BMEWS
 
Sarah Palin's image already appears on the newer nickels.

calendar   Friday - May 27, 2005

40 YEARS AGO COME SUNDAY

image

INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com

In 1965, a rear-engined racer won the Indy 500 for the first time.

“There was nothing graceful about the way the old guard at Indianapolis accepted the revolution that occurred on the Championship Trail in the sixties.  Its members fought with the tenacity of true reactionaries to prolong the ten-year reign of the roadster, despite the obvious superiority of the new, lightweight, rear-engined European cars which began invading the Speedway in 1961.  The men of the old guard were inherently suspicious of change—unless they brought it about themselves.”

The Indy roadster was a unique front-engined machine developed after World War II.  It represented a refinement of the classic “sprint” car, the characteristic car of dirt tracks, and regular winners at Indy until 1953, when Bill Vukovich put a roadster into the winner’s circle, a car designed and built by the legendary Frank Kurtis.  Other designer-builders followed Kurtis’ lead, and in the late 1950’s, A.J. Watson came to the fore.  By the early 1960’s, his products were generally the cars to beat at Indy.  Veteran driver Rodger Ward claimed that there were none better, and many agreed with him.

”If you had had it in mind to win the 500 in 1960, you would have gone to A.J. Watson’s shop in Southern California and ordered a roadster chassis.  For $30,000 Watson would have built you a stout, tubular-framed car on a 96-inch wheelbase, with 18-inch rear wheels on a live rear axle and 16-inch wheels suspended on a solid axle at the front.  He would have slipped a 256-cubic-inch, four-cylinder, Hillborn fuel-injected Offenhauser engine into that long, broad nose, fitted a gas tank behind the driver, and rolled your car out into the light of day with a dry weight of around 1700 pounds.”

The burly, reliable Offenhauser burned alky instead of gasoline.  It was descended from the famous Harry Miller engines of the 1920’s, and had appeared during the Great Depression as an economical yet durable engine “for the masses.” Its design was stretched through numerous modifications over succeeding decades, giving it a competitive life at Indy exceeding four decades.  Its high torque made possible a car with only two speeds, characteristic of the Indy roadsters.

image

A.J. FOYT AND HIS WINNING 1964
WATSON-OFFENHAUSER ROADSTER
http://indy500.com

”The old-style Indy driver was born on lethal, pockmarked, rutted, dust-choked small-town dirt tracks.  He was baptized on tight, short, paved ovals where he rapidly learned that a mistake would bounce him off the wall and into the path of the oncoming pack.  Only if he could endure this apprenticeship and avoid Valhalla would he come to confirmation at the Speedway.  A man who hadn’t flipped a midget or put a sprinter through the fence on Saturday night was likely to be dismissed as ‘a sporty car driver.’ Any car that didn’t have a chassis made from scaffold poles and an engine that ran on 10 percent nitro was a ‘toy racer.’ It was as simple as that.

“It wasn’t an indefensible point of view.  No foreign driver had won the 500 since Italy’s Dario Resta did it for Peugeot in 1916.  No foreign car had even impressed at the Speedway since Wilbur Shaw won the 1940 race in an 8CTF Maserati.  During the fifties, Fangio and Ascari, the best drivers Europe had to offer, came to the Speedway and were easily rebuffed.  And in 1957 and ’58, a group of Indy vets took their fat, pearly roadsters to Italy for the Two Worlds Trophy races and challenged the top European grand-prix drivers on the banking at Monza.  The Americans, led by Jim Rathmann and Jimmy Bryan, broke the track record and buried the opposition….This was the context in which the invaders assaulted the old guard anew early in the sixties.  This time with devastating effect.”

English Grand Prix driver Jack Brabham, who had won two successive world driving championships, turned up at Indy in 1961 with a tiny rear-engined Cooper-Climax.  It did not have the power to match the roadsters on the straightaways, but it was much faster through the turns, and it completed the race, finishing ninth.  This raised many eyebrows in Gasoline Alley, but it was only the beginning.

In 1962, Dan Gurney, veteran Formula 1 driver, entered a rear-engined car built by master hot-rodder Mickey Thompson, who tried his hand at Indy on several occasions in the 1960’s.  Gurney did not finish the 1962 race, but he was hardly deterred.  Even a third or fourth place at Indy in those days would pay more than a whole season of successful racing in Europe.  So Gurney persuaded British designer Colin Chapman, of Lotus, that building a winning Indy car would be well worth the investment, and he connected Chapman with the Ford Motor Company, which was interested in getting back into racing as part of a new “youth marketing” campaign (to which, incidentally, we owe the Mustang).

While Ford was busy producing a 256-CID V-8 engine that would run on straight gasoline instead of alky, Chapman revamped his revolutionary Formula 1 Lotus monocoque chassis with a longer wheelbase and a left-side offset to run at the 1963 Indy 500.  His champion driver Jim Clark got one such car, Gurney got another, and a third was held in reserve.

They nearly pulled it off, too.  Clark finished a close second to Parnelli Jones, driving his well-known “Ol’ Calhoun,” a sturdy Watson roadster with the classic Offy engine.  The finish, however, was clouded by controversy over an oil leak from Jones’s car that allegedly caused Eddie Sachs, among others, to spin out.  Many felt that Jones should have been black-flagged, and the issue remains controversial to this day.

image

JIM CLARK IN HIS 1963 INDY LOTUS
http://indy500.com

In 1964, 12 of 33 starting cars were rear-engined, several of them built by A.J. Watson.  Eddie Sachs and Rodger Ward were among those who migrated to rear-engined machines, while A.J. Foyt, who had amply expressed his mistrust of the new “funny cars,” elected to remain with his front-engined roadster.  Parnelli Jones did likewise.

This was the race marred by the tragic, blazing crash of Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald in the early going, a crash that resulted in widespread safety reforms for cars and pit procedures as well.  Clark, back again in a Lotus, all but ran away with the race until forced out by tire problems, and veteran A.J. Foyt won in a Watson roadster, the last victory for a front-engined car.

In 1965, 27 of 33 starters drove rear-engined cars.  Foyt and Jones were in two such, but this time, there was no stopping Clark and his Lotus, who led the race almost the entire distance.  Parnelli Jones came second, two laps behind.

image
COLIN CHAPMAN AND JIM CLARK, 1965
http://indy500.com

The revolution was now half complete.  Some Indy drivers, such as Jones and Foyt, successfully adapted to the new rear-engined cars.  Others, however, could not, and they either fell back to dirt-tracking or retired.

In 1971, the revolution was over.  Rear-engined cars did not adapt to dirt tracks.  Young drivers coming up through the midget and sprint-car divisions of USAC found that advancement to Indy cars was no longer the logical thing that it had been for decades.  Thus, in 1971, dirt tracks were dropped from the USAC Championship Trail, and half a century of tradition vanished overnight.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:  Quotations are from Charles Fox, “The Great Cars and Drivers” (New York:  Grosset & Dunlap/Ridge Press/Madison Square, 1972).

For more information, visit these websites:

http://indy500.com

http://www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com


avatar

Posted by Tannenberg   United States  on 05/27/2005 at 11:03 AM   
Filed Under: • Miscellaneous •  
Comments (12) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  
Page 1 of 1 pages

Five Most Recent Trackbacks:

Once Again, The One And Only Post
(3 total trackbacks)
Tracked at diamond painting uk
The Glee alum's dark cheap diamond cheap diamond painting painting locks were styled stick straight and tucke diamond painting kits d behind her diamond painting kits ears diamond painting uk…
On: 03/20/21 10:12

Vietnam Homecoming
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at 广告专题配音 专业从事中文配音跟外文配音制造,北京名传天下配音公司
  专业从事中文配音和外文配音制作,北京名传天下配音公司   北京名传天下专业配音公司成破于2006年12月,是专业从事中 中文配音 文配音跟外文配音的音频制造公司,幻想飞腾配音网领 配音制作 有海内外优良专业配音职员已达500多位,可供给一流的外语配音,长年服务于国内中心级各大媒体、各省市电台电视台,能满意不同客户的各种需要。电话:010-83265555   北京名传天下专业配音公司…
On: 03/20/21 07:00

The Brownshirts: Partie Deux; These aare the Muscle We've Been Waiting For
(2 total trackbacks)
Tracked at 香港特首曾荫权和部分高管分别用步行或搭乘公共交通工具的方式上班
西安电加热油温机 香港盛吹“环保风” 专家指市民已从被动变主动 中新网9月29日 淮安导热油电加热炉 电 据香港中通社报道,9月29日晚由香港某环保团体举行的“无冷气夜”,吸引了5万名市民及超过60间企业承诺参加。这是香港最近环保活动不断升温过程中的大型活动之一。 进入九月,香港各界环保活动渐入高潮,层出不穷。特首高官与各界市民齐齐参与,是其中一个最大特色。…
On: 03/21/18 12:12

meaningless marching orders for a thousand travellers ... strife ahead ..
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at Casual Blog
[...] RTS. IF ANYTHING ON THIS WEBSITE IS CONSTRUED AS BEING CONTRARY TO THE LAWS APPL [...]
On: 07/17/17 04:28

a small explanation
(1 total trackbacks)
Tracked at yerba mate gourd
Find here top quality how to prepare yerba mate without a gourd that's available in addition at the best price. Get it now!
On: 07/09/17 03:07



DISCLAIMER
Allanspacer

THE SERVICES AND MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE ARE PROVIDED "AS IS" AND THE HOSTS OF THIS SITE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF SATISFACTORY QUALITY, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, WITH RESPECT TO THE SERVICE OR ANY MATERIALS.

Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.

THE INFORMATION AND OTHER CONTENTS OF THIS WEBSITE ARE DESIGNED TO COMPLY WITH THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THIS WEBSITE SHALL BE GOVERNED BY AND CONSTRUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND ALL PARTIES IRREVOCABLY SUBMIT TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE AMERICAN COURTS. IF ANYTHING ON THIS WEBSITE IS CONSTRUED AS BEING CONTRARY TO THE LAWS APPLICABLE IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY, THEN THIS WEBSITE IS NOT INTENDED TO BE ACCESSED BY PERSONS FROM THAT COUNTRY AND ANY PERSONS WHO ARE SUBJECT TO SUCH LAWS SHALL NOT BE ENTITLED TO USE OUR SERVICES UNLESS THEY CAN SATISFY US THAT SUCH USE WOULD BE LAWFUL.


Copyright © 2004-2015 Domain Owner



GNU Terry Pratchett


Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
free counters