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Will the Real color of "Marmon Wasp" Please step forward!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by zoomalot48, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. zoomalot48
    Joined: Jan 24, 2012
    Posts: 3


    Have recently started model of 1911 Indy Winner. After getting opinions from almost everybody on what color "Pale orange" is, the decription by Ray Harroun himself, whats the HAMB got for me? Does a "real car painter" hold the key to this thing?
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  2. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

    I'd call Corky Coker at Coker tires...he built an exact replica of the car. He painted his yellow, which I believe was the original color.
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  3. 1989-1990

    The Marmon Wasp Gets A Makeover

    I recently came across some photos I thought you all would find of interest.

    They were taken by my old man, presumably for a free-lance piece he was going to write. I don't think he ever finished it or had it published.

    Think of this post as me tying up some of my dad's loose ends.

    He took these photos back in the winter of 1989-1990 at the IMS restoration facility near the Goodyear barn off of 16th Street.


    AJ Fairbairn gives the Wasp a look-see.
    AJ, left, and Wilhelm "Bill" Spoerle, right, give the Marmon's valves a good seeing to.

    AJ, Bill Spoerle, and Barney Wimmer, take a break from the Wasp and give an old Duesenberg some attention.

    The Duesy is done! (IMS Photo by Steve Ellis)

    The Marmon Wasp's powerplant, six cylinder 447 cubic inch displacement.

    AJ Fairbairn works on the front end of the Marmon's powerplant. Note the convenient starter crank!

    Did they call it a tub back in 1911?

    No power steering back in 1911, apparently. Check out the massive gears in the steering system!

    "Strong arm it," as my dad would say!
    A little intardnet Googling tells me Barney Wimmer died in December of 2000.

    Mr. Wimmer worked more than 35 years restoring racing cars and antique passenger automobiles for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation Hall of Fame Museum.
    While in the employ of IMS Barney assisted in the restoration of over 27 antique automobiles.
    Previously he was Chief Mechanic for Elmer and Mari Hulman George.
    As a racing mechanic Wimmer won four national auto races. His highest placed car in the Indy 500 was third in 1955 with Jimmy Davies driving.
    Wimmer started his racing career after World War II when he worked for legendary car owner and driver Jimmy Wilburn for four years.
    He was an elected member of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Museum of Knoxville, Iowa, the Winchester Speedway Oldtimers, and the Indianapolis 500 Shrine Club of the Murat Temple, Scottish Rite.
    He was an honorary life member of the Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Club.

    I couldn't find much on Bill Spoerle, except that he is an IMS Chief restorian, and owns, or owned, historic race cars, like the 1955 John Zink Special, and the 1962 Harvey Aluminum Special.
    There are pictures of him at the track, taken in 2006, waving the green flag during the second day of ROP.
    Finally, I could find nothing on AJ Fairbairn.
    My dad's notes are kinda hard to read. If anybody can shed some light (and correct spellings), I'll fix things.

    All photos by Rick Johnson.
  4. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,718

    from Tampa, FL

    Contact Coker, as already mentioned. I'm sure they have the exact paint code for the reproduction, as I doubt they had any problems getting any help they needed from the IMS museum on their clone build. Gary
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  5. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 4,586

    from Ks

    And here I thought it was Maroon. Lippy
  6. From: Open Wheel Racing Modeling
    [SIZE=-1]« Marmon Wasp plans? »[/SIZE]

    OH, and by the way, the June 1965 Rod & Custom magazine article is very cool, they make their model out of paper and even have the layouts printed and build it off the Lincoln frame and running gear. Interesting too in that they chose to paint it Rust Orange with White outlines around the numbers, and gray tires! Yes there is a color shot of the finished model.

    I believe that if you read page two of the "Paper Wasp" plans from Rod & Custom where they would have been able to talk with Ray Harroun back in 1965 and they state that in his memory the car was panted a "dark orange" and that the wasp name was due to the shape of the tail.

    There are several items that make me question the authenticity of the restoration at the IMS museum one being both the size and difference in font style of the numbers on the grill and body (black with white trim on the body and black with body color trim on the grill), another the under engine tray/pan that was not in use at the time of the race, and the continued use of black tires where the original were unquestionably white. Note too that there was an odd arrangement of cutouts around the wheel mounting lugs on the front wheel filler disk and possibly the rims were body color as well.







  7. For a model I would suggest using 1-Shot Chrome Yellow as a close equivalent.
  8. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 10,718

    from Tampa, FL

    As Dick Martin so often said, "I didn't know that." Super nice stuff to know, looking back, that even IMS does / might have it wrong.

    I wonder why this article wasn't in R&C Models magazine? Did they stop it by then? I was an avid reader of the Models rag and don't remembe seeing it. Gary
  9. This will confuse the issue even more:

    Excerps from the book "The Marmon Heritage" chapter 8 Marmon - International Champion pages 324 and 325 authored by George and Stacey Hanley:

    The excitement of the race was recorded in a booklet published by Nordyke and Marmon immediately following the race. It was entitled "International Champion".

    Three hundred miles...and the rakish yellow-bodied "wasp" has flashed into the lead.
  10. Just a thought.

    Federal Standard No. 595a, Color 13432

    School bus yellow is a color which was especially formulated for use on school buses in North America in 1939. In April of that year, Dr. Frank W. Cyr, a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York organized a conference that established national school-bus construction standards for the U.S., including the standard color of yellow. The color is now officially known in Canada and the U.S. as National School Bus Glossy Yellow and was originally called National School Bus Chrome. The pigment used for this color was, for a long time, the lead-containing chrome yellow. The color was adopted by the National Bureau of Standards (Now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) as Federal Standard No. 595a, Color 13432. Source
  11. [​IMG]

    LifeColor Chrome Yellow (22ml) FS 13432

    FS 13432
    Humbrol 188
    Testor 2717
  12. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,585

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    It's extremely doubtful that the true color can ever be determined. At what point in the car's life did the Speedway acquire it? What condition was it in? What, if any, restoration efforts were already in place? Was Haroun's "pale orange" another man's "dark yellow"?
  13. Normbc9
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,123


    Here s a successor to that engine. A '31 V-16 with 330 HP. Unheard of at that time.

    Attached Files:

  14. Well while I was going to say yellow orange (look in your crayola box) seeing the pic (and knowing a little bit about the spectrum a must if you are challenged) I am going to say red orange (again look in your crayola box)
  15. Home video footage of the 1961 Indianapolis 500, won by AJ Foyt. The video was originally shot on 8 mm. Highlights include, pre-race ceremonies, Ray Harroun driving the Marmon Wasp as celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first 500, along with the start of the race and the end of the race celebration lap with AJ Foyt and the pace car. There is no sound obviously. but this is a rare never before seen video. Enjoy!

    This is years prior to IMS Museum restoration.

    Checkout the 2:18 time on the film for color still although it is quite blurry.

    After the 1911 500 Mile Race win Marmon and Harroun did take the car to some exhibition races (on dirt tracks) but after that the car was basically parked in the Marmon factory in Indianapolis. Marmon quit building cars in about 1933 (I believe) with the onset of the Depression but was soon reinvented as a military all wheel drive systems company due to the addition of British born Colonel Arthur W.S. Herrington to the company. Herrington brought financial backing as well and the name of the firm was changed to Marmon-Herrington at that point.

    During all of these years the Wasp stayed with the company with the car being brought out at various times still in running condition. There are actually color films of the car at the Indianapolis 500 as early as 1937. And the car also appears in the 1946 Firestone film "Crucible of Speed" with Ray Harroun sitting in the car being interviewed. During these years there was block lettering down the sides of the car proclaiming something to the effect that it was the first Indianapolis champion.

    At some point in the middle 1950s Tony Hulman approached Herrington about acquiring the Wasp for inclusion into the new IMS museum he was planning. I'm not sure whether the car was purchased or donated but it was at this point that the car became the property of the Speedway. Old racer Karl Kizer was the first curator of the new museum and he oversaw the restoration of the car. When it came to the exact shade of yellow to use Ray Harroun himself was called in and the car is still painted today in the color that Harroun remembered.

    As someone here at RacingHistory previously noted the films of the Wasp being driven at the Golden Anniversary 500 in 1961 show plenty of oil being burned as the car is run. It turns out that the engine was rebuilt (somewhere in the late 1970s or early 1980s...I can't remember for sure) by Bill Spoerle of the IMS museum. He had driven the car himself and didn't like the oil film and smoke blowing everywhere so he added an oil control ring to the pistons to make it cleaner to run during exhibitions at the Speedway. Here's the link to an article about Spoerle where he mentions adding the oil ring.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  16. ScottV
    Joined: Jul 18, 2009
    Posts: 818


    You could just paint it flat black with shiny red wheels :p

    Little known fact is that Ray Harroun is credited with the first use of a rear view mirror in a race car and he got the idea from German WW I fighter pilots. There are some of his relatives that live here in the Omaha area.
  17. From Wikipedia

    The rear-view mirror's earliest known use and mention is by Dorothy Levitt in her 1906 book The Woman and the Car which noted that women should "carry a little hand-mirror in a convenient place when driving" so they may "hold the mirror aloft from time to time in order to see behind while driving in traffic", thereby inventing the rear view mirror before it was introduced by manufacturers in 1914.<SUP id=cite_ref-0 class=reference>[1]</SUP> The earliest known rear-view mirror mounted on a motor vehicle appeared in Ray Harroun's Marmon racecar at the inaugural Indianapolis 500 race in 1911.<SUP id=cite_ref-1 class=reference>[2]</SUP> Although Harroun's is the first known use of such a mirror on a motor vehicle, Harroun himself claimed he got the idea from seeing a mirror used for the same purpose on a horse-drawn vehicle in 1904.<SUP id=cite_ref-2 class=reference>[3]</SUP> Harroun also claimed that the mirror vibrated constantly due to the rough brick surface, rendering it largely useless.
    Elmer Berger is usually credited with inventing the rear-view mirror, though in fact he was the first to develop it for incorporation into production streetgoing automobiles
  18. davidvstory
    Joined: Mar 15, 2013
    Posts: 1


    I was wondering if you might be of help? I am working on a I am doing a sketchbook of the first 30 years of the Indy 500. It is a combination of artwork and information on each car and/or driver. (I am a retired homebuilder and with of all things an art education and a penchant for cars)

    I am looking for fans that might know interesting stories or information from the early days of the race. ( for some reason these cars and their drivers hold a great fascination for me).

    If you might have some interest I can send you a couple of sketches to let you see what I am doing.

    Dave Story
    Inkom, Idaho

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