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The Mickey Thompson 'Sears Allstate Special' cars of 1964


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#451 McGuire

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 13:36

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Ray:

I agree how could all the fuel be on one side even with all left turns; but I've never driven an Indy car or an oval.

Let's let this thing play out some more. Does anyone one know Paul Nicolini. Jerry Entin do you know how to reach Pter Bryant?


Peter Bryant is already firmly on the record that the car carried one tank only, mounted on the left side.

And actually, that is a very sensible way to distribute the fuel load on an Indy car: this way, when the vehicle's fuel load is greatest and its weight the greatest, its left side weight percentage is also the greatest. As the fuel burns off the vehicle's weight decreases and so does the left side weight bias. When the vehicle is heaviest is when it least wants to turn and most wants to go straight (aka understeer), so it needs more left side weight bias to turn left. As the fuel burns off and the vehicle becomes lighter it will turn better because there is less mass subject to acceleration (aka change in direction) so it requires less left weight bias. Additionally, a left-side fuel tank is less exposed to a wall impact, which is liable to be right-side first.

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#452 McGuire

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 14:24

Originally posted by Ray Bell




I am interested in pursuing the fuel capacity. I really do think it's unlikely that all the fuel was on one side.


Actually, there is no real evidence that the car ever had anything but one fuel tank only, mounted on the left side. We know that is how the car was designed and built -- one tank, left side -- and how it raced in 1963. That is also how it tested in November 1963 and March 1964, and how it practiced and qualified in May 1964. We have more than enough photographic and narrative evidence to assert these as facts. Much of that material is included here.

If the car had an additional right side tank(s) in the '64 race it/they must have been installed sometime between qualifying and race day. We have no evidence that occurred. We also have race day photos which show the car had no right side fuel filler. That means the hypothetical right tank(s) would have to be installed with no separate provision for filling, when there is no logical reason to install it that way. It would be far more difficult both to install and to use in that configuration. From a mechanical point of view it doesn't make sense.

We also have the direct testimony of both Peter Bryant and Mickey Thompson that on race day the car had one tank, left side, period. If the car had more tanks on board they are not simply mistaken; they are lying. I suppose that is possible, but before we convict them we ought to have some evidence.

Meanwhile, the ONLY info we have that suggests the car had more than one tank is anecdotal and second-hand. Guesses, in other words. With all due respect to them, I don't really give a rat's ass how much fuel Foyt or Rutherford THINK was in MacDonald's car. If they have some direct knowledge about its fuel system, that would be useful. That is no reflection on AJ or JR whatsoever. It is the methodology of this thread that is sometimes out to lunch, no offense.

#453 David M. Kane

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 14:49

McGuire:

I will ask Donald Davidson to have a look at the '63 Thompson Car that is in the Speedway Museum since that's where his office is located and see what he determines on the fuel tank situation. When I look at the car several times over the past several years it was before this whole thread started. At each of those times were consumed by three thoughts, one the car looked even more fragile than a Lotus, two, "hmm...wouldn't want to hit by a Roadster" in this thing, and the workmanship left a little to be desired IMO.

Another email has been sent to Donald, I'm sure he will talk to the Restoration guys in basement about the tank situation..

#454 David M. Kane

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 15:37

McGuire so much for that, the Museum car is Gurney's '62 car.

#455 antonvrs

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 16:45

In the late '80s I located the remains of one of the '62 Thompson Indy cars and began restoration of it for a member of the Harvey family, sponsors of the Gurney car in '62. Before we could actually start work on the car, Mickey was killed. Some time later, I was introduced to Fritz Voight who had been Mickey's "right hand man", and he put me in touch with Danny, Mickey's son.
Danny and I met at Mickey's home in Glendora, CA and he turned me loose in the garage below the house so I could search for '62 Indy car parts. As it turned out, there were no parts for the '62 cars but there were parts for just about anything else Mickey had ever been interested in. I took a lot of pictures and if someone is willing to post them for me I will scan and email some of them to that person as I don't have a web site.
I do have one or two shots of the one remaining '64 car. There was a car on a shelf above the shop floor which was painted to resemble Gurney's car but it was NOT the real thing and I suspect that it is the car that's now in the Speedway museum.
Anton

#456 McGuire

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 22:49

Originally posted by antonvrs
I took a lot of pictures and if someone is willing to post them for me I will scan and email some of them to that person as I don't have a web site.I do have one or two shots of the one remaining '64 car. There was a car on a shelf above the shop floor which was painted to resemble Gurney's car but it was NOT the real thing and I suspect that it is the car that's now in the Speedway museum.
Anton


Anton,
A website is not required. Simply go to the sticky note at the top of this forum with the subject line "ATTENTION EVERYONE: how to post your images" and follow the directions there.

Or, go directly to www.imageshack.us and follow the directions there.

Posting photos via this method is very easy, but if you just don't wish to bother with it you can email the photos to me and I will be happy to post them.

#457 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 00:20

Originally posted by McGuire


Actually, there is no real evidence that the car ever had anything but one fuel tank only, mounted on the left side. We know that is how the car was designed and built -- one tank, left side -- and how it raced in 1963. That is also how it tested in November 1963 and March 1964, and how it practiced and qualified in May 1964. We have more than enough photographic and narrative evidence to assert these as facts. Much of that material is included here.

If the car had an additional right side tank(s) in the '64 race it/they must have been installed sometime between qualifying and race day. We have no evidence that occurred. We also have race day photos which show the car had no right side fuel filler. That means the hypothetical right tank(s) would have to be installed with no separate provision for filling, when there is no logical reason to install it that way. It would be far more difficult both to install and to use in that configuration. From a mechanical point of view it doesn't make sense.

We also have the direct testimony of both Peter Bryant and Mickey Thompson that on race day the car had one tank, left side, period. If the car had more tanks on board they are not simply mistaken; they are lying. I suppose that is possible, but before we convict them we ought to have some evidence.

Meanwhile, the ONLY info we have that suggests the car had more than one tank is anecdotal and second-hand. Guesses, in other words. With all due respect to them, I don't really give a rat's ass how much fuel Foyt or Rutherford THINK was in MacDonald's car. If they have some direct knowledge about its fuel system, that would be useful. That is no reflection on AJ or JR whatsoever. It is the methodology of this thread that is sometimes out to lunch, no offense.


Ya think? So, ALL the evidence is that there was one 44 gallon tank on the left side. Let's stop speculating that there must have been another tank. If there is no evidence of a right hand tank, and we have the Chief Mechanic on the car saying there was only the one 44 gallon tank on the left, it's time to stop and move onto another issue. Unless, of course, someone has evidence of a right hand tank.

#458 Henri Greuter

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 08:38

Originally posted by antonvrs
In the late '80s I located the remains of one of the '62 Thompson Indy cars and began restoration of it for a member of the Harvey family, sponsors of the Gurney car in '62. Before we could actually start work on the car, Mickey was killed. Some time later, I was introduced to Fritz Voight who had been Mickey's "right hand man", and he put me in touch with Danny, Mickey's son.
Danny and I met at Mickey's home in Glendora, CA and he turned me loose in the garage below the house so I could search for '62 Indy car parts. As it turned out, there were no parts for the '62 cars but there were parts for just about anything else Mickey had ever been interested in. I took a lot of pictures and if someone is willing to post them for me I will scan and email some of them to that person as I don't have a web site.
I do have one or two shots of the one remaining '64 car. There was a car on a shelf above the shop floor which was painted to resemble Gurney's car but it was NOT the real thing and I suspect that it is the car that's now in the Speedway museum.
Anton




Anton,

Anything you want to do in having these pictures on the web, be it on yourself or with help of others will be appreciated big time.


Henri

#459 Jerry Entin

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 10:09

Posted Image
Here are the pictures Anton, my old CalClub tech inspector friend was talking about. These were taken inside Mickey Thompson's garage. The yellow and black car on the right is, IIRC, a '62 car upgraded to
run in '63 with an alloy SBC.
Posted Image
On the mezzanine L to R: Pumpkin seed LSR car, '64 Indy
car and '62 Indy car, modified for '63.
Posted Image
Thompson's garage was full of stuff like these mystery cylinder
heads, patterns etc
photos posted for Antonvrs

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#460 Henri Greuter

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 11:34

Originally posted by Jerry Entin
Posted Image
Here are the pictures Anton, my old CalClub tech inspector friend was talking about. These were taken inside Mickey Thompson's garage. The yellow and black car on the right is, IIRC, a '62 car upgraded to
run in '63 with an alloy SBC.
photos posted for Antonvrs



Nnow talk about a box of pandorra!

But I got the feeling that this white car isn't a 1964 but a 1963. The bodyworks looks to me as being of the 1963 cars while the tires are also still rather small.
Or maybe it was a 1964 chassis after all but with the bodywork done away with?

Anyway, whatever!
Anton and Jerry: Many, many thanks! This is neat to see!


henri

#461 McGuire

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 10:17

Originally posted by Henri Greuter




But I got the feeling that this white car isn't a 1964 but a 1963. The bodyworks looks to me as being of the 1963 cars while the tires are also still rather small.
Or maybe it was a 1964 chassis after all but with the bodywork done away with?


Of course, the '64 and '63 cars are one in the same, in case there is any confusion about that. Different engine and bodywork, but the same three chassis. This would appear to be the titanium car with no engine and '63 bodywork. Which makes sense...that would be the car and body configuration Thompson would be most likely to hang onto as a keepsake, I would think... and also the car most likely to survive: Never actually raced, and with the ti frame more difficult to unload.

#462 Henri Greuter

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 11:47

Originally posted by McGuire


Of course, the '64 and '63 cars are one in the same, in case there is any confusion about that. Different engine and bodywork, but the same three chassis. This would appear to be the titanium car with no engine and '63 bodywork. Which makes sense...that would be the car and body configuration Thompson would be most likely to hang onto as a keepsake, I would think... and also the car most likely to survive: Never actually raced, and with the ti frame more difficult to unload.



Don't know for sure. The titanium car was partly wrecked by Gregory. Being restored as a keepsake?
You're right on the 1963s also being 1964's by the way.
In that case, then my guess is that this is actually the chassis raced by Eddie Johnson but with the Works Ford engine gone (of course) and 1963 bodywork back onto the car.
Leaves yet another puzzle.

if I understood things right, the fuel bag was attached to the fuel filler that was fitted within the bodywork. So would they have taken off the entire '64 bodywork and replaced it with the 1963? Or maybe the fuel tank was taken out as well in order to put on the '63 cover more easily.
Or were those 1964 wheel fairings just mere add-on parts, easily removed?

Seems to me that every answer we get yields yet more questions....


henri

#463 Gerr

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 11:52

another pic....

http://thompson-moto.../boneyard1.html

#464 Seppi_0_917PA

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 13:19

Originally posted by Henri Greuter
In that case, then my guess is that this is actually the chassis raced by Eddie Johnson but with the Works Ford engine gone (of course) and 1963 bodywork back onto the car.
Leaves yet another puzzle.

henri

This may be a piece to the puzzle: Peter Byant wrote that after the 1964 Indy 500...

Back in Long Beach...Mickey asked me to prepare the car that Eddie Johnson had driven at Indy for an attempt at a speed record—500 miles at 200mph—on a giant, 6-mile circle at the salt flats in Utah. I got the car ready and he managed to get Goodyear to make some special spiked tires for better traction. One day he came in and told me he had canceled the attempt without offering any explanation.

pg 172, Can-Am Challenger

#465 Henri Greuter

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 13:34

Originally posted by Seppi_0_917PA

This may be a piece to the puzzle: Peter Byant wrote that after the 1964 Indy 500...


pg 172, Can-Am Challenger



Talk about having guts...
knowing how loose it was at Indy as it was.
I don't want to think about the roadholding of that car on speeds of up to 200 mph.....


Henri

#466 paulhooft

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 13:50

Back in the early sixties (1963-65) I read a dutch translation of a Mickey Thompson article about what he called the Racing Tyre of the future.
The I remember he claimed that fatter, slick type tyres where the future...
The article is somewhere lost in my achives.
Is there anyone out here who can help?
Paul Hooft

#467 HistoricMustang

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Posted 12 October 2007 - 23:24

Damn!
How much more information is out there to be reviewed! :clap:

Thanks again, Jerry!

Henry

#468 TrackDog

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 08:39

Originally posted by Seppi_0_917PA

This may be a piece to the puzzle: Peter Byant wrote that after the 1964 Indy 500...


pg 172, Can-Am Challenger


Then maybe that's what the car to the left of the white one is? I think the white car is the one we've all seen pictures of that was demonstrating such serious lift at speed that it should have been fitted with a transponder.


Dan

#469 McGuire

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 15:29

Originally posted by TrackDog


Then maybe that's what the car to the left of the white one is? I think the white car is the one we've all seen pictures of that was demonstrating such serious lift at speed that it should have been fitted with a transponder.


Dan


No, that is not the Indy car that Eddie Johnson drove, so that cannot be the car Peter Bryant refers to in his book. That car is the famous Pumpkin Seed streamliner, originally built in around 1960 by Mickey Thompson's good friend Bill Burke (who among other things "invented" the belly tank streamliner and built a number of them, including the SoCal Speed Shop car, probably the most well-known of the belly tankers still in existence). Burke raced the Pumpkin Seed at Bonneville with a Ford six before Thompson acquired it and ran it with Tempest four-cyl. engines. Today that car is owned by Danny Thompson, Mickey's son. Though I have not seen the movie, I understand the car appeared in The World's Fastest Indian.

Of the three '63-'64 Indy cars (they were red, white, and blue) the white car had the titanium chassis originally. I have not seen any photos with the car in the attitude you describe, which I suppose is remarkable in that we are probably looking at the same photos. :

A funny story that goes around regarding Thompson and Burke... Burke's boss at Hot Rod, Bob Petersen, who had become quite wealthy even by then, owned a Cisitalia. While Petersen was out of town or otherwise occupied, they "borrowed" the car and used it to pull a mold for a fiberglass replica body. That must have been a mess.

#470 McGuire

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 15:34

Originally posted by Henri Greuter



Talk about having guts...
knowing how loose it was at Indy as it was.
I don't want to think about the roadholding of that car on speeds of up to 200 mph.....


Henri


Not really. At Bonneville there is not a thing to run into. Also, the closed circuits used for record attempts of this kind were many miles in diameter. Thompson did set some records on the salt in this fashion.

#471 Walter Zoomie

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 18:16

This won't help the discussion much, but, I stumbled on to this image buried deep within the bowels of my collection, so I figured I'd post it here.

Photo taken by James C. Ramsey, 1964 Indy 500, depicting Eddie Johnson during a pit stop in the remaining Thompson car...

Posted Image

#472 TrackDog

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 22:33

Originally posted by McGuire


No, that is not the Indy car that Eddie Johnson drove, so that cannot be the car Peter Bryant refers to in his book. That car is the famous Pumpkin Seed streamliner, originally built in around 1960 by Mickey Thompson's good friend Bill Burke (who among other things "invented" the belly tank streamliner and built a number of them, including the SoCal Speed Shop car, probably the most well-known of the belly tankers still in existence). Burke raced the Pumpkin Seed at Bonneville with a Ford six before Thompson acquired it and ran it with Tempest four-cyl. engines. Today that car is owned by Danny Thompson, Mickey's son. Though I have not seen the movie, I understand the car appeared in The World's Fastest Indian.

Of the three '63-'64 Indy cars (they were red, white, and blue) the white car had the titanium chassis originally. I have not seen any photos with the car in the attitude you describe, which I suppose is remarkable in that we are probably looking at the same photos. :

A funny story that goes around regarding Thompson and Burke... Burke's boss at Hot Rod, Bob Petersen, who had become quite wealthy even by then, owned a Cisitalia. While Petersen was out of town or otherwise occupied, they "borrowed" the car and used it to pull a mold for a fiberglass replica body. That must have been a mess.



I can see now that the first car in the photo is a streamliner...it's parked backward to the other two cars, and that's what threw me. I figured that Eddie's car was probably rebodied for a record atttempt...

The car with the attitude is from post #421; actually, it was the car in the bottom photo that I remembered as having such a serious ride height...the nose is different, so it isn't the same car as the white one in the photo. But the attitude seems awfully high to me.

Dan

#473 Catalina Park

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 09:41

Originally posted by Walter Zoomie
This won't help the discussion much, but, I stumbled on to this image buried deep within the bowels of my collection, so I figured I'd post it here.

Photo taken by James C. Ramsey, 1964 Indy 500, depicting Eddie Johnson during a pit stop in the remaining Thompson car...

Posted Image

The thing that I can see of interest is the Allstate tire with the M/T logo on it.
A question for the experts, Does it look like a Firestone tire sidewall?

#474 McGuire

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 11:47

Originally posted by TrackDog

The car with the attitude is from post #421; actually, it was the car in the bottom photo that I remembered as having such a serious ride height...the nose is different, so it isn't the same car as the white one in the photo. But the attitude seems awfully high to me.

Dan


To modern eyes I suppose it will. But if you compare the attitude and ride height to other cars of 1964, that is not too unusual at all. Have a look at Jim Clark's Lotus the same year.

#475 McGuire

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 12:00

Originally posted by Walter Zoomie
This won't help the discussion much, but, I stumbled on to this image buried deep within the bowels of my collection, so I figured I'd post it here.

Photo taken by James C. Ramsey, 1964 Indy 500, depicting Eddie Johnson during a pit stop in the remaining Thompson car...

Posted Image


Thanks, the photo shows a number of things.

-No right side fuel filler, if we are still beating that horse.

-Where the right side tank would be, a narrow cooling duct has been tacked on, perhaps for the oil cooler which was on that side.

-the 1964 bodywork is not an add-on affair to the '63 body but a set of replacment panels.

-the car is in a pretty shabby state of preparation, at least cosmetically. Looks like it was a tough and busy month.

-the wiring loom draped over the driver's right shoulder is sort of interesting.

-the right rear tire bears an M/T logo. At around that time Thompson was going into the tire retailing business. It seems to me his first distribution system included Sears-Roebuck, but I don't remember anymore. Of course, Mickey Thompson tires are a major name today in drag racing and off road, but the brand is now owned by Cooper Tire.

#476 David M. Kane

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 13:38

Walter great shot, McGuire the Thompson car at the Indy Museum is fairly shabby too IMO.

#477 ovfi

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 16:58

The car in the museum is the '62 car, but not in its original looking... maybe it's one of the Kimberly's cars or the yellow car Anton photographed on M/T shop.

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#478 McGuire

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 21:52

Originally posted by TrackDog
Paul Nicolini was a prominent drag racer in the '50's...he built a transverse-engined car with chain drive that evolved into a car driven by Jack Christman in 1959 that was rather successful. He and Thompson probably meet during their drag racing days, although I can't prove it. I have no ides if he's still with us or not, but the NHRA would be a good place to start looking for more info on him.


Dan


In the Indy 500 preview feature in the May '64 issue of Hot Rod (p.35) there is a photo of Paul Nicolini fabricating the exhaust headers on a Thompson-Ford... though his name is spelled Nicoline in the caption. Nicolini and Thompson could easily have met in the Los Angeles drag racing scene, as Nicolini often ran at Lions Drag Strip where Thompson was the general manager.

Coincidentally, the sidewinder dragster driven by Jack Chrisman (actually there was a succession of three cars) was owned by Chuck Jones, who later had a F5000 team and was co-owner of the Ensign F1 team for a time. I have no idea if Nicolini is still with us but Jones is still around as far as I know.

#479 Henri Greuter

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 08:27

Originally posted by Walter Zoomie
This won't help the discussion much, but, I stumbled on to this image buried deep within the bowels of my collection, so I figured I'd post it here.

Photo taken by James C. Ramsey, 1964 Indy 500, depicting Eddie Johnson during a pit stop in the remaining Thompson car...



http://img87.imagesh...e0001vm6.th.jpg


What I think to be very interesting is that this car is white and has the Mickey Thompson writing on the sidepod. While the white car on Anton's picture has the same kind of writing.

The additional streamlining of 1964 also appears to be added onto or an original piece replaced, at least on the top side ahead of the rear wheel.

Thus maybe this white car on Anton's picture is indeed the 1964 car of Eddie Johnson?


Henri

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#480 Henri Greuter

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 08:29

Originally posted by McGuire


Not really. At Bonneville there is not a thing to run into. Also, the closed circuits used for record attempts of this kind were many miles in diameter. Thompson did set some records on the salt in this fashion.




I was thinking about things like stability under crosswinds etc. If the car was lifting at the speeds it achieved at Indy, then that lift may well have been even more at even higher speeds.
And the faintest brees of crosswind on an open field....

Think about what killed the great Bernd Rosemeyer and undoubtlty a number of brave guys at Bonneville...


Henri

#481 HistoricMustang

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 10:56

This was sent to me and I do not believe it has yet been added to this thread and I do not have a copy of the book mentioned. The photograph may be one that has previously been viewed but the hand placements by Dave is interesting.

Please allow me to re-visit the dynamics of the accident.

"1964 INDIANAPOLIS 500 MILE RACE" YEARBOOK" by floyd Clymer on page 111:

"Exactly what happened may never be known, BUT what may well have occurred was a mechanical failure to MacDonald's car somewhere in the northwest turn .. a failure which prevented him from steering, or from being able to apply full lock! This photo shows the young California driver in a slide sideways from the pavement toward the infield. His hands are on the wheel, straight ahead position. The car's wheels are also straight ahead, not turned in the direction of the skid - as would be the normal, automatic correction"

Henry

#482 TrackDog

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:17

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
This was sent to me and I do not believe it has yet been added to this thread and I do not have a copy of the book mentioned. The photograph may be one that has previously been viewed but the hand placements by Dave is interesting.

Please allow me to re-visit the dynamics of the accident.

"1964 INDIANAPOLIS 500 MILE RACE" YEARBOOK" by floyd Clymer on page 111:

"Exactly what happened may never be known, BUT what may well have occurred was a mechanical failure to MacDonald's car somewhere in the northwest turn .. a failure which prevented him from steering, or from being able to apply full lock! This photo shows the young California driver in a slide sideways from the pavement toward the infield. His hands are on the wheel, straight ahead position. The car's wheels are also straight ahead, not turned in the direction of the skid - as would be the normal, automatic correction"

Henry



Interesting...someone speculated that he might have realized that the car was beyond saving, and just let it go...with all that fuel on board, I'd have locked it down as hard as I could, but I'm not a racer. But, maybe such a move with all that extra weight would have upset the car even further, if that's possible...the situation might have been hopeless.


Dan

#483 Gerr

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 14:03

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
This was sent to me and I do not believe it has yet been added to this thread and I do not have a copy of the book mentioned. The photograph may be one that has previously been viewed but the hand placements by Dave is interesting.

Please allow me to re-visit the dynamics of the accident.

"1964 INDIANAPOLIS 500 MILE RACE" YEARBOOK" by floyd Clymer on page 111:

"Exactly what happened may never be known, BUT what may well have occurred was a mechanical failure to MacDonald's car somewhere in the northwest turn .. a failure which prevented him from steering, or from being able to apply full lock! This photo shows the young California driver in a slide sideways from the pavement toward the infield. His hands are on the wheel, straight ahead position. The car's wheels are also straight ahead, not turned in the direction of the skid - as would be the normal, automatic correction"

Henry


There is no such quote on page 111 of the 1964 Clymer yearbook. You will find a similar quote on page 134. Similar, but not the same as the quote you were sent. It reads..

"Exactly what happened in the lightning-fast moments of action may never be known, but what may well have occurred was a mechanical failure to MacDonald's car somewhere in the northwest turn .. a failure which prevented him from steering, or from being able to apply full lock. ( A widely published photo shows the young California driver in a slide sideways from the pavement toward the infield. His hands are on the wheel, in a straight ahead position. The car's wheels are also straight ahead, not turned in the direction of the skid - as would be the normal, automatic correction.)"

This photo does not appear in the yearbook.

#484 Cynic

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 14:21

Henri,

I've only been on Bonneville once, years ago, and I've followed it only loosely and only because Craig Breedlove is a friend. So I'm far from an expert, but I don't remember ANY fatalities at Bonneville. Certainly they're not common.

I'm sure there may have been one or more, but does anyone have any actual data, or specifics?

Cynic

#485 Henri Greuter

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 14:45

Originally posted by Cynic
Henri,

I've only been on Bonneville once, years ago, and I've followed it only loosely and only because Craig Breedlove is a friend. So I'm far from an expert, but I don't remember ANY fatalities at Bonneville. Certainly they're not common.

I'm sure there may have been one or more, but does anyone have any actual data, or specifics?

Cynic




Thanks for correcting me Cynic.
Most appreciated.

henri

#486 TrackDog

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 16:13

Originally posted by Cynic
Henri,

I've only been on Bonneville once, years ago, and I've followed it only loosely and only because Craig Breedlove is a friend. So I'm far from an expert, but I don't remember ANY fatalities at Bonneville. Certainly they're not common.

I'm sure there may have been one or more, but does anyone have any actual data, or specifics?

Cynic

Wasn't Athol Graham killed at Bonneville in 1960? And I thought a motorcyclist was killed there too, recently; but I don't recall the name...


I could be wrong about the location, but I remember reading about Athol as a youngster[I was 6 in 1960, and already really into racing...my father was buying me car magazines before I could read...].

Back to MacDonald...he didn't seem to try to correct the skid at all, from what I've seen [images posted here and Youtube video...], and that's puzzling.


Dan

#487 Henri Greuter

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 08:31

Originally posted by Henri Greuter



What I think to be very interesting is that this car is white and has the Mickey Thompson writing on the sidepod. While the white car on Anton's picture has the same kind of writing.

The additional streamlining of 1964 also appears to be added onto or an original piece replaced, at least on the top side ahead of the rear wheel.

Thus maybe this white car on Anton's picture is indeed the 1964 car of Eddie Johnson?


Henri



I kind of wondered....

the latest date known about that pancake car still existing is about '89.
But has it shown up somewhere else ever since since leaving the Thompson warehouse?
In whatever state and/or state?


Henri

#488 HistoricMustang

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 09:08

Peter Byant's book Can-Am Challenger, page 172.

I personally do not have a copy of this book but understand there is a photograph of Dave's car.

My question.

Is the car located in the Indy garage area or someplace else?

And, what exactly does verbage associated with the photograph indicate.

Also, if anyone has contact with Peter Bryant could they verify his conversation at the Monterey Historics with Dave's brother about possibily seening Dave's car back at the Thompson shop under some type of repair or restoration?

Henry

#489 McGuire

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 10:02

Originally posted by TrackDog


Wasn't Athol Graham killed at Bonneville in 1960? And I thought a motorcyclist was killed there too, recently; but I don't recall the name...


I could be wrong about the location, but I remember reading about Athol as a youngster[I was 6 in 1960, and already really into racing...my father was buying me car magazines before I could read...].

Back to MacDonald...he didn't seem to try to correct the skid at all, from what I've seen [images posted here and Youtube video...], and that's puzzling.


Dan

Yes, Athol Graham's death was at Bonneville, followed two years later by the death of Glenn Leasher, driving a jet car built by Romeo Palamides (founder of American Racing Equipment, the wheel manufacturer). In this car, ironically named Infinity, the driver sat front and center at the intake diffuser. The car rolled and flipped at the flying mile mark, got airborne and drilled in nose first. The wreckage sat there on the salt for several years.


Posted Image

#490 McGuire

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 10:16

Originally posted by Gerr


There is no such quote on page 111 of the 1964 Clymer yearbook. You will find a similar quote on page 134. Similar, but not the same as the quote you were sent. It reads..

"Exactly what happened in the lightning-fast moments of action may never be known, but what may well have occurred was a mechanical failure to MacDonald's car somewhere in the northwest turn .. a failure which prevented him from steering, or from being able to apply full lock. ( A widely published photo shows the young California driver in a slide sideways from the pavement toward the infield. His hands are on the wheel, in a straight ahead position. The car's wheels are also straight ahead, not turned in the direction of the skid - as would be the normal, automatic correction.)"

This photo does not appear in the yearbook.


Here the writer in the yearbook does not know what he is talking about, no offense. When the car spun, MacDonald did exactly what one would expect him to do.

Indy 101: On an oval with an open-wheel car, never ever steer into a skid or slide. When you chase the car with the steering wheel, you are effectively steering it straight into the wall. (That is exactly how Gordon Smiley bought it.) Instead, you just let the car go or even turn down to the inside to help the car rotate in order to scrub off speed.

All this is especially pounded into road racers over and over again when they first arrive at Indy, as it runs perfectly counter to their intuition and experience. This is also why the crews will adjust a ton of push (understeer) into the car until they are certain that the driver gets it.

#491 David M. Kane

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 14:54

McGuire:

You are absolutely correct about Gordon Smiley. I remember a very amped up Johnny Rutherford being interviewed at the time and he was very upset...he practically screamed, "you never, never..."

#492 HistoricMustang

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 19:58

Originally posted by McGuire


Indy 101: On an oval with an open-wheel car, never ever steer into a skid or slide. When you chase the car with the steering wheel, you are effectively steering it straight into the wall. (That is exactly how Gordon Smiley bought it.) Instead, you just let the car go or even turn down to the inside to help the car rotate in order to scrub off speed.


Does this same logic at Indy apply to both rear engine and front engine vehicles?

Henry

#493 McGuire

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 05:13

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


Does this same logic at Indy apply to both rear engine and front engine vehicles?

Henry


It's not my "logic," Ace, it's physics and geometry. And not engine location. It's simply relative to speed and grip. At 60 mph on a wide race track, if the tail steps out you will have the room and the time to steer into the slide and catch the car before you arrive at the wall. With an Indy car at the Brickyard the driver does not. In fact, if he is correcting the slide by steering into it and he is successful -- the car suddenly catches -- he is into the wall in a heartbeat because that is exactly where he was steering it.

For example, go to Youtube and review the Smiley crash. He tried to chase the car up the track and drove it straight into the wall.

#494 McGuire

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 05:16

Originally posted by David M. Kane
McGuire:

You are absolutely correct about Gordon Smiley. I remember a very amped up Johnny Rutherford being interviewed at the time and he was very upset...he practically screamed, "you never, never..."


I remember that too. That crash shook up a lot of people.

#495 HistoricMustang

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 11:57

Originally posted by McGuire

It's not my "logic," Ace


Was not attempting to be a smart ass. If it comes across that way then my apology.

My lack of oval laps brought forth the question.

Henry

#496 David M. Kane

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 23:38

Yes McGuire it did. His injuries were extreme, perhaps even worst, if that is possible, to Francois Cervert's...enough said. It still gives me chillas as I race against him in FF. He was an extremely aggressive and fearless driver, much like Gilles I guess but not at the same talent level. He certainly was no slouch, don't get me wrong; but Gilles was very special. I miss all 3 very, very much.

#497 Henri Greuter

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 10:36

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Yes McGuire it did. His injuries were extreme, perhaps even worst, if that is possible, to Francois Cervert's...enough said. It still gives me chillas as I race against him in FF. He was an extremely aggressive and fearless driver, much like Gilles I guess but not at the same talent level. He certainly was no slouch, don't get me wrong; but Gilles was very special. I miss all 3 very, very much.


I have heard from someone who has said that when you thought Smiley was horrible, the mess of the Tony Renna (end 2003) crash was even worse then that. And that the only good thing about that accident is that there seems to be no footage of it in existance.

Gilles amnd Gordon in tow consecutive weekend, that was really really bad to deal with for me.

Henri.

#498 David M. Kane

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 13:11

Henri:

They all very very bad. I worked for Derek Daley at the time, He had been Tony's mentor and manager for a
while, so a nurse friend of our accountant gave us the full medical details. Yes, it was very brutal. Trust me nothing will ever match Gordon's injuries in my mind; AND I was 100 yards from Francois's accident when it happened. Enough said...

#499 Russ Snyder

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 18:20

Thank you all for the respectfull tone in this thread. It is a very difficult subject to discuss, and this has been handled.

Before I continue...

Rip Eddie Sachs - you were one of my Dads favs along with Rex Mays, Wilbur Shaw, Ted Horn, Vukey..among others. He said you "brought a smile to the room, any room, you walked into"..Dad thought you were a great guy and a superb driver!

Rip Dave Macdonald - you were fearless and determined.

I have followed this thread for the last 6 months, learning all the time, and I would like to add to this discussion regarding a few items.

1. 12 inch to 15inch tires on the Mickey Thompson car:

overhead view below.

Posted Image

w/o ever driving this car, I would suspect that the ragged cuts on the body to make room for the 15 inch tires would have a wind buffering effect....ie wind @ 140-160mph causing major unstability. It also clearly shows where the fuel went, however, in my opinion I could see how it would be feasible to add another 44 gallon tank on the other side.....not saying they did, but they had the room to add it.


The shot below might be new to this thread? I believe it shows a moment after Dave has impacted the wall and is sliding back onto the track. The cars coming around I believe are Eddie, Johnny Rutherford, Ronnie Duman, Bobby Unser....it shows how little time they had to make a decision at to go high/low. It appears from the photo that the decision to go high was the right one at the time of this photo. They are all going approx 140-160????

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This final shot is Eddie right after the hit, turned sideways. One thinks he must have been pinned from the force of the crash.


Posted Image


Again, that you for a very respectfull discussion on a very difficult subject.

I welcome all comments.

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#500 Russ Snyder

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 18:51

Originally posted by McGuire


With an Indy car at the Brickyard the driver does not. In fact, if he is correcting the slide by steering into it and he is successful -- the car suddenly catches -- he is into the wall in a heartbeat because that is exactly where he was steering it.


McGuire - What you described is exactly what happened to the NOVI Special Gov drivers of the late 1940's and early 1950's.

Ralph Hepburn 1948 Qualifying - was doing approx 130 mph into turn one when he dipped into the grass, he steered into the slide and abruptly went straight into the wall.

Chet Miller 1953 Qualifying- almost identical to Ralph Hepburns accident coming out of the straightaway. Same turn, same outcome. Miller had applied the gas and steered into the slide reasoning the car would right itself and he could catch it on the short chute. Sadly, he did not. He hit wall full force. It was from lessons like these that Dave probably did not try and steer out of the slide....