car all added into Kurtis' decision to end the Indy car business.
     
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