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The Mickey Thompson 'Sears Allstate Special' cars of 1964


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#501 E.B.

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 23:16

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
Chet Miller 1953 Qualifying- almost identical to Ralph Hepburns accident coming out of the straightaway. Same turn, same outcome.


Exactly the same car too.

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#502 TrackDog

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 04:29

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
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.


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

I welcome all comments.



Judging from the trail of flaming gasoline that stops about midway across the track and the fireball erupting just beyond it, I've always assumed that this photo was of the moment that the second explosion occurred, from the impact of Sachs and MacDonald colliding. There is another photo taken a fraction of a second later that shows two fireballs, one at the position of the explosion in this picture, and another closer to the outside wall. This second photo shows the last few cars approaching the accident, and Norm Hall's car is already spinning. Eddie Johnson's car is also plainly visible, as he was running near the tail end of the field.

I personally believe that Sachs' car pushed MacDonald's car sideways for a short distance before the second explosion, and that Sachs' car probably bounced sideways as a result of that impact and headed toward the outside wall. The impact of hitting MacDonald probably caused the rear end of Sachs' car to bounce into the air, and Rutherford drove underneath it at that instant.

If I knew how, I'd post the second picture I've alluded to...it was taken by the same photographer that took the shot Russ posted.


Dan

#503 TrackDog

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 04:36

Originally posted by Russ Snyder


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....



Just a minor nit...Hepburn's crash was in the third turn, and Miller died in turn one. Other than that, the accidents were identical. Ironically, Miller was scheduled to drive a Novi in 1948, and bailed out after Hep's crash, opting to drive the Don Lee Mercedes instead.



Dan

#504 Henri Greuter

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 07:25

Originally posted by David M. Kane
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...



I never heard exactly what had happened with Francois and I doubt if I want to know that. To my knowledge there has not been published toio many details about his injuries and I suppose you know why that wasn't done.
Bit OT but I also have understood that Michele Alboreto came off much worse then Audi wanted the public to know.

Henri

#505 Henri Greuter

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 07:38

Originally posted by Russ Snyder


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....



This post generated some replies already, including some more bizarre details that migh be considered coincidence.
Indeed, Hepburn and Miller died driving the very same 1946 built Novi FWD. Miller was originally assigned to the 1947 built sister car that he vacated and then being taken over by Duke Nalon.
Another bizarre fact that Hepburn and Miller share ist that at the time of their deaths they were the current track record holders for both 1 and 4 laps, having set these records in the very same car in which they also lost their lives.

Very slightly realted with this topic: Mickey Thompson reutrned to Indy in 1965 with a Chevy Powered Front wheel drive car, driven by Bob Mathouser. Bob made a qualifying attempt but didn't finish the 4 laps. His fastest lap however was faster than Chet Miller's fastest lap in 1952 and to this day, this lap of Mathouser is the official track record for FWD cars.
Chet Miller's 1952 qualifying average, however, is still the official track record for FWD cars and the oldest, still standing track record at the Speedway.
But one of Mickey Thompson's creations is still within the Record books at Indy.....



Henri

#506 Russ Snyder

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 12:11

Originally posted by TrackDog



Just a minor nit...Hepburn's crash was in the third turn, and Miller died in turn one. Other than that, the accidents were identical. Ironically, Miller was scheduled to drive a Novi in 1948, and bailed out after Hep's crash, opting to drive the Don Lee Mercedes instead.



Dan


Thank you Dan. I realized the mistake when I looked at my Jack Fox 1967 edition last night. Turn 3 for Hepburn, Turn 1 for Miller. My apologies, although my intent was to say that those men had a slide at HIGH speed, and tried to steer out resulting in head on collision with the wall. To those not familiar with the Oval track, letting the car go was the safest thing at that speed.

#507 Russ Snyder

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 12:24

Posted Image

Dan

Thank your thoughts on this picture. In this pic, I presumed that Macdonald was in his burning and exploding car heading towards the wall and Eddie was in a mostly white car with JR was on his tailagainst the wall ...with the rest behind trying to avoid.

Any thoughts on the air flow @ 140mph lifting the car slightly due to the cuts in the wheel wells?

#508 Henri Greuter

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 13:53

Originally posted by TrackDog



, as he was running near the tail end of the field.

I personally believe that Sachs' car pushed MacDonald's car sideways for a short distance before the second explosion, and that Sachs' car probably bounced sideways as a result of that impact and headed toward the outside wall. The impact of hitting MacDonald probably caused the rear end of Sachs' car to bounce into the air, and Rutherford drove underneath it at that instant.

Dan



I wonder if Rutherford ran underneath Eddie. But t be honest, I also don't know how he could run over Eddie's car.
The story about the lemon that Eddie wore around his neck ending up in Rutherford's car, I can't figure out how that ever could have happened.

But that shot of Eddie's car is absolutely dramatic and new to me.

Henri

#509 Russ Snyder

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 14:26

Originally posted by Henri Greuter



I wonder if Rutherford ran underneath Eddie. But t be honest, I also don't know how he could run over Eddie's car.
The story about the lemon that Eddie wore around his neck ending up in Rutherford's car, I can't figure out how that ever could have happened.

But that shot of Eddie's car is absolutely dramatic and new to me.

Henri


Hello Henri

The lemon ....Thats why I always believed Eddie is in the shadow of this pic near the wall with JR on his tail as Macdonalds exploding car creeps across the straightaway. JR went airborn on the wall and lands on all 4 wheels. Youtube verifys this from diff angels. Again, the stark reality is that these men had only 1-3 seconds whilst going 130-140(?) mph out of the turn after Macdonald made the impact to make a decision. I think I can count 4 seconds from the time Macdonald impacts the wall and Eddie and the rest come into the mess.

Posted Image



The shot of Eddie was added to show his desperation and hopelessness of his situation.

#510 Russ Snyder

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 14:31

Everyone

Here is a comprehensive look at the accident courtesy of youtube (i hope I do not get into trouble with the lords of the board)

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=hTmZuiR0RXA

#511 McGuire

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 17:32

Originally posted by Russ Snyder


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.


A few points... the envelope bodywork with enclosed wheels was actually developed for the 15" wheels. The car ran with open wheel bodywork (the "pancake" configuration) with the 12" wheels in the 1963 race. The enclosed body was fitted for the 1964 race, at some point after March 1964 testing. (Photos and links posted in this thread by Walter Zoomie show the progression.) Since one anticipated benefit of the shorter wheels was reduced aero drag, we can presume the enclosed body was an attempt to recoup that advantage with the taller 15" wheels.

However, we can see that once the car began running in May, the tops of the fenders on the new bodywork were quickly chopped off as Thompson and crew attempted to sort the car, probably because the fenders were trapping air and producing excessive lift.

There was not room in the right side pod for a second 44-gallon tank identical to that on the left side, due to the location of the oil cooler and other gear in that location. However, there possibly would be room for a smaller tank. That leaves the problem of how to fill the tank, as the photos clearly show there was no right-side fuel door. While it is possible to arrange the plumbing so that a right side pony tank could be filled via the left tank fuel filler, it is not practical.

#512 Russ Snyder

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 17:48

Originally posted by McGuire


A few points... the envelope bodywork with enclosed wheels was actually developed for the 15" wheels. The car ran with open wheel bodywork (the "pancake" configuration) with the 12" wheels in the 1963 race. The enclosed body was fitted for the 1964 race, at some point after March 1964 testing. (Photos and links posted in this thread by Walter Zoomie show the progression.) Since one anticipated benefit of the shorter wheels was reduced aero drag, we can presume the enclosed body was an attempt to recoup that advantage with the taller 15" wheels.

However, we can see that once the car began running in May, the tops of the fenders on the new bodywork were quickly chopped off as Thompson and crew attempted to sort the car, probably because the fenders were trapping air and producing excessive lift.

There was not room in the right side pod for a second 44-gallon tank identical to that on the left side, due to the location of the oil cooler and other gear in that location. However, there possibly would be room for a smaller tank. That leaves the problem of how to fill the tank, as the photos clearly show there was no right-side fuel door. While it is possible to arrange the plumbing so that a right side pony tank could be filled via the left tank fuel filler, it is not practical.


McGuire

Thank you. I have looked at the Walter Zoomie pics and understand the progression...however, was the car run at a full fuel capacity and speed before the race in that particular condition? Other have asked the same question...and I am not sure there is an answer.

The smaller fuel tank makes complete sense to these eyes, the idea was to limit the number of stops. Again, I am not saying there was another, it just seems so logical for the times.

Amazed that the ragged cuts on the body work would NOT cause lift, whilst the normal body was catching air and causing lift. I would think the other way round....but thats one of the things that makes this sport so dangerous. unknown vs maybe vs probably vs ?????....you just don't know till raceday!

#513 David M. Kane

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 18:11

Wow! I had never noted before how far he was into the turn when he spun. It actually looked like he was already going straight to me?

#514 Russ Snyder

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 15:01

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Wow! I had never noted before how far he was into the turn when he spun. It actually looked like he was already going straight to me?


Hello David

Thats one reason why I wondered if "Air/Turbulance" caused the front of the vehical to lift ever slighty, throwing it into its helpless spin?

I think Speed is the key factor here folks.

When we spin, or lose control at 55-75 mph on the interstates, it can be catastrophic.

Think about spinning at 120-140 mph in those exposed cars...in traffic going the same speed.

.....this thread has opened some questions for me and answered some questions...but the issue of speed never changes.

#515 Cynic

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 15:15

If the cut fenders were going to cause air turbulance and lift, wouldn't this have been much more likely to have occurred on the backstretch, or if in a turn, Turn Three?

If this condition (turbulance and lift) was a cause of the spin and therefore the accident, what was unique about Turn Four that caused the problem? MacDonald had already driven at higher speed (on the backstretch) and turned in from a higher speed (Turn Three), each time (also) in a pack of cars.

I can't really accept the "bump" discussed earlier as significant either. If that bump were such a problem, with 33 cars going over it 200 times in the race (ignoring the rest of May) we'd have cars crashing everywhere. It's hard for me to believe that the bump plays any role.

Perhaps there are answer to these questions. I just don't see them.

Cynic

#516 Russ Snyder

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 15:27

Originally posted by Cynic
If the cut fenders were going to cause air turbulance and lift, wouldn't this have been much more likely to have occurred on the backstretch, or if in a turn, Turn Three?

If this condition (turbulance and lift) was a cause of the spin and therefore the accident, what was unique about Turn Four that caused the problem? MacDonald had already driven at higher speed (on the backstretch) and turned in from a higher speed (Turn Three), each time (also) in a pack of cars.

I can't really accept the "bump" discussed earlier as significant either. If that bump were such a problem, with 33 cars going over it 200 times in the race (ignoring the rest of May) we'd have cars crashing everywhere. It's hard for me to believe that the bump plays any role.

Perhaps there are answer to these questions. I just don't see them.

Cynic


hey Cynic

According to eyewitness accounts (other drivers)...Macdonalds car was giving him those very problems you describe as he was zooming around turn 1, turn 2, the back stretch and into turn 3. To hear JR say "wheezing and lifting all over the track as it went by" ...as discussed before, I wonder if the proximity of the car Macdonald was going to overtake out of turn 4 (Hansgen I believe?) had anything to do with the possible turbulance issue? I say "possible" because I /we just don't know!

Bump? ...I would agree with a "bump" during the brick straightaway days. I would suspect many little bumps along the way with the Bricks back in the day....but a true bump after the track was paved? I would shudder at thinking that they did not have the surface as flat as possible for every May.

#517 shutter

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 16:46

I have always thought that McDonald could have had an aero-push, just like the NASCAR guys have on the 1.5 mile tracks, and over-corrected.

Just a thought.

#518 Henri Greuter

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 14:53

Originally posted by shutter
I have always thought that McDonald could have had an aero-push, just like the NASCAR guys have on the 1.5 mile tracks, and over-corrected.

Just a thought.


I haven't seen any footage yet that indicates how close Dave was to the car in front of him before he lost it. I have the feeling that this is another major point of concern.

Henri

#519 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 22:16

The Len Sutton account makes it clear that McDonald had either turned left or backed off to avoid Hansgen's car... he must, therefore, have been very close to it...

That account is already in this thread.

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#520 HistoricMustang

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 22:52

Originally posted by Ray Bell
The Len Sutton account makes it clear that McDonald had either turned left or backed off to avoid Hansgen's car... he must, therefore, have been very close to it...

That account is already in this thread.


Ray, not sure we have determined if there was side to side movement by the Hansgen car or if he remained in a stable race line. (reference post #397)

This may never be known.

Henry

#521 TrackDog

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 02:16

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


Ray, not sure we have determined if there was side to side movement by the Hansgen's car or if he remained in a stable race line.

This may never be known.

Henry


As I understand the sequence of events from Sutton's account; Hansgen was taking his normal racing line coming off the 4th turn...MacDonald had broadslid through the turn about 10 mph faster than Hansgen, and was cutting underneath him. Hansgen couldn't see MacDonald, and Dave realized this, swerving to the left to miss hitting him up the back. The rear end of the Thompson Allstate car came loose and the car stared a long, lazy spin that MacDonald couldn't correct. The full fuel load, the poor aerodynamics of the car, poor handling of the chassis or the condition of the track in those years, or some combination of all those factors probably contributed to the accident.

I've not heard of anybody involved in the accident or the race in 1964 faulting Hansgen or his car. It seems to be a racing accident.


Dan

#522 Henri Greuter

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 06:26

Originally posted by Ray Bell
The Len Sutton account makes it clear that McDonald had either turned left or backed off to avoid Hansgen's car... he must, therefore, have been very close to it...

That account is already in this thread.



Ray,

No offence to Len Sutton or any other driver out there that day.
But I have become a bit weary about driver statements about this accident.
Johnny Rutherford's statements about McDonald carrying some 80 gallons habve been proven incorrect already.
And I surely understand that, when asked about it, drivers come up with whatever they recall at that moment.
Not that I hereby want to state that Dave was innocent of the accident, (He has a share in it that could have been avoided in my opinion) but I have got the feeling by now that a number of statements were made that day and in later times that come close to the truth yet are not enirely the 100% truth as it really was.
I take Len's words because there is not so much better. But it doesn't take away that I would love to see the overhead shots made of the race and have a view on MacDonald's final corner, when, where, how etc.


Henri

#523 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 10:53

While eye witness statements always have to be taken with a grain of salt, I think we need to distinguish between comments such as Rutherford's about the 80 gallons, and I've found one from Gurney saying it was 100 galllons, and what they saw on the track. Comments about the fuel tank capacity are just repeating Pit Row gossip, but they saw what they saw out there, subject to the usual concerns about eyewitness accounts. More importantly, the film and photo record of this event is the objective framework into which those accounts fit, that is, they are supported by the photographic evidence.

While this thread has cleaned up the fuel capacity and tank design issues and provided some insights into what happened out there, and how it may have happened, it has not, in any way, discredited the long accepted explanation of the accident.

#524 David M. Kane

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Posted 27 October 2007 - 16:13

Pi row gossip...hmm...didn't Gurney use to drive for Thompson? He also was a fellow Californian. If anyone had access to the inside story, it surely would have been Gurney since he knew just about all the key racing people in California at the time. I hear what you all are saying about fuel load, tank capacity, etc., etc., etc.;
but how could Dan so possibly get it so wrong.

I'm D.C. right now, when I return to Scottsdale I'm calling him.

Maybe I'll a letter from AJ in response to my request of for information.

#525 Doug Nye

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 11:12

Might any of the following throw additional light upon this subject:

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1 - Masten Gregory in the pit lane at Indy before concluding that the Thompson car was frightening him.

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2 - Rear end detail of the Thompson car which Gregory drove - difficult to see but little here to suggest it was configured with (intentional) rear-wheel steering at the moment this particular shot was taken. Note distinctive semi-slick tread pattern on the Sears Allstate tyres.

Posted Image
3 - The spare set of Sears Allstate tyres used on this car in the Indy pit row.

All Photos: The GP Library

#526 Cynic

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 12:51

Also note that the "ragged cuts" from post 499 are completely finished.

#527 Gerr

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 13:22

Originally posted by Cynic
Also note that the "ragged cuts" from post 499 are completely finished.


No, these photos are from sometime before the full fender nose came along. I would guess from the March tire tests.

#528 David M. Kane

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 15:17

Doug:

Great photos, the car looks so innocent in these shots!

As Parker Johnstone once said, "when an Indy car is set-up properly, they're a dream to drive, when they're NOT, it's the most terrifying experience you can imagine".

Apparently what was true in 1964 is still true.

I think it's actually a pretty little car; but some women who are cute can bite too!

#529 McGuire

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Posted 28 October 2007 - 19:46

Originally posted by Gerr


No, these photos are from sometime before the full fender nose came along. I would guess from the March tire tests.


Exactly, the March '64 test. Note also the early-style straight exhaust headers on the new '64 DOHC Ford engine, the lack of an engine cover, and the '63 main bodywork. The car(s) tested in a roughly similar configuration in November of '63, with the 15" wheels and tires but with the SB Chevy engine.

So from the various photos of the the '63-'64 cars we can sort out five basic configurations:

1. May 1963: pancake body, SB Chevy, 12" wheels, Firestone tires
2. Nov 1963: pancake body, SB Chevy, 15" wheels, Allstate tires
3. March 1963: pancake body with full width nose added, DOHC Ford, 15" wheels, Allstate tires
4. May 1964, start of month: full envelope body with enclosed wheels, DOHC Ford, 15" wheels, Allstate tires
5. May 1964, by qualifying: full envelope body with fender tops cut off, DOHC Ford, 15" wheels, Allstate tires

In the far left of photo 2 from the most recent batch, I think we can just make out the corner of the fuel tank, just ahead of the engine bulkhead.

#530 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 03:05

You have to give Thompson credit for those 15" wheels and tires, he was a full year ahead of anyone else. On the other hand, the fact that he was testing them in November, 1963, makes the "the car was compromised by the bigger wheels" excuse seem a bit thin.

#531 Russ Snyder

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 20:24

...proving the world is indeed a small place.....here is the cemetary where Eddie is.


http://www.findagrav...ge=gr&GRid=3689


Posted Image


I lived in Bethlehem PA (5 mins away!) from 1992-2000 and never knew ....

My Father always spoke highly of Eddie....he said the world was a sadder place when he left us.

#532 McGuire

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 22:04

Perhaps these photos of the left-side fuel bladder installation might be helpful...top photo courtesy of the Walter Zoomie collection, bottom photo originally from HOT ROD magazine. Obviously, tor there to be 80 gallons of fuel on board another vessel of similar size would have to be installed on the right side as well.

Posted Image
Posted Image

#533 TrackDog

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 06:57

I think we can put the right-side tank theory to rest, now. Also, it doesn't look like it would take much of an impact, on either side of the car, to rupture that bag.


Dan

#534 McGuire

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 13:03

Originally posted by TrackDog
I think we can put the right-side tank theory to rest, now.
Dan


And yet people keep raising the issue. It's like they are not even reading the thread. Curious, isn't it?

#535 David M. Kane

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 13:27

I think it's more that people don't realize the power of even the smallest gasoline fire.

#536 Russ Snyder

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 19:51

Originally posted by David M. Kane
I think it's more that people don't realize the power of even the smallest gasoline fire.


true

and speed.

The overall speed had increased by 1964...heck - Duke Nalon in the Novi as early as 1949 was knocking on 180 mph in the straightaway/back stretch...his troubles were always the corners, where the better handling roadsters overtook him....but thats another story for another thread.

....doing 120-140 mph in the corners/short chute was not out of the question by 1964.

AJ Foyt once said about racing at Indy in 1950's and 60's: "I am surprised more of us didn't die. We were sitting on barstools surrounded by gasoline with nothing more than a seatbelt and little regard for our safety while pushing 150mph"

#537 HistoricMustang

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 22:16

Originally posted by McGuire


And yet people keep raising the issue. It's like they are not even reading the thread. Curious, isn't it?


Yes, I see nothing in this photograph that would indicate any type of fuel passage to the right side from the left side fueling port and photographs already posted indicate no right side fueling port was installed on the cars.

Henry

#538 McGuire

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 13:23

Here is a series of photos rearranged to show, I tend to believe, how the final bodywork configuration resulted... the first photo shows the original May '64 body with front fenders intact. The second photo shows a single slot cut across the top of each fender, apparently to bleed air out of the wheel well. The third photo of Masten Gregory's wreck show a series of at least three slots cut across each fender for the same purpose, while the last shot shows the fender tops lopped off, the final result. To me all this points directly to the "front end lift" problem and the efforts to correct it.

Posted Image
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#539 McGuire

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 13:27

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


Yes, I see nothing in this photograph that would indicate any type of fuel passage to the right side from the left side fueling port and photographs already posted indicate no right side fueling port was installed on the cars.

Henry


Yup. Here is the car a mere instant from the impact with the inside wall. No right-side fuel filler, and an air duct passing straight through where a right-side tank would be, probably to the oil cooler.

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#540 Henri Greuter

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Posted 31 October 2007 - 15:45

Originally posted by McGuire


Yup. Here is the car a mere instant from the impact with the inside wall. No right-side fuel filler, and an air duct passing straight through where a right-side tank would be, probably to the oil cooler.

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Anyone still believeng MacDonald carrying more than 50 gallons?

Henri

#541 Russ Snyder

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 13:18

Originally posted by Henri Greuter



Anyone still believeng MacDonald carrying more than 50 gallons?

Henri


Henri

The problem I have is....trying to believe it only had that amount on board until this thread. This thread proved to me he had only 45 gallons

Edited by Russ Snyder, 30 December 2011 - 19:58.


#542 David M. Kane

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 13:27

I accept the "technical facts"; but why do 2 drivers do not accept them...Gurney and Rutherford? Because no one has ever seen a fire like that then and or since...gasoline fires are extremely powerful with even limited fuel, let alone 40 gallons!

#543 TrackDog

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Posted 01 November 2007 - 20:38

The famous picture of MacDonald coming off the wall in a mass of flames was taken at the exact instant the fuel ignited...a great mass of atomized gasoline droplets from the tank bursting and possibly the fuel pump being damaged by the rear suspension. If that picture is taken out of context, as it often seems to be, it certainly looks like there had to be much more than 44 gallons of fuel involved. And, since there was a second explosion after Sachs collided with Dave, and we know from mechanics involved with Sachs' car that only one 5 gallon tank exploded in his car; only a portion of that 44 gallons actually was buring in the first impact.


Also, there's the fact that it took 20 minutes, 900 pounds of foam, 100 firefighters and 6 firetrucks to put out the fire.

It is a testament to the flammability of gasoline, and to the inadequacy of safety measures in play in 1964...


Dan

#544 David M. Kane

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 13:23

TrackDog:

Those are some seriously frightening fire fighting facts! Even today I think most of us would still be surprised
if we saw just 5 gallons burst in flames in our presence.

#545 Russ Snyder

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 17:45

Originally posted by David M. Kane
I accept the "technical facts"; but why do 2 drivers do not accept them...Gurney and Rutherford? Because no one has ever seen a fire like that then and or since...gasoline fires are extremely powerful with even limited fuel, let alone 40 gallons!


Those 2 must believe, wrongly or rightly, that there was some type of reserve rubber bladder snaked around, or some type of contraption, to hold extra fuel for no/or limited stops.

#546 T54

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 20:35

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by TrackDog
I think we can put the right-side tank theory to rest, now.
Dan
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And yet people keep raising the issue. It's like they are not even reading the thread. Curious, isn't it?


Reading the whole thread is like reading Kafka... :

#547 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 22:40

Originally posted by Russ Snyder


Those 2 must believe, wrongly or rightly, that there was some type of reserve rubber bladder snaked around, or some type of contraption, to hold extra fuel for no/or limited stops.


I'm the one who dragged Gurney into this. My read of the quote is that he was being interviewed years later when he made the comment, NOT contemporaneously with the crash, and so, it is probably just a case of his memory playing tricks on him.

We've got the Bryant qoutes and a zillion photos that show no signs of a right side tank.

#548 McGuire

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Posted 03 November 2007 - 12:41

The rubber fuel bladder had no foam liner, and only a rudimentary sort of "box" or enclosure to ride in. (The fiberglass body panels served as the top and bottom, with thin aluminum sheet at the front and back.) It would seem that in the impact with the inside wall, the full fuel bladder burst open more or less like a water balloon, throwing gasoline into the air in the form of sheets, showers of droplets, and clouds of vapor. Upon impact with the Sachs car the fuel was splashed and thrown up into the air a second time.

That is a highly effective way to burn a large quantity of gasoline, as the maximum volume of fuel molecules are then exposed to the maximum volume of air. Far, far more effective than say, simply placing a 44-gallon tub of gasoline in the middle of the track and lighting it -- there only the gasoline on the surface of the tub and thus exposed to the atmosphere can burn. And much more effective (and spectacular) than pouring the 44 gallons of gasoline out on the ground and lighting it.

#549 HistoricMustang

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 12:07

Originally posted by McGuire
Here is a series of photos rearranged to show, I tend to believe, how the final bodywork configuration resulted... the first photo shows the original May '64 body with front fenders intact. The second photo shows a single slot cut across the top of each fender, apparently to bleed air out of the wheel well. The third photo of Masten Gregory's wreck show a series of at least three slots cut across each fender for the same purpose, while the last shot shows the fender tops lopped off, the final result. To me all this points directly to the "front end lift" problem and the efforts to correct it.

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I have been reminded, and now seem to remember, that cuts across the top of fenders were perhaps a means to get around the rules and meet Indy "open wheel" requirements.

This does make sense because of the cuts being more on top and front side of the wheel well. If meant solely for the release of traped air it would seem that the logical location would have been in the rear section of the wheel well.

Any other thoughts on this?

Henry

#550 fines

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 15:43

Originally posted by T54
Reading the whole thread is like reading Kafka... :

I'd kinda have to agree here! :lol:

One of my firm beliefs is that if mankind stopped wasting its time with foolish conspiracy theories it might actually get someplace. But then again, humans are inherently stupid, so probably not...

On the other hand, this thread has been quite productive despite all of its clutter and nonsense, and it does for once not shy away from discussing cruelty and gore for that, after all, is what motor racing is about from time to time, my fellow motorheads! I am particularily glad that we can have discussions like this without some hear-no-see-no-talk-no-evils raising voice and concern about a no-no being dragged out of a cellar.

But a few things I simply don't get: why does everybody rely on the flimsiest bit of evidence as long as it comes from a "name" and is repeated often enough??? Examples?

- Jim Clark getting out of his car and going over to MacDonald, telling him to quit the Thompson car etc. - who told you that? Clark? MacDonald?? Or "God" himself??? Even if Clark blurted out something like that after the accident (it's hardly likely he did so before), it is exactly the sort of thing people tend to say after a catastrophe like that.

- Jack Brabham's report of him keeping a close eye on MacDonald before the accident and stopping as soon as he saw the car get out of control... sorry, but what a load of BS! Black Jack started four rows behind the Thompson, and at the time of the accident there were close to twenty cars between the two of them. Try keeping a close eye on a car that far ahead in ordinary traffic! But what do you expect of someone who doesn't even remember if the accident happened on the first or second lap...

- Johnny Rutherford, well... he's very good with the media, but very much less so with the truth, something I had noticed before. If he dislikes somebody, he is likely to tell stories, and some of his stuff is just not coherent. How did he see MacDonald touching another car on lap 1 when he claims to have been ahead of him until the south chute on lap 2? I'm not saying all of his utterings are wrong, but we need to be careful!

- and yes, of course, every man and his dog had a premonition that something bad was going to happen, and everyone knew that the car was a death trap and so on and so on and so on - don't you ever get tired of that BS?

Actually, all of the stuff regarding the Thompson being a difficult car to drive is highly entertaining in a way: of course it was difficult to drive, that's why it took racing drivers to tame it! But to think it would have been any more difficult or even more dangerous than a Lotus, Brabham or even one of the roadsters is stark nonsense! Of course, MacDonald, Gregory et al declared it a shitbox to drive, racing drivers do that routinely to make themselves look better, if you haven't noticed. If it really was that impossible, why did Gregory for example get back into one on bump day? Why was a journeyman driver like Eddie Johnson capable of qualifying one 11th fastest?? Why would a rookie like MacDonald have the confidence in the car to attack right from the start the way he did???

Apropos MacDonald: to say he was "intimidated" or even put under pressure by Ford or an "obstinate team owner" (I think this particular poster really needs some education about the realities - and economics! - of racing in general) is way out of line. Every picture I have seen of MacDonald during that fateful month he was very obviously brimming with confidence, oozing determination and self-esteem and every bit the coming man, and he knew it. Yes, the "Good Ole Boys" resented him being a sporty car driver, but even they raved about him secretly, the same way they had raved about Clark ever since he had arrived at the Brickyard. Everybody knew his car control was extra-terrestrial, and most of all Dave knew it himself. A bit too much, perhaps, and of course there's no substitute for experience, especially at the IMS - the tiniest of mistakes, and off you go!

Actually, he did try to save it road-racing style, as his reflexes told him to, until it was too late for both saving it and spinning it out - tough luck, and a simple rookie mistake. Verdict: too much confidence and too little experience by the driver, but there was nothing wrong with the car, at least not in the context of the time. As for the sister car to be "in a pretty shabby state of preparation", you may have noticed that the bodywork is singed - on the DVD footage it can be seen that it is one of the cars that were actually on fire, like Rutherford's. I'm sure only two hours earlier it looked picture perfect, after all this is "the 500"!

I think Len Sutton may have come closest with his reminiscence (although he manages to ignore Don Branson who was running immediately ahead of him and behind MacDonald!), in that Hansgen forced Dave off-line at a critical point, the notorious bump being instrumental in a number of incidents, most notably Clark's "Spinning Takes Practice" episode. But surely MacDonald was nothing like 10 mph faster than ole Walt, with Branson and Sutton following that closely! More nonsense from someone who should know better.

Somebody questioned the caution lights being there already in 1964 - yes, indeed they were, for three decades already! And they were usually quick to turn them on, mostly before the crashing car had a chance to come to rest! I seem to recall a photograph or footage showing the light was on before the second explosion, but I may be confusing incidents here as I can't seem to find the evidence now. The pace car going out to "collect" the field wasn't introduced until 1979; the stupid concept of "racing to the flag" wasn't invented until many years later, when sex had become more dangerous than racing. These cars had virtually no brakes, so the driver faced the option of spinning and crashing or forcing his way through - between a rock and a hard place! Only Duman (according to Unser) and Hall spun, and both had rather lucky escapes. (In-car radios were also invented in the 30s, but not used in the 60s afaik)

Other incredulities: Fred Bailey claiming to have investigated his (surely extensive) footage and still getting so many simple facts wrong. I have only watched a commercially available DVD a couple of times and could tell from memory that he was wrong. To make sure, I checked again and made notes: the "Decades" DVD shows 32 cars on the home straight and through Turn 1, then all 33 of them in the short chute, and the order is basically the same except for a few cars on the outside getting ahead before Turn 2: 1 Clark, 2 Jones, 3 Marshman, 4 Foyt, 5 Ward, 6 Gurney, 7 Ruby, 8 Hurtubise, 9 Hansgen, 10 Sutton, 11 Branson, 12 Rathmann, 13 Sachs, 14 Boyd, 15 Rutherford, 16 MacDonald, 17 Duman, 18 Ruttman, 19 White, 20 Unser, 21 Cheesbourg, 22 Tingelstad, 23 McElreath, 24 Grim, 25 Veith, 26 Johnson, 27 Stevenson, 28 Brabham, 29 Mathouser, 30 Harkey, 31 Hall, 32 Wente, 33 Malone.

At the end of lap 2 it's 1 Clark, 2 Marshman, 3 Ward, 4 Foyt, just being overtaken by 5 Gurney, 6 Jones, 7 Ruby, 8 Hurtubise, with 9 Hansgen drawing alongside, and 10 MacDonald spinning off, 11 Branson, blocking 12 Sutton, 13 Rathmann (I believe) and then it gets murky: one more white car makes it through and I'd like to believe it's Veith, but that's difficult to tie in with Rutherford`s supposed encounter with him on lap 3. Next come Sachs and Rutherford, obviously the first ones to get trapped, but what were the relative positions of Duman, Unser and the rest? The first batch of cars to emerge unscathed from the carnage are probably Boyd, White, Cheesbourg, Ruttman, Tingelstad, McElreath and Grim (there's a fade-out so it's hard to tell), then Brabham, Stevenson, Johnson and Mathouser, with Harkey, Wente and Malone managing to stop before the holocaust and Hall spinning into the wall. I'd really love to know how the order was going into Turn 4, perhaps Henri can help here with the footage from First Turn Productions? There are a few more interesting things that I haven't seen discussed, like Eddie's LF wheel ending up as a burning comet raining down on Grandstand H (was anybody hurt?), or Stevenson's actual involvement in the accident etc.

Bottom line: though MacDonald was definitely moving up, he wasn't on a charge like Veith or Cheesbourg, for example. Just good and steady progress, in his usual style: tail out! Perhaps you have to remember that it had been only three or four years since Hurtubise and Jones had come to the Speedway to horrify the officials with their "loose style" of driving, and yet they had been extremely successful, and popular! Ten years earlier, they had made the mistake to send away someone with similar ability and the potential to become a star, Wally Campbell. Times were changing, and USAC certainly tried to learn from the past. That's also why road racers like MacDonald or Hansgen were welcomed, while oval racers like White or Andretti were having a tough time.

Sorry for the length of the post, but this is a long thread and I spent a few hours reading everything, and some of it shouldn't remain uncommented. Also, my advice to the MacDonald family: if you really want to get a book written about Dave, then get a good author, and leave him alone! Stop doing nonsense like this, or nobody will want to read the book. I think I can understand a lot of your motives - I had a brother die in a motorcycle accident over twenty years ago, and to this day I am convinced it was manslaughter by negligence. The powers that be didn't take long to dismiss the case, and there's nothing my parents, my other brother and me could do about it, we were certainly not going to fight windmills. A lot of time has passed, and you know what: today I don't even care if he died because of his own recklessness or through the hand of somebody else, all that matters is that I still remember him the way I liked him best. Sorry, but I have to stop here.