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The Mickey Thompson 'Sears Allstate Special' cars of 1964


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#1 HistoricMustang

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 23:19

This may have been missed by some in the Indy thread and hopes are that someone will be able to provide information:


quote:
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Originally posted by TheStranger


Didn't Mickey also build a car in 1964? That car (the Sears Allstate Special) is more well known for being the last ride of Dave MacDonald.
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Hello all. Certainly did not want to start an additional thread so please let me ride this one.

Can anyone provide more information on the Mickey Thompson Sears Allstate Special cars from the 1964 Indy? Perhaps chassis drawings, etc.

Also, is the second car from the event (six total laps) driven by Eddie Johnson still with us?

One final thought.

Have read that these cars were infact designed to go the 500 miles without the need for additional fuel. Is this an accurate statement and if so was the tire technology in place to actually run the entire distance?

Henry

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#2 Gerr

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 01:12

According to the 1964 Clymer yearbook the Thompson cars were the '63s re-skinned. McDonald's was Carter's former ride.

Hot Rod, June 1963 has primo, bare and dressed chassis pix, some of which can be found on Thompson's web-site.

http://thompson-moto...com/indy63.html

R&T, June 1963 has a large Steve Swaga cut-way/ghost drawing and more pix.

Not sure about the answer to the fuel question, I'll check. Ditto on the Johnson car.

Re tires: Certainly the Firestone tires were long lasting in those days. Only McElreath in the Novi and Gurney changed tires in 1964. AFAIK only Lotus on Dunlop had planned to do tire stops. Thompson's cars were on Allstates.

#3 Scribe06

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 08:30

Henry,

Here is a link to a search for anything on Mickey Thompson here at TNF. You might have to do some sorting and shifting, but there is a bit about Thompson and his Indy cars in there.

Also, over at Trackforum on their nostalgia forum, the Mickey Thompson cars were the center of a discussion some time ago.

#4 Walter Zoomie

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 09:26

I have tons of pics of the pancake cars.

http://albums.photo....7376&p=60779329

http://albums.photo....1497&p=60754591

http://albums.photo....9498&p=60750049

http://albums.photo....9498&p=60750050

http://albums.photo....9498&p=60750051

http://albums.photo....9498&p=60750056

http://albums.photo....9498&p=60746601

http://albums.photo....9498&p=60746602

http://albums.photo....9795&p=60794067

http://albums.photo....0824&p=60811373

http://albums.photo....6044&p=60827948

http://albums.photo....6044&p=60827946

http://albums.photo....1180&p=62936867

http://albums.photo....1180&p=62936868

http://albums.photo....1180&p=62936869

#5 HistoricMustang

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 23:43

Have uncovered this quote concerning the MacDonald/Sachs accident.


My dad had a phone call about two months(?) after the RACE, from a person that said he either worked with Mickey, or, was a machanic @ Indy, (I don't know which), and saw the car and said they found a part that was broken in the "suspension" that was broken in the same place as another car of Mickey's that caused the car to crash during practice earler that month! ( I think it was the #84 car). That person would not leave his name and told daddy talk to and see if Mickey would say something to him, but, when dad called Mickey, dad said he got really upset and told him that nothing failed on the car that "they"? could find, and wanted to know WHO said it? We felt from his actions Mickey was hiding something But, daddy couldn't tell him because the person wouldn't say who he was, so, daddy tried all he could to find this person "or" someone else to back it up, but couldn't so, he said all we could is let it go, and maybe it would come out later!!! After Mickey's death, I was in hopes that this person would come out somehow- if he was still alive?, or, someone else that would have known about it would come forward and bring this out!


Does anyone have additional information on the accident that occured earlier in May involving the sister car (#84) to MacDonald's #83. Perhaps there was a parts failure on the MacDonald car as I have long believed.

Henry

#6 David M. Kane

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 00:27

Henry:

All I remember wa that it was Johnny Rutherford's maiiden Indy 500 and he said Dave McDonald came by him half on the grass on the back straight carrying a ton and he said to himself. "Whoa! I'll be seeing you soon!".

Walter those photos are amazing!

#7 FLB

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 00:46

David, Jack Brabham thought the same thing. There's a great quote in his bio (co-written by DCN) about how he thought that either MacDonald was going to run away with the race or kill himself. Black Jack decided discretion was the better part of valour and stayed away from MacDonald as much as he could... which ultimately likely saved his life, because he would have been caught in the middle of the inferno.

#8 Lotus23

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 01:51

Walter Zoomie's post: 2nd photo (ends in 4591) shows Dave sideways exiting T4.

Is it just me, or does the L front tire look skewed? I admit it's very hard to tell from that one shot...

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 03:05

Originally posted by FLB
David, Jack Brabham thought the same thing. There's a great quote in his bio (co-written by DCN) about how he thought that either MacDonald was going to run away with the race or kill himself. Black Jack decided discretion was the better part of valour and stayed away from MacDonald as much as he could... which ultimately likely saved his life, because he would have been caught in the middle of the inferno.


That's somewhat at odds with what Jack told me...

According to him, Masten Gregory saved his life. "Masten came to me after being sacked by Thompson and told me about the bad handling trait the cars had. He explained to me that if I saw this happening, then just get out of there as it would inevitably crash."

He told me that during the race he was behind MacDonald and saw the car go into this pattern of behaviour. "I stood on the brakes so hard," he said, "I nearly pushed the master cylinder off the bulkhead!"

Brabham never implied anything about MacDonald's ambitions or driving, merely that the car was uncontrollable once it was destabilised.

#10 David M. Kane

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 03:18

Ray:

There are a coupla photos of Graham Hill in the Thompson car. I wonder what he thought of it?

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 05:47

I would say, David, that Graham was sufficiently vocal about things that if he'd tried it and found it evil he would have said so...

The answer for that, then, would probably lie in contemporary magazines reporting on the leadup to the race.

#12 HistoricMustang

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:15

Am really trying to discover facts concerning the accident earlier in the month involving the sister car (#84). And ,in fact, if that accident involved failure of a suspension part.

As we all know only until fairly recently have accidents on track been opened to the general public through the use of recording tapes, especially playbacks.

There is no question that Dave's driving style was full out. Yet, we need to understand that this car had been modified for larger diameter wheels and was carrying a full load of fuel and was in traffic, all of which added stress to structures.

We could also add that the beginnings and endings of races involve unusual driving by most drivers. In other words they would drive in such a manner that would not be normal during most of the race.

Apparently the fact that Dave was badly burned has already been disproven through conversations with individuals close to the family. Perhaps other third party observations could also be incorrect.

Henry

#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:47

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Ray:

There are a coupla photos of Graham Hill in the Thompson car. I wonder what he thought of it?

He tried the 1963 car but declined to qualify it on the grounds that he found it too dangerous: "diabolical" was the word he used in 'Life at the Limit', but I suspect he might have been more vehement at the time!

Having said that, I wasn't aware he'd tested it at Riverside until I clicked on Gerr's link. Testing at Indy it lost a wheel and Graham ended up in the wall: looks like there may be a bit more of a story to tell there!

#14 Doug Nye

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 11:19

Graham had been pretty impressed by some Mickey Thompson thinking, not least with the John Crosthwaite-designed 1962 car and about setting-up a car rock-solid on the suspension. It was at Graham's recommendation that Crosthwaite was then offered a job at BRM. But Graham was distinctly underwhelmed by the 1963 Thompson effort.

Regarding the MacDonald accident, Masten Gregory had tried the car early in May and told Jack Brabham he was terrified by it. Since Jack regarded Masten as being totally nerveless and incapable of being terrified by anything, he then kept a very close eye on the Thompson cars, and particularly MacDonald's ahead of him on the rolling start. He has vivid memories of the car looking utterly uncontrollable even during the pace lap. It was (Jack's recollection) carrying an incredibly huge fuel load (100 gallons was mentioned) - part of the Thompson strategy being to save pit stops compared to his rivals - and it was visibly weaving and lurching out of shape through the turns. The moment he saw MacDonald losing it he hit the brakes in his Trackburner Special and still attributes his escape from the fate which befell Eddie Sachs - who tee-boned poor MacDonald - to Masten's warning and his subsequent concentration upon that one car and its obviously knife-edge behaviour.

Wasn't the car running on mail-order book Sears Allstate tyres??? Or have I got that completely wrong???

As for the supposed quote from a member of Dave MacDonald's family (or an associate) that he was not badly burned, I don't quite understand that. My late friend Andrew Ferguson who was team manager for Lotus carried to his grave ghastly images from a scrum around an ambulance behind the pits at Indy. He walked up to see whatever was going on, and found the ambulance with unshielded windows, and lying on a stretcher inside was the still living but seared and blackened Dave MacDonald. He found the spectacle utterly horrifying, and moreso he was horrified that so little sensivity - or sensibility - was being shown by the Indy officials, the medics and particularly the people packing the area for a look at the dying man through those clear windows. To a Brit of that period this was utterly foreign, totally unacceptable and uncivilised.

I find it quite possible that poor MacDonald died from injuries other than his burns, but from what I have been told - and unfortunately also photographs I have seen - that to say he was not burned is incorrect. If he died due to other trauma injuries it probably saved him much suffering from burns which would surely have proved fatal within a few days.

It was - whichever way one slices it - a very nasty business.

On a happier note - wonderfully interesting photos Walter, thank you...

DCN

#15 FLB

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 14:41

Originally posted by Doug Nye
I find it quite possible that poor MacDonald died from injuries other than his burns, but from what I have been told - and unfortunately also photographs I have seen - that to say he was not burned is incorrect. If he died due to other trauma injuries it probably saved him much suffering from burns which would surely have proved fatal within a few days.

It was - whichever way one slices it - a very nasty business.

On a happier note - wonderfully interesting photos Walter, thank you...

DCN

Johnny Rutherford was placed on a gurney next to MacDonald at the infield care center. He saw a pink streak on his face, which would indicate that the unfortunate sportscar star was suffering from acute pulmonary oedema, a consequence of flame and smoke inhalation. APO is still nowadays quite frequently fatal.

http://www.automobil...nny_rutherford/

http://www.medstuden...erin/terin7.htm

#16 Jim Thurman

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 16:49

Originally posted by HistoricMustang

Apparently the fact that Dave was badly burned has already been disproven through conversations with individuals close to the family. Perhaps other third party observations could also be incorrect.


A grotesque photo from LIFE magazine is sadly etched in my mind, showing a literally blackened MacDonald being lifted from the wreckage. With that, I don't see how it is possible that he was not badly burned. I have heard that Eddie Sachs suffered few burns and was primarily affected by impact trauma, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the claims.

As far as the accident itself, driver Len Sutton chalked it up to overenthusiasm on MacDonald's part. Len came across a very fair man and never seemed to have anything harsh to say about anyone.

And to change the subject completely, Walter, thank you for the photos.

#17 bradbury west

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 18:40

Following on from Walter's photo link, it is worth clicking on the "Visit Albums" button on the head rail as there are other albums, dirt track plus Indy cars , esp Roadsters, etc, incl quite a few with Clark, Chapman and Gurney with Indy Lotus in 63, through to Hill and Bignotti at Fuji etc . So far I have only dipped into them, but they look very good.

Roger Lund

#18 David M. Kane

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 20:57

Doug:

That story just blows my mind!

#19 HistoricMustang

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 00:12

Originally posted by Lotus23
Walter Zoomie's post: 2nd photo (ends in 4591) shows Dave sideways exiting T4.

Is it just me, or does the L front tire look skewed? I admit it's very hard to tell from that one shot...


This is the photo we need to focus on to help disprove what has been written for over four decades.

Henry

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#20 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 00:40

HistoricMustang:

The left front "appears" to be at a 30 degree angle while the other 3 wheels appear to be straight; but it could be an optical allusion.

#21 rateus

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 01:09

Originally posted by Jim Thurman


I have heard that Eddie Sachs suffered few burns and was primarily affected by impact trauma, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the claims.


I certainly hope that was the case, unfortunately a poster over at trackforum.com (sorry can't remember who) tells a grimmer tale.

Apparently he once asked the woman at whose house he parked his car for the '500' why she never went to the race herself. Her response was that her one visit had been in 1964, and the Sachs/MacDonald accident had occurred right in front of her. She vividly recalled her horror as one driver, trapped in his car in the midst of the fireball, screamed and waved his arms :cry: She was sure this was Sachs as this car was covered with a tarp with the driver's body still inside during the clean-up (usual practice at the time I believe).

A search at trackforum should bring up the post - one of the most unsettling things I've ever read about this sport... :(

#22 Buford

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 02:05

Actually that is my story. If they printed it at Tony George sack licker forum, they were quoting, or stealing from me.

http://forums.autosp...y=&pagenumber=2

Post number 70.

And it is ridiculous to say either of them were not badly burned. They were in the middle of a massive raging fireball for several minutes.

#23 ovfi

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 03:33

I'm posting pictures scanned from a brazilian magazine (1964, august, 4 Rodas) which can put some light on the discussion:

Posted Image

I have to say something that I observed on Walter Zoomie's second photo:

1-Dave is spinning just behind Hurtubise (car 56) and Hansgen (car 53), and is in front of Branson (car 5).

2-On Sports Car Graphic, august 1964, pages 22 & 23, we can see pictures of the cars as they entered turn #1 on the first lap;
There are 27 cars on the pictures, by the order, Clark 6, Jones 98, Marshman 51, Foyt 1, Ward 2, Ruby 18, Gurney 12, Hurtubise 56, Hansgen 53, Sutton 66, Branson 5, Rathmann 23, Boyd 88, Sachs 25, MacDonald 83, Rutherford 86, Duman 64, Ruttman 14, Unser 9, White 99, Tingelstadt 15, an unidentified front-engined, McElreath 28, Grim 16, Veith 54, Stevenson 95, Johnson 84.

3-This means that between turns #2 and #4 Dave passed five cars: he was a very fast driver, even in a bad car, perhaps he was pushing too hard and this bad handling car betrayed him.




#24 Henri Greuter

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 10:31

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


This is the photo we need to focus on to help disprove what has been written for over four decades.

Henry


Henry,

When doing research on the 1964 chapter of Novi Vol.2, I found a newspaper clipping in one of the local Indy newspapers that staten that Colin Chapman inspected the Thompson cars and much to his utter surprise found out that the right rear wheel was alsoa steering! Thus the car had three steering wheels!

I have never found any other evidence for that somewhere else.
But imagine this to be true....


Henri

#25 Jim Thurman

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 17:00

Originally posted by Buford

And it is ridiculous to say either of them were not badly burned. They were in the middle of a massive raging fireball for several minutes.


I hate it when I do a post and something fails between my brain and fingertips. What I was going to add and disappeared somewhere was: "I have heard that Eddie Sachs suffered few burns and was primarily affected by impact trauma, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the claims, which seem similarly ludicrous."

Especially when considering the burns some drivers received just from passing through the fireball.

In the photos posted by ovfi (post number 23) from the Brazilian magazine, the bottom photo is Ronnie Duman, bailing from his car along the inside wall.

#26 E.B.

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 18:02

Originally posted by Henri Greuter


Henry,

When doing research on the 1964 chapter of Novi Vol.2, I found a newspaper clipping in one of the local Indy newspapers that staten that Colin Chapman inspected the Thompson cars and much to his utter surprise found out that the right rear wheel was alsoa steering! Thus the car had three steering wheels!

I have never found any other evidence for that somewhere else.
But imagine this to be true....


Henri


The Clymer yearbook states this too.

#27 HistoricMustang

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 20:25

With everyone's help this photograph is what we need to focus on for the moment.

The crash of the sister car to Dave's earlier in the month at Indy. I am being told by an interested party, that can not currently sign up at TNF, that this accident was the result of suspension failure. In fact the driver is taking a look at the front suspension which is what I am questioning.

Lets dig deep gentlemen to get this cleared up for the MacDonald family! :wave:

I know there is additional information out there so please come forward and e-mail me if you can not register, as this gentleman did: hjones101@comcast.net

Henry

Posted Image

#28 Buford

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 21:37

Masten said the front lifted coming through turn 2. That was the very expensive titanium car that was destroyed. Masten said it caused him to spin into the inside wall. Thompson was furious and blamed the driver and fired him, though he did come back right at the end of qualifying to make a bump attempt. Masten did not say the suspension broke. He said it was aerodynamic lift of the front end and Thompson did not believe him.

#29 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 21:52

At this point in his career Masten was a pretty experienced driver, not one to make up bs about a car.

Why in the photo in question does the left front look at a 30 degree angle while the other 3 wheels are at 12
o'clock?

#30 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 22:01

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
.....The crash of the sister car to Dave's earlier in the month at Indy. I am being told by an interested party, that can not currently sign up at TNF, that this accident was the result of suspension failure. In fact the driver is taking a look at the front suspension which is what I am questioning.....


The driver is Masten Gregory, and his warning to Jack Brabham surely clarifies that this might not necessarily have been the problem?

His warning didn't refer to something breaking, rather to something like this:

Originally posted by Henri Greuter
.....I found a newspaper clipping in one of the local Indy newspapers that stated that Colin Chapman inspected the Thompson cars and much to his utter surprise found out that the right rear wheel was also steering! Thus the car had three steering wheels!


With one in the cockpit (that wasn't totally in control at all times, it seems!), that makes five. A check of the pictures in Popular Mechanics, July 1963, shows clearly that the car didn't have the then-popular offset suspension, so whatever the right rear wheel was doing the left rear should have too. Perhaps the only significant bump steer was on bump, which would mean that only the right would be affected in normal running at Indy.

Nevertheless, this ties in well with Gregory's statement to Brabham and tends to reduce the prospect of a breakage being the cause. Brabham's statement was quite clear: "I saw the car start to do this (what Gregory had warned him about) and stood on the brakes (etc)..." In other words, the crash had its beginnings in the typical misbehavior of the car.

I don't believe this detracts from this aim, however:

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
Lets dig deep gentlemen to get this cleared up for the MacDonald family!


MacDonald was stuck in a time bomb that was fully loaded. No matter how well he coped with the malevolence of the device while practising, it's quite likely this was his first fast lap with fuel tanks full, and apparently very full. I would imagine that any responses the car would make would be extremely sluggish, which would explain why it is so far out of shape in the photograph, simply not responding to his input at the wheel.

He was, simply, at the mercy of a car whose owner was determined to run despite an extremely well qualified driver's advice.

One wonders when and how Chapman came into the equation. At the time, Gregory was running Lotuses in F1, so perhaps he asked Chapman to have a look. And if that was when Chapman looked, I'd suggest that Thompson ran the cars unchanged against Chapman's advice also.

#31 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 22:04

Originally posted by Buford
Masten said the front lifted coming through turn 2. That was the very expensive titanium car that was destroyed. Masten said it caused him to spin into the inside wall. Thompson was furious and blamed the driver and fired him, though he did come back right at the end of qualifying to make a bump attempt. Masten did not say the suspension broke. He said it was aerodynamic lift of the front end and Thompson did not believe him.


Buford, this is new to me, but not a surprise... and I think we might all benefit from knowing all you know about the incident. And what parts of it are known from first hand discussions with people involved, and what parts are from your own observation.

I've just had to wait something like half an hour to get my previous post onto the board. In that time you and David have posted again and somewhat changed the situation at the point I posted.

All the same, these are all points to be considered, and I don't really think we should be on a suspension breakage witch hunt.

David, it would be good to find the photographer who took that pic and get a really good blowup of it for proper inspection. It's too small as it stands.

#32 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 22:33

Ray:

I agree we need a bigger photo.

Clearly Mickey was going to run these cars no matter what. He probably had his whole wad in it and in no position to walk away even if that was his style. I gather he was a real risk taker who knew only one speed...flat out. Who designed the car again, what were his other credits?

#33 HistoricMustang

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 22:37

Thanks for everyone's hard work and insight!

Henry

Who is this driver?

Posted Image

#34 Buford

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 23:44

Originally posted by Ray Bell


Buford, this is new to me, but not a surprise... and I think we might all benefit from knowing all you know about the incident. And what parts of it are known from first hand discussions with people involved, and what parts are from your own observation.


Masten Gregory was my boyhood idol so I paid attention to everything about him. In the press at the time he was quoted as saying the front end lifted. I know he was fired by Thompson who didn't believe him and was furious for losing his best car. Masten was the #1 team driver even though still an Indy rookie at the time. Not sure where I got that but I know it is true. At the last few minutes Thompson had a car in the bump line and no driver, so he put Masten in it. If I recall he ran two fast enough laps and then it blew the engine.

While there is much evidence Masten told many people Thompson's cars were dangerous including Clark and Brabham, he was still willing to drive one in the race had he qualified, but of course he was fearless, he was Masten Gregory!! And also note Eddie Johnson drove his and didn't hit anything all month. So they were not undriveable. Mac Donald was too much of a hot shot.

#35 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 23:52

I have listen to every Indy 500 since 1950, I think people tend to forget just how big a deal it was and AMBITIOUS the driver were then, particularly the rookies. People took BIG risks, it was expected particularly in the '50s and early '60s, heck just look at the safety standards. Sure Dave was aggressive because he was REALLY hungry. I saw a 1964 Official Program signed by all 33 drivers, Dave's autograph was plume in the middle because he was out to win the race IMO.

BTW how did the '64 car differ from the '63 car?

#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 00:01

The nature of the beast is, as you would well know Buford, to believe he has the ability to overcome. Or perhaps the restraint to avoid the problem...

And I imagine getting an Indy behind him would have been high on Masten's list of 'to dos' at the time, perhaps with a view to setting up a 'mature age' career back home in America.

I agree with your point here, David. Sticking their necks out was pretty much what they did in those times. Some still do today, of course.

#37 HistoricMustang

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 00:09

Originally posted by Buford
Mac Donald was too much of a hot shot.


With a winning percentage that was pretty impressive.

Am not sure many top drivers were not, in fact, hot shots though expressed in different manners.

Opinions and second hand information have been around this event for decades. Lets get to the basics my friends.

The photograph in question is being digitized as we speak.

Henry

#38 FLB

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 00:35

Originally posted by David M. Kane
I have listen to every Indy 500 since 1950, I think people tend to forget just how big a deal it was and AMBITIOUS the driver were then, particularly the rookies. People took BIG risks, it was expected particularly in the '50s and early '60s, heck just look at the safety standards. Sure Dave was aggressive because he was REALLY hungry. I saw a 1964 Official Program signed by all 33 drivers, Dave's autograph was plume in the middle because he was out to win the race IMO.

Of course, we know hindsight is 20/20, but if I had been in his shoes, I would have raced the car. Danger was/is part of it. It was, for lack of a better word, normal.

There were Ford engineers everywhere. Thompson getting Ford engines in 1964 is a little bit like getting a Honda in CART in 1995. It was a pretty big deal. MacDonald was unbdoubtedly aware that Ford was embarquing on a pretty big sportscar program at the time, one that would demand experience and more than a bit of risk-taking. Ford hadn't done a car like the GT40 before. The drivers were learning at the same time as the engineers. Two factory drivers were lost testing the car, both good drivers who knew what they were doing.

The Ford management had thought Indy would surely be won by a Ford engined-car in 1964. If MacDonald had won the race, he would likely have had major clout with Dearborn, even more than he already had.

#39 Walter Zoomie

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 00:58

Scanned from my original (?) black & white print... Tried to sharpen and focus a little...

Posted Image

Posted Image

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Right front

Posted Image

Left front

Inconclusive, I'd say, as to whether something is broken in the front end...

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#40 ovfi

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 01:16

Looks like he was trying to correct the slide, as showed in the drawing below:

Posted Image

BTW, the car that had rear steering was the 1967 car, that didn't qualified, as showed in the Thompson site posted by Gerr.

#41 David M. Kane

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 01:37

FLB:

You hit on the head, well put.

#42 VWV

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 03:19

I'm not a trained photo interpreter but with the grainy shadows I can not come to any conclustions at all. I just don't see the orientation of the wheels with any degree of certainty, perhaps if I was better at reading images in tea leaves.......

#43 Henri Greuter

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 08:17

Originally posted by ovfi
BTW, the car that had rear steering was the 1967 car, that didn't qualified, as showed in the Thompson site posted by Gerr.


ovfi,

Yes, the 1967 car had a steering rear axle too. But again, there was talk about the 1964's having it as well.

As for the comments that MT wanted the cars to be raced, come what may.
I also wonder how much the influence of Ford has been in this.
It was quite an embarassment for Ford that they ignored Foyt and Jones to have Ford Power available to them and with hindsight all those Fords being assigned to Thompson was kind of a waste.
Maybe some people at Ford atill felt the heat for not having Foyt and Jones within their camp at that time already, and thus, in order to approve that their decision to back Thompson with engines was correct after all, they put some pressure on MT to have his cars out in the field after all?

As for the accident.
Since no definitive approval of mechanical failure is existing yet I can't blame that as a reason.
But there are several reports about the cars being woefully unstable at high speeds.
If I must give a most likely reason for the accident, then I think that the already unstable car became even more unstable in traffic with 2/3 of the field ahead of of it, creating all that turbulence and that McDonald lost it as a result of that.
Not that I blame McDonald for making an error for being an unsuitable driver.
He drove a car that was too much for the majority out there in the field in those circumstances and I fear that a number of other drivers in the field had ended up in the same situation as he eventually did.

Henri

#44 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 08:26

Turbulence wasn't such a big issue those days, as there were no wings on those cars ahead to create much of it...

I'm inclined to think it was more of a suspension deficiency combined with an aerodynamic imbalance built into the car than the effect of other cars.

#45 Henri Greuter

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 08:43

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Turbulence wasn't such a big issue those days, as there were no wings on those cars ahead to create much of it...

I'm inclined to think it was more of a suspension deficiency combined with an aerodynamic imbalance built into the car than the effect of other cars.



Maybe not because of the wings but with so many vcars ahead of McDonald making holes in the air?
A number of fast moving objects in front of you create a lot of turbulence as well as far as I know,
Don't forget dat it was in 1967 that Chapman found out about the effects of speed on a car and that he learned by then that the losest that his cars ever came to the ground was when they wer stationary because at speed he had lift which raised the cars.

An already unstable , lift sensitive car in air, massively disturbed by many cars ahead of him?

Another reason I can think to support my theories is the fact that it is most unlikely that any of the Thompson cars in practice ever ran into a traffic situation that came even close to that of that during the start and the early laps. Very, very likely that McDonald had that experience with the car for the first time at the actual race so didn't know what to expect from the car in such circumstances to begin with.

Of course, I can be entirely wrong. But right now, it is the best I can think of if mechanical failure can/must be excluded.
(Sacastic mode) And since mechanical failure in the case of Cogan in 1982 `must` be eliminated too because he drove a Penske.....


Henri

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#46 HistoricMustang

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 09:26

I believe this is a sister car to the #83. Any comments on the front suspension or its design (or lack there of).

Again, this information supplied by our mystery individual that is unable to put up a post at TNF.

Henry

Posted Image

#47 McGuire

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 09:48

Originally posted by HistoricMustang



My dad had a phone call about two months(?) after the RACE, from a person that said he either worked with Mickey, or, was a machanic @ Indy, (I don't know which), and saw the car and said they found a part that was broken in the "suspension" that was broken in the same place as another car of Mickey's that caused the car to crash during practice earler that month! ( I think it was the #84 car). That person would not leave his name and told daddy talk to and see if Mickey would say something to him, but, when dad called Mickey, dad said he got really upset and told him that nothing failed on the car that "they"? could find, and wanted to know WHO said it? We felt from his actions Mickey was hiding something But, daddy couldn't tell him because the person wouldn't say who he was, so, daddy tried all he could to find this person "or" someone else to back it up, but couldn't so, he said all we could is let it go, and maybe it would come out later!!! After Mickey's death, I was in hopes that this person would come out somehow- if he was still alive?, or, someone else that would have known about it would come forward and bring this out!



In the absence of any supporting evidence, and there is none, I would not give this story any credence. Whevever there is a public tragedy these unfortunate souls emerge from the woodwork, claiming they have special info. (It's a form of megalomania: they imagine themselves into public events to fight their feelings of being inconsequential.)

Actually, we have no reason to believe this person had any real info at all. He refused to even identify himself. I strongly suspect Mickey would have never heard of him -- that he was no one at all as far as these events are concerned.

It would be a terrible shame if, as a result, MacDonald family members were exploited in their grief. Nowadays we are more aware of the amount of untoward attention families are subjected to in these events, from all sorts of unbalanced persons.

#48 Buford

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 11:17

I remember all this very clearly since it was the first fatalities I ever saw despite growing up in a racing family, Eddie Sachs was a family friend, my idol Masten Gregory had a role in the plot, and I took a movie of it from my seat in the front row of the paddock penthouse but didn't fully comprehend what I was seeing though the viewfinder until I opened both eyes and looked around the camera and recoiled at the holocaust. Also I got only two autographed photos that year. Eddie Sachs for me and Dave Mac Donald for my friend which always gave me a chill. This horror story was a major turning point in my life, a growing up event for me at 16 and it amounted to the end of my childhood innocence and the beginning of adult understanding the world was not all fun and games and put here specifically for my pampered upper middle class enjoyment. Among the changes it caused in my life was it turned me against religion, which exists to this day. So I remember all this as clear as clear can be.

The general opinion at the time, and I read everything, and talked to everybody at races for years who had been there, or talked to anybody who knew anything was what Masten Gregory said had happened to his car earlier in the month happened to Mac Donald. That is air got under the bodywork, and lifted the front end sufficiently to take grip off the front tires, and caused a spin to the inside wall. Masten in 2, Dave in 4. Both cars caught fire. Masten's didn't have a full fuel load and his twirled along the inner wall. Dave's hit an angled wall that careened the car back out into traffic. While nobody ever knew for sure, we many be over analyzing here. Everybody at the time felt the car simply got squirrelly on him and he lost it. Pure and simple. The wall configuration and bunched up pack did the rest. A bad dangerous car driven by a young hot shot who ignored Jim Clark's warning, "Get out of that car mate. just walk away" and paid the ultimate price.

#49 Henri Greuter

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 11:17

Originally posted by HistoricMustang

One final thought.

Have read that these cars were infact designed to go the 500 miles without the need for additional fuel. Is this an accurate statement and if so was the tire technology in place to actually run the entire distance?

Henry



Henry,

I can''t confirm nor deny if the Thompson cars were built to run the race non-stop.
But as has already been mentioned, only a few cars needed fresh tires including (of course!!) a Novi.

But a non-stop race could have been possible indeed. The Thompson's used Ford engines and the Fords were delivered back to the teams after qualifying, prepared to run on gasoline for the race. As Doug Nye already posted, one of the major aims of Ford within their race strategy was to gain time by using gasoline fuel to reduce fuel consumption and eliminate at least one, if not two pit stops.
When the big fuel tanks as common on the methanol burning cars were still used, a non-stop race became, indeed maybe possible.
If it made sence, thinking about the dramatic change in handling between a fully loaded car early and an almost empty one at the end of the race, the need to conseve tires early in the race (when the car was heavy) to keep them useful later on, as well as driver fatigue (no moments of any rest and/or refreshments in the pits anymore) that's another matter for debate.
But thoughts about matters like this were much different then than they are now.

Anyway, if it was indeed true that the car was loaded with fuel for a non-stop race, that makes me wonder how much heavier the car was compared with methanol burning cars cars that were to make more pit stops. If indeed much heavier, knowing that it was a instable car already that would make it even more difficult to regain control once the grip was lost and the car was sliding.
And with low adhesion due to the lift of the car at speed, the centrifugal forces on the car would have been even higher because of being more heavy, hence make it vulnerable for loosing traction and grip even quicker than if it should have had been more stable and more grippy.
(just thinking out loud....)

But again, those cars were so much compromised already, having been designed for use of much smaller wheels that were forbidden so larger wheel were needed. How much influence did that have on the handling? what changes were required for the suspension.
All very much a sad affair for everyone involved and many, many more.


Henri

#50 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 12:03

I think that I have to agree with my friend Buford and his comment, "While nobody ever knew for sure, we many be over analyzing here."

As part of my look at the 1964 season, I took a very hard look at the race and the accident, whether I really wanted to or not before its repercussions were to be felt for many years to come. As is usually the case, I came to the conclusion that the accident was the result of a number of factors, several combining in an untimely manner to create a catastrophe. A talented, aggressive driver in a troublesome, "squirrelly" car seemed a major part of the problem. Interestingly, I do not recall there being anyone seriously offering the idea of a suspension failure as being the reason for MacDonald losing control. There is a general consensus, I discovered, that the car simply got "loose" as it pushed through the pack and MacDonald lost it with the resulting crash that cost both he and Eddie Sachs their lives. There would seem to be a case to be made for the aerodynamics of the car to figure in this, the front end getting just enough lift and there being just enough turbulance to destablilize the car. Even a talented racer with the skills that MacDonald possessed was in deep trouble at that point. It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that the crash happened so early in the race; however, it is also very possivle that it could have just as easily happened later in the race.

Add in the increased full loads of gasoline being used that year, the wide variation of car types, the unknowns of the aerodynamics of the Thompson cars, along with the leap in tire technology, and it gets difficult to achieve the exactitude everyone wants/demands.

I could not find it last night after a quick search, but one factor I considered were the Allstate tires, which were not "mail-order book Sears Allstate tyres," but perhaps not much better. Whereas in 1963, Thompson had Firestone create a 12" special tire for the "roller-skates," in 1964 there was a requirement that the tires had to be at least 15" to be used. With Sears Allstate as a sponsor, Thompson worked a deal where the cars would use "Sears Allstate" tires in the race. What I was looking for last night was the actual manufacturer of the tires, which I could/cannot recall right off the top of my head. I think that Armstrong, who were one of those supplying Sears with Allstate tires, make the tires, but I am not sure. In addition, there was a mention made as to the grip of the Allstate tires compared to the Firestones -- and the Goodyears that got used as well during practice -- that people opted for during the race. I added the tires to the equation and came to the conclusion that MacDonald and the other Thompson drivers were very brave men.

Also, there was no problem with the Firestones doing the distance, but not so with the Dunlops and probably the Allstates.