Classic Cars' Museum: Class W Indianapolis 500 Centennial Celebration

Concours d'Elegance 2010: Class W Indianapolis 500 Centennial Celebration

1934 Rigling & Henning

1934 Rigling & Henning "Wonder Bread Special"
This famous Indianapolis racer was built by Herman Rigling and Cotton Henning at their Indianapolis workshop in 1931. It originally had a Clemons engine and ran at Indy in 1932. Renamed the Wonder Bread Special for 1933 and fitted with an 8-cylinder Duesenberg A engine. It was driven by George Barringer with Earl Allen as his riding mechanic. The car was painted with these colorful balloons in tribute to the first hot-air balloon event held at Indy prior to the first race in 1909. The Wonder Bread Company had been founded in Indianapolis in 1921. The car ran at the Brickyear every year until 1937.

1965 Lotus 38

1965 Lotus 38 "powered by Ford"
The Lotus team's first victory at a US circuit was at the US Grand Prix in 1961. Thereafter, Lotus owner Colin Chapman set his sights on winning at Indianapolis. He entered his first rear-engined Lotus in 1963 when Jim Clark drove the Ford-powered Lotus 29 to an amazing second place. The front engined body took notice. In 1964 the much revised Lotus 34 with new Ford V8 appeared at the Brickyard but due to tire wear the suspension collapsed and the team withdrew its cars. No expense was spared at Lotus for the 1965 evolution of their Indy racer, the Lotus 38. Its design was sleeker than the previous cars and the chassis was slightly modified. Jim Clark once again dominated the race in this Lotus 38/1 against a grid of mixed front- and rear-engined cars. It was a fistoric victory; the first for a mid-engined car, the first for a British car and the first for a Ford engine.

1920 Peugeot 3 Litre

1920 Peugeot 3 Litre
Peugeot's racing achievements from 1912 onwards were largely due to the development of twin-overhead camshaft engines for their competition cars. In 1920 Peugeot went one step further and Marcel Gremillion designed the original engine for this car, a 3-litre, triple-overhead-cam unit. Three cars were entered for the Indianapolis 500 that year but sadly they all retured. The triple-overhead-cam units reverted back to the twin-overhead-cam design for the following year, and this car was entered again and French driver Jean Chassagne was designated to drive it. Again it retired and returning to France, Peugeot kept the car at the Montlhery circuit south of Paris. It is said that just as France was invaded in 1939 the car was driven at full speed ahead of the advancing forces and ended up in Bordeaux, where it stayed in a museum. This is unique racing car that helped to formulate the now common twin-overhead-cam engine found in many modern cars.

1963 Watson

1963 Watson "Racing Associates Special"
This Indianapolis Roadster is one of eight built by A.J. Waton for the 1963 season. Watson made a total of 23 race cars during his career and this is number 21. It was entered for the 500 by Ebb Porter in 1963, but it didn't make the cut. Better qualifying times for 1964 meant the car was driven by Johnny Rutherford in its first Indy 500. Bad luch saw the car bumped once again in 1965 but it returned for a last appearance in 1966 with a new Turbo Offenhauser engine. This was not only its last time at the Brickyard but also the last time an old-fashioned Roadster would appear; 1966 was the year of the rear engine revolution. Throughout its Indy career it was owned and prepared by Racing Associates. After some modified USAC racing it was acquired by its present owner in 2008 and returned to its debut livery.

1961 Cooper T54

1961 Cooper T54 "Kimberly Cooper-Climax Special"
Sir Jack Brabham won two World Championships in 1959 and 1960 at the wheel of the little rear-engined 2.5-liter Cooper Formula 1 cars, nut Brabham had the biggest influence on the racing community in the United States when he entered this Kinberly Cooper Special in the 1961 Indianapolis 500. After testing a Cooper at Indy in 1960, Brabham finished ninth in the 1961 race. It was the first time that a rear-engined car had ever raced in the Indy 500, and it started the move to rear-engined designs that eventually lead to the end of front-engined race cars. The Cooper Car Company was founded in England in 1947 by Charles and John Cooper, and in the late 1950s and early 1960s it enjoyed considerable success with its rear-engined single-seat race cars. In addition to Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss and Bruce McLaren also drove Cooper race cars.

1953 Kurtis Kraft KK 500B

1953 Kurtis Kraft KK 500B "Bardahl Special"
For the Indianapolis 500 in 1948 and 1949, Pat Clancy of Memphis, Tennessee entered a six-wheeled roadster. He later turned to designer Frank Kurtis who designed and built this Kurtis Kraft 500 KK car in 1953, which was driven by Jimmy Davies as the "Pat Clancy Special" at Indianapolis in the Indianapolis 500 in 1954, finishing in 10th place. In 1955, the car was sponsored by the Bardahl Oil Company, and it finished in 3rd place again driven by Jimmy Davies at an average speed of 126.299 mph. Its last appearance at the Brickyard was in 1956 driven by Al Herman. After a 74th lap crash, the car was out and its racing days were over. Presented here in its Bardahl colors, this car has been shown many times during the Indianapolis 500 race.

1972 McLaren

1972 McLaren "Sunoco Special"
Founded in 1963 by race car driver Bruce McLaren, McLaren cars raced at Indianapolis from 1970 to 1982 and won three times. McLaren has been involved in all forms of the motorsport including Formula 1, Can Am and Indy and is currently battling for the lead in the 2010 Formula I World Cahmpionship. This blue and yellow liveried car is the McLaren M16B that was driven by Mark Donahue at Indianapolis in 1972. Develpoed from the previous year's M16A, which dominated the opposition, the M16B was campaigned by both the McLaren team and the Roger Penske team that was sponsored by Sunoco that year. Donohue drove the Offenhauser-powered McLaren M16B around the famed Indianapolis Brickyard at an average speed of 162.962 mph to take the first of the three McLaren Indy 500 wins.

1961 Watson

1961 Watson "Bowes Seal Fast Special"
This race car won the 1961 Golden Anniversary 500 and it carried A.J. Foyt Jr. of Houston, Texas, to his first Indianapolis 500 victory. Foyt was named the USAC National Champion for the 1960 season and thus carried the Number 1 on this race car. Jim Hurtubise, Eddie Sachs and Parnelli Jones battled for the early race lead, but it was primary Foyt and Sachs past the midway mark. Foyt was forced to make an unscheduled fuel stop on lap 184 due to a malfunction in the fueling equipment on his previous pit stop. Sachs was then apparent winner, but with three laps to go, he had to pit for a tire change and Foyt flashed by to win. The car has a 4-cylinder offenhauser, normally aspirated engine displacing 251 cubic inches. It reached race speeds of over 139 mph.

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