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Features VINTAGE SPRINT CAR PIC THREAD, 1965 and older only please.

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Joshua Shaw, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. indyrjc
    Joined: Nov 8, 2008
    Posts: 897

    indyrjc
    Member
    from Indiana

    I believe that 1960 was the last year that cars at Indianapolis were required to have a reverse gear. The brake test went on for several more years with officials making someone (usually a crew member) prove that the car had brakes by either having the car pushed a few yards or sometimes even having to restart the engine and move forward after a qualifying run.
     
  2. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,126

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

  3. 29AVEE8
    Joined: Jun 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,384

    29AVEE8
    Member

    If you were to say that I am a sucker for the lost cause, or one who roots for those who come from a less than advantaged beginning and achieve success in their chosen field, well you would be correct. Case in point, a Champ Car built by Ray Nichels and Paul Russo in Paul’s basement in the winter of ’49-’50. The car would come to be known as “Basement Bessie”. Her first race was at The Speedway 1950, qualifying 19th and finishing 9th. Her second time out she finished second, her fourth race she won. Pretty respectable for a car that started out as chalk lines on a basement floor. She would compete in two 500’s with a best finish of 9th and a best start of 4th. She would race until 1965 with 4 wins. This is supposed to be a picture thread and not a documentary so heres some pics.

    The Speedway 1950.

    Basement_Bessie.jpg

    Bill Schindler qualified 2nd at Raleigh N.C. and led for awhile 1952.

    Basement_Bessie_2.jpg

    Still got a pretty nice behind for a gal in her 60's

    Basement_Bessie_1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  4. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,927

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Paul Russo, Ray Nichels and Ted Halibrand with Basement Bessie 1951. 4x-21-a bb.JPG
     
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  5. Jim Nise
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,144

    Jim Nise
    Member

    I don't think the 4th starting position listed is this same car. Johnny Thomson was the 4th starter, but that was Chapman's car. There is a noticeable difference with the tail shape. It is listed as a Nichels/Russo and may well be but it is not the car that Joe Barzda and Churchill Harden owned in my opinion, and pictured here. Just throwing that out there. Maybe Rootie can find a picture.

    jn
     
  6. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,927

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Though Champ Car Stats shows the 1954 Chapman Spl. that Thomson drove at Indy as the Russo-Nichels car it is a different car. 4-21-a.JPG
     
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  7. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,126

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

  8. 29AVEE8
    Joined: Jun 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,384

    29AVEE8
    Member

    Jim, Rootie.

    Thanks for the clarification. Kinda casts doubt on the rest of the cars history as I understood it.
     
  9. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,927

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Actually, looking at a time line of the Russo/Chapman/Harden car I think maybe the 1954 car may have been Basement Bessie rebodied. The change in the shape of the cockpit side panel and cowl is kind of the giveaway. Can't explaine the tail change though. bb-1.JPG bb-2.JPG bb-3.JPG bb-4.JPG
     
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  10. 29AVEE8
    Joined: Jun 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,384

    29AVEE8
    Member

    The plot thickens. This is the car that Ernie McCoy finished 8th with at The Speedway, 1953 definitely not "Basement Bessie". Guess she only made the 500 once.

    Ernie-McCoy-Chapman-Special-Stevens-IMS.jpg
     
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  11. 29AVEE8
    Joined: Jun 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,384

    29AVEE8
    Member

    I was thinking that the nose and starter tube as well as the hairpins and their mounts looked the same.
     
  12. Jim Nise
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,144

    Jim Nise
    Member

    The picture of the white chapman car is Williams Grove, 1957. Lots of strange things took place with cars back then, but I don't see the 1954 car being the 1957 car. I would say Nichols and russo built another frame, so the radius rods and pitman arms would match.
     
  13. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,927

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    The pic of Ernie McCoy 1953 is a Myron Stevens car.
    I'm pretty sure all the other pics are of the one and only Basement Bessie with various changes through the years. Here's a scan of a George Peters piece from back in the 80s on the car: img552.jpg
     
  14. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 770

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    Unlikely. If there were two cars, why would only one ever race? Cars were almost routinely rebodied when used for such a long time, mostly to repair crash damage. While it's unusual for such a radical change in appearance to occur, it is by no means strange, and a new tail piece is, in fact, not a big deal. Suspension parts and steering gear are much more reliable identifiers, and they match, so it has to be the same car. Also, you can see the curved hood side panels in the 1954 and all subsequent pictures, but not before. It's just one particular stage of the evolution of a racing car.
     
  15. 29AVEE8
    Joined: Jun 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,384

    29AVEE8
    Member

    Len Sutton spins to avoid the calamity in front of him including one of Jack Turners annual flips, mainstretch 1961.

    Sutton_Mainstretch_1961.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
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  16. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,126

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

  17. Jim Nise
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,144

    Jim Nise
    Member

    Why would the best body work just be seen in 1954?

    I went back through Wallen's fab 50's book looking for any pictures of the 54 car. Zip, nada.
     
  18. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,927

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Dick Rathmann, Reading 1956. 4x-23-b 56.jpg

    Rex Mays, Indy 1938 4x-23-mays 38.JPG
     
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  19. Jim Nise
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,144

    Jim Nise
    Member

    Chapman had a Kurtis2000 car. There is a picture of Bill Schindler in it (around page 199 wallen's book). It has the tail and windscreen of the 1954 #43. just about all the cars with paperclip radius rods have frame attach points in common locations. Harm's stats are good but not perfect. There were times in his stats that chapman had a #7 and a #17. Russo and Schindler up most times but many drivers sat in those seats. depending on the year the car(s) were numbered 7,17,5,43,... The 2 notable distinctions are the tail tank and wind screen.
     
  20. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,927

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    The Chapman Kurtis, 1951. 4x-23-a.JPG

    Another shot of the Chapman 43, 1954. 4x-23-aa.JPG
     
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  21. Jim Nise
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,144

    Jim Nise
    Member

    Thanks Rootie.

    There is so much more refined with the 43 than Basement Bessie, I can't agree they are the same car. Just my opinion.
     
  22. 29AVEE8
    Joined: Jun 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,384

    29AVEE8
    Member

    Tony B. NOVI 1957.

    Tony_B_1957.jpg
     
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  23. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,126

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

  24. 29AVEE8
    Joined: Jun 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,384

    29AVEE8
    Member

    Bud Winfield and Lou Meyer inspect their new creation, 1938.

    meyer 1938.jpg
     
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  25. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 770

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    I'm sorry, but are you saying the 1954 #43 is a Kurtis 2000 rather than Basement Bessie??? I'm lost for words...
     
  26. Jim Nise
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,144

    Jim Nise
    Member

    no, I'm saying it isn't basement bessie.
     
  27. re info from wallen's '50 s, only 1 car shows up. either russ/nichols or chapman. so, it does appear the 2 cars are the same. when CHAPMAN called russ/nich (dirt sometimes). would never have realized it was the same car, just re-bodied. WHY, don't know.
    not part of argument, but in 1958 became harden/barzda #33. 7-19-59 barzda involved in van johnson fatal @ grove. car still shows up thru 7-1-62 as #58.
    mlight9
     
  28. rooman
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,840

    rooman
    Member

    It is the same car in all four photos. It looks as if the tail changed back and forth at some stage as the second and third photos (#43 in both cases) show it with the "headrest" hump and without while all of the rest of the bodywork is substantially the same in both cases. Although the first photo does not show the hood sides and belly pan they are the same in the rest of the pix and the tail is the same in the first and third photos. The final photo is obviously from much later due to the wheel and tire configuration and it is back to the low tail as in the restored version. In all cases the radius rods, steering etc package match. The white #43 version has the flat tail from the first and last photos but the shaped cowl the same as in the photo from the Speedway. In all cases the fuel filler is offset to the left.

    Roo
     
  29. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 7,927

    Rootie Kazoootie
    Member
    from Colorado

    Jack McGrath 1951. 4x-25-a-mcgrath 51.JPG

    Tony Bonadies, Indy 56.
    4x-25-b- bonadies 1956.JPG 4x-25-c.JPG
     
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  30. Jim Nise
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,144

    Jim Nise
    Member

    Joe Barzda was in Pete wales car when he was involved with Van Johnson.
     

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