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The Mickey Thompson 'Sears Allstate Special' cars of 1964


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#751 Flat Black

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 15:30

In my copy of the official program for the 1964 Indy 500, Duane Carter is listed as the driver of the #84 Thompson entry. Is this simply a misprint? Or if it isn't, why did Carter not qualify the car and drive it in the race?

Below is a rather fanciful account from the August 1964 issue of Motor Trend .

Then, as the rest of the field came around to complete the second lap, Lady Luck pointed her finger--and two good men died. Rookie Dave MacDonald, one of the most promising young drivers of recent years, suddenly spun coming out of the fourth turn. His Mickey Thompson Allstate Special hit the inside wall and exploded on impact. The car slid back across the track to the outer wall, where it was hit by Eddie Sachs in the Halibrand-built Red Ball Special. Sachs' car was also carrying a full load of gasoline, which immediately exploded. Flames engulfed the width of the track, causing the race to be stopped. Eddie Sachs died instantly in his car from internal injuries caused by the steering wheel. Dave was either thrown or blown from his car when it first exploded. He died 2 1/2 hours later at the hospital.

At this writing, the official USAC inquiry into the accident isn't complete, so anything said about the cause is pure speculation. Some think it was a case of driver error; others say mechanical failure. We may as well add our unqualified opinion. From some of the movies and stills we've seen, it looks like MacDonald knew just what he was doing. It's possible that he had a small fire going inside the car and spun purposely. The car did spin in a position on the track where cars don't usually spin. If he were trying for the infield, it stands to reason that he would've had his harness unbuckled, ready to get out in a hurry. This could explain why he came out of the car when it hit the wall. In one picture, there seem to be heat waves coming off the car in the area of the fuel tank. In most of the pictures, Dave apears [sic] calm, but in one, his face seems to show panic. He isn't looking toward the fast-approaching wall--he's looking down into the car. the car was so badly wrecked that we doubt that whatever really touched off the tragic chain of events will ever be known.

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#752 HistoricMustang

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 16:07

Originally posted by Flat Black
In my copy of the official program for the 1964 Indy 500, Duane Carter is listed as the driver of the #84 Thompson entry. Is this simply a misprint? Or if it isn't, why did Carter not qualify the car and drive it in the race?

Below is a rather fanciful account from the August 1964 issue of Motor Trend .

Then, as the rest of the field came around to complete the second lap, Lady Luck pointed her finger--and two good men died. Rookie Dave MacDonald, one of the most promising young drivers of recent years, suddenly spun coming out of the fourth turn. His Mickey Thompson Allstate Special hit the inside wall and exploded on impact. The car slid back across the track to the outer wall, where it was hit by Eddie Sachs in the Halibrand-built Red Ball Special. Sachs' car was also carrying a full load of gasoline, which immediately exploded. Flames engulfed the width of the track, causing the race to be stopped. Eddie Sachs died instantly in his car from internal injuries caused by the steering wheel. Dave was either thrown or blown from his car when it first exploded. He died 2 1/2 hours later at the hospital.

At this writing, the official USAC inquiry into the accident isn't complete, so anything said about the cause is pure speculation. Some think it was a case of driver error; others say mechanical failure. We may as well add our unqualified opinion. From some of the movies and stills we've seen, it looks like MacDonald knew just what he was doing. It's possible that he had a small fire going inside the car and spun purposely. The car did spin in a position on the track where cars don't usually spin. If he were trying for the infield, it stands to reason that he would've had his harness unbuckled, ready to get out in a hurry. This could explain why he came out of the car when it hit the wall. In one picture, there seem to be heat waves coming off the car in the area of the fuel tank. In most of the pictures, Dave apears [sic] calm, but in one, his face seems to show panic. He isn't looking toward the fast-approaching wall--he's looking down into the car. the car was so badly wrecked that we doubt that whatever really touched off the tragic chain of events will ever be known.


Welcome Flat Black and "period" input into the thread should be appreciated, even if some is well proven incorrect.

Am still trying to get my thoughts together on some information provided to me yesterday as a result of this thread by an individual close to this tragic event. Give me some time before presenting.

Henry

#753 David M. Kane

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 16:27

We have to remember that the Speedway doesn't want this story kept alive, it would prefer that we all just move along. I have mixed feelings...

#754 fines

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 16:45

Originally posted by Flat Black
In my copy of the official program for the 1964 Indy 500, Duane Carter is listed as the driver of the #84 Thompson entry. Is this simply a misprint? Or if it isn't, why did Carter not qualify the car and drive it in the race?

Carter was originally assigned to the third car, and in press presentation(s) it was always made clear that Gregory was driver number one, rookie MacDonald number two and veteran Carter (about to turn 51!) "the third man". It is not clear if he ever did get to drive the car: he was certainly not present at the Indy tests in March, and in the first week of May he was already shaking down the Yunick/Offenhauser, and then practicing in the Ferguson/Novi. Since Gregory wrecked the titanium chassis in the same week, perhaps he was being surplus to requirements? Then again, it was said that Gregory was basically fired after his accident... :

#755 TrackDog

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 19:04

Originally posted by fines

Carter was originally assigned to the third car, and in press presentation(s) it was always made clear that Gregory was driver number one, rookie MacDonald number two and veteran Carter (about to turn 51!) "the third man". It is not clear if he ever did get to drive the car: he was certainly not present at the Indy tests in March, and in the first week of May he was already shaking down the Yunick/Offenhauser, and then practicing in the Ferguson/Novi. Since Gregory wrecked the titanium chassis in the same week, perhaps he was being surplus to requirements? Then again, it was said that Gregory was basically fired after his accident... :


This is from Denny Miller's book EDDIE SACHS: THE CLOWN PRINCE page 524-25...DUANE CARTER---"In 1964, Mickey built what he called a four wheel drive, four wheel steer. In other words the rear wheels would help steer like the front wheels. They were real scary. I think I tried one of them out at Riverside. They had a small 5/8 mile track there. I went out sometime in the winter when he was experimenting with the development and I tried it out. I was terrified."

I'm not sure just how four wheel drive figures intro the equation, but Carter evidently drove one of the cars enough to know he didn't want to risk a run at Indy in it. So, he oipted for the Hurst Floor Shift Special "sidecar", which I understand was also a real handful...


Dan

#756 fines

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Posted 25 May 2008 - 21:25

Originally posted by TrackDog
This is from Denny Miller's book EDDIE SACHS: THE CLOWN PRINCE page 524-25...DUANE CARTER---"In 1964, Mickey built what he called a four wheel drive, four wheel steer. In other words the rear wheels would help steer like the front wheels. They were real scary. I think I tried one of them out at Riverside. They had a small 5/8 mile track there. I went out sometime in the winter when he was experimenting with the development and I tried it out. I was terrified."

That was obviously not the car that was entered at Indy in '64, which was two-wheel drive and, at least in early practice, three-wheel steer.

Your last sentence doesn't make sense, since Carter was never asked to run the 4wd/4ws car at Indy, and he very obviously did want to risk a run in the 2wd/3ws car since he was entered as the third driver in April, i.e. in spring, i.e. after he tested "sometime in winter".

#757 TrackDog

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 02:33

Originally posted by fines

That was obviously not the car that was entered at Indy in '64, which was two-wheel drive and, at least in early practice, three-wheel steer.

Your last sentence doesn't make sense, since Carter was never asked to run the 4wd/4ws car at Indy, and he very obviously did want to risk a run in the 2wd/3ws car since he was entered as the third driver in April, i.e. in spring, i.e. after he tested "sometime in winter".


I'm a little embarrassed...this evidently just isn't my day...

Maybe the car Carter was talking about was the car Mickey brought to Indy in '67...it could have been an early prototype, I guess...

I thought that since Miller was talking about the Allstate cars, then Carter probably was, too...and maybe his memory was a little hazy. A lot of the quotes in Miller's book seem rather vague, somehow...the reader doesn't always get to find out just when they were made, and it seems that many of the quotes are almost anecdotal in nature. And it's hard to keep track of the relationship of some of the people quoted to the principal characters in the story. I just got a little confused, I guess.

I also think I read someplace that Carter did test one of the '64 cars, and declined to race it; but I don't remember offhand just where that story came from. I remember him saying in effect that the car was okay in it's '63 configuration, but not as it was in '64.

When did Carter agree to drive the Hurst sidecar? As I recall, the only reason he didn't try to qualify it was because iof sponsorship issues regarding spark plugs.


Dan

#758 HistoricMustang

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 11:46

The Alternate, The Inside Story of the Sachs/MacDonald/Indianapolis 1964 500

May 15, 2007 by Bob Falcon

The Investigation

The Shrike's chief designer, Norm Timbs, requested me to assist him making a survey diagram of the crash site. Clarence Cagle, the well known grounds supervisor of IMS, on the next morning cleared our presence on the race track.

Spotting the final location of the coupled cars was easy since the scorched pavement was quite visible. I walked along the infield wall looking for telltale marks that might show evidence of the events of the accident. I spotted a shallow gouge in the infield turn along the crash wall then leading towards the track. The gouge remained shallow across the track apron and on about two feet of the track surface it became deeper for a few inches, and abruptly turned towards the scorched spot on the track surface.

I showed the gouge to Norm and we presumed that it was the point of impact. Then we started to pace off the distances between the various marks we found to compose a diagram of the site. Later, on our return out west, this data was turned over to the stress engineering team for analysis. Their report revealed some amazing statistics. They surmised that if the "crumple" damage in the monocoque had occurred in the first four feet after impact, they estimated an impact force of 100 G's! Their report stated that, although the fire was a contributing factor to the cause of the accident, the deaths were not totally fire related. They stated neither of the drivers would have survivied the internal injuries induced by the intensive G forces generated by the impact.

The accident may well have been the first 100 G crash in the history of the 500. In today's racing world, impacts in this range are common place. Driver protection and car safety, in general, have imporved to the point of making these high G crashes survivable.

Henry

#759 HistoricMustang

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 12:06

The Alternate, The Inside Story of the Sachs/MacDonald/Indianapolis 1964 500

May 15, 2007 by Bob Falcon

continued.....

Several weeks after the return to Los Angeles an 8 mm home movie of the crash arrived in the mail at Halibrand Engineering. Ted and I watched the film a few times, then I did a study viewing the footage on an editor. This permitted a frame-by-frame analysis.

The movie was shot from a camera position in the grandstand located on the infield and protected by the crash wall that was struck by MacDonald. From that point onward many details were revealed. The camera position, which was important to the study, began a little south of MacDonald's impact with the wall and tracked his path along the wall which ended with the crash between the two cars on a straight line from where the impact between the two cars was in the direct line-of-sight to the camera lens. This is what I learned, and assumed, from the film.

When the car smacked the wall with a right side impact, the large fuel bladder weighing in the estimated 350 pounds was driven towards the inner wall of the cockpit by the inertia of the collision. As the inertia caused the bladder to move latterly, the fuel load was compressed. This movement caused a tear in the bladder wall in the vicinity of the refueling cap mounting flange. The gasoline, the under compression, was squeezed through this tear and probably through the fuel cap that may have been unlatched by the impact. The raw fuel vapor sprayed over the driver toward the right rear corner of the car, where enoughtr sparks were present to ignite the vaporized hight octane gasoline, turning it into a wick that burned back to the leaking fuel bladder, igniting the remaining fuel supply.

The entire surfact of the bodywork was engulfed in flame as the car slid backward onto the racing groove where it was stopped abruptly due to a car clambering over the top in the resultant melee made worse by the dense smoke and the huge fire. Sachs struck the Thompson car dead center of the fuel bladder which now exploded and sprayed flaming gasoline over the top surface of the Shrike.

Sachs perished instantly from the impact of the steering column, MacDonald reportedly succumbled late in the day at the infield trauma center from seared lungs.

Henry

Note: In this article MacDonald was actually spelled McDonald

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#760 David M. Kane

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 12:42

Henry would you be interested in talking to Sally Stokes Swart? I'm thinking of calling her to see if she and Jim Clark ever discussed the accident. I'd be curious to know if he ever talked to Graham Gauld about the accident too?

#761 Henri Greuter

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 13:05

Originally posted by fines

That was obviously not the car that was entered at Indy in '64, which was two-wheel drive and, at least in early practice, three-wheel steer.

Your last sentence doesn't make sense, since Carter was never asked to run the 4wd/4ws car at Indy, and he very obviously did want to risk a run in the 2wd/3ws car since he was entered as the third driver in April, i.e. in spring, i.e. after he tested "sometime in winter".



Fines and others,

Maybe the confusion about a 4WD car is a result of the fact that Duane Carte did drive the Ferguson/Novi F104 4WD car in practice.
By the way, he liked that car quite well and wanted to drive it too. But because of different spark plug contracts between Carter and the Novi team that deal fell through. But I can confirm from first hand and from Carter himself, he did like the Novi. Never asked him about the other cars he drove that year. But I was a beginner in histrian business at that time...
Someties I feel as if I still am by the way....


henri

#762 fines

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 20:07

Dan,

I believe it's probably the best to forget about The Clown Prince book as a serious source, it's not the first time it has proved to be sluggishly researched.

Originally posted by TrackDog
When did Carter agree to drive the Hurst sidecar? As I recall, the only reason he didn't try to qualify it was because iof sponsorship issues regarding spark plugs.

As far as I know Carter was only shaking it down; Bobby Johns was the assigned driver and practiced it extensively, even tried to qualify it. No more Carter involvement after the first week, as far as I can make out.

#763 Jim Thurman

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 21:12

Originally posted by TrackDog


The Sports Illustrated article quoted from in this post was entitled NOW JOE MUST CARRY THE FLAG ALONE, and was written by Frank Deford. It's from the December 17, 1979 issue, and is available from the SI Archives.

There is more GRAPHIC CONTENT included in the article, however. Just before talking about MacDonald in the car, Ruttman stated that "Sachs piled into MacDonald, the impact shoving the driveshaft of Sach's car through his body, killing him instantly."

Obviously, Sach's car didn't have a driveshaft, so Ruttman's account is questionable...unless he was misquoted, or simply used the wrong word to describe the part in question.

First, Frank Deford probably doesn't know a driveshaft from a dipstick. While some good items appear in the article, Deford has proven his hatred of racing to a point where I would not put it past him to embellish goriness to emphasize his viewpoints. He has done anti-racing tirades which were rooted somewhere between gross exaggerations to outright falsehoods (I can only think of one media person more over the top and blatant in this regard).

Frank Deford is a much acclaimed and highly decorated "sportswriter", which/who sadly seems to have influenced many other little lemming like followers. Much like Jim Murray.

Auto racing isn't the only area he shows a sneering bias. He's also proven himself quite geographically biased.

Much of his career seems to have been built on passing himself off as knowledgable around those who knew absolutely nothing about sports, thereby getting gigs with places like NPR and the like. This led me to tag him: Frank Defraud.

The point being, I would question any account of his as factual, particularly if it deals with auto racing or anything West of the Mississippi River.

Or as my father put it, when we were discussing the number of sportswriters that had taken to doing novels: "They've been doing fiction for so long, the transition is easy for them." :D

#764 HistoricMustang

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 21:35

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Henry would you be interested in talking to Sally Stokes Swart? I'm thinking of calling her to see if she and Jim Clark ever discussed the accident. I'd be curious to know if he ever talked to Graham Gauld about the accident too?


David, while not the best to verse with people I do not know I am prepared to help in any manner possible.

So that would be a yes.

I spent today bangng nails into my eventual retirement home at the lake about an hour away. On the way home my thoughts took me to the subject at hand (as it often does during those few down times) and something odd struck me as a result of the post I put up early today.

There is no question that Dave lost the car out of turn four........perhaps lack of skill, perhaps mechanical, perhaps some distraction, perhaps sudden movement in front of him and a host of other maybe's. The fact remains that after impact with the wall the car started out across race grove on fire. Not a horrible fire (yet) but fire. I then remembered the film which actually shows Dave in pretty good shape and actually leaning away from flames.

Then the impact from Eddie's car.

Quote from The Alternate indicated Dave's car was actually tracking true to nature as the result of hitting the inside wall but was stopped "cold" after hitting (or being hit) by a roadster. Which brings me to this "what if".

Eddie was seasoned and as we all know and perhaps have even experienced a car spinning on track and the brain tells us to aim for that point because it will not be there when we arrive. Very early in the race, and hopefully knowing that a red flag would be presented, Eddie and others elected to retain full (or almost full) throttle, relying on race experience and aimed for Dave's car. As described in The Alternate, impact with a roadster unexpectedly stopped Dave's projected path and the "100 G" impact occured.

Am not sure what this all means other than I once again relived the pure Hell that took place 44 years ago.

Henry

Henry

#765 David M. Kane

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 21:39

Jim I would totally agree, Frank Deford is clueless on all sports matters. I am very familar with his work on all topics. He in a New York City media type. If anyone needs that explained send me a PM or email. He brings new meaning to the term skin deep research. :down:

#766 Jim Thurman

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 02:39

Henry, that's fine except Sachs was not in a roadster.

And David, :up:, I'll pm you a bit more of my Deford theory. Just to give everyone else here an idea, after Smiley's crash, he was constantly attacking racing in commentaries on CNN Sports. Months later, while doing a little piece on tradition in sports, he mentioned "auto racing has the checkered flag, which goes to the winner...if anyone actually survives to take it." :

The best thing I've ever heard him say came in a televised round table discussion of sports journalism. He said (paraphrasing) : "It occurs to me that we might be spending our time writing for each other instead of for the audience." Dad (who taught English and was his college paper's editor/columnist) laughed and said "Finally, he sees it." :D

#767 Buford

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 02:58

Originally posted by Jim Thurman
Henry, that's fine except Sachs was not in a roadster.:D


The roadster they are probably talking about was Johnny Rutherford who did hit MacDonald and went right over the top as is shown in the life Magazine photo spread which I don't have anymore because it's in my scrapbooks at the Museum in New York.

#768 HistoricMustang

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 10:11

Originally posted by Buford


The roadster they are probably talking about was Johnny Rutherford who did hit MacDonald and went right over the top as is shown in the life Magazine photo spread which I don't have anymore because it's in my scrapbooks at the Museum in New York.


Yes Buford, this contact is what apparently stopped Dave's movement and resulted in the 100 G crash.

Henry

#769 McGuire

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 11:08

The 100 g figure is virtually meaningless. I wouldn't give it any particular credence. Could be 100 (but not likely) or could be 50. Anywhere over the range could be lethal. Or not.

Meanwhile it would be interesting to know how this number was arrived at. Without a data recorder or very rigorous crash forensics, so many guesses at time, speed, and distance are required that one is essentially pulling a number out of the air. Indeed, that is precisely why impact recorders were developed and how they have proven so valuable.

Thing is, g is not a measure of force but of acceleration. You can wind up a hammer and hit strike an anvil with middling force and your arm will register an impressive g number. Do the bones of your hand shatter? No. Peak g is just one tiny sliver in time of an entire crash event in which the vehicle and occupant "ride down" the impact deceleration.

#770 MPea3

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 11:19

Originally posted by McGuire

Meanwhile it would be interesting to know how this number was arrived at. Without a data recorder or very rigorous crash forensics, so many guesses at time, speed, and distance are required that one is essentially pulling a number out of the air.


This isn't uncommon in sports. I'm reminded of Mickey Mantle's 565 foot home run which while accepted as the longest home run of all time is acknowledged by many to be a figure which was made up and horribly exaggerated. (By the way, many Atlantans will still insist that the longest home run ever was the ball hit in the old Ponce de Leon Stadium which landed in the freight car of a passing train and was only retrieved in Chattanooga, some 580,000 feet away give or take a few thousand...)

#771 TrackDog

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 15:04

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


Yes Buford, this contact is what apparently stopped Dave's movement and resulted in the 100 G crash.

Henry


I'm confused...Sachs had to hit MacDonald first; then Rutherford went over MacDonald, after the right rear wheel of Sachs' car came down on the nose of his roadster. So, in my mind the impact with Sachs is what stopped MacDonald's car. The reason Rutherford went over the top of Dave's car would seem to be the fact that it was stopped[or nearly stopped], and the fact that the roadster was probably at least 500 pounds heavier than the Shrike. It would also seem that the logical thing to do if facing a crash with another car, especially one on fire, would be to accelerate as much as possible, to push it out of the way. Bobby Unser ended up doing this to Ronnie Duman, albeit rather by default, since his steering was damaged; but it probably kept Duman from more serious injury.

Sachs hit MacDonald hard enough to bend the tub of the 83 car, and undoubtably shoved it sideways for some distance. It would seem that Rutherford might have hit the 83 at an angle, bouncing over it[for lack of a better term]; probably hitting the left rear tire. I'm speculating this based on the fact that the exhaust system was fairly intact on the 83 after the crash. If Rutherford had gone over the car in a horizontal plane, it would seem that he would have damaged it. I'm guessing the contact between the 83 and Rutherford to actually be a glancing blow. At least, that's the way I've always pictured it.

If Sachs had been in a roadster, I wonder if he would have driven right over the top of the MacDonald car, and at least one of the cars behind him would have borne the brunt of a collision with it.

Didn't Sachs hit MacDonald first?


Dan

#772 McGuire

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 15:28

Originally posted by MPea3


By the way, many Atlantans will still insist that the longest home run ever was the ball hit in the old Ponce de Leon Stadium which landed in the freight car of a passing train and was only retrieved in Chattanooga, some 580,000 feet away give or take a few thousand...


The 100 g claim here is of a similar nature. :D

#773 McGuire

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 15:30

Originally posted by TrackDog



Sachs hit MacDonald hard enough to bend the tub of the 83 car


Just as a point of clarification, both the Sachs and MacDonald cars were tube-frame chassis, no tub.

#774 Gerr

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 16:54

Originally posted by McGuire


Just as a point of clarification, both the Sachs and MacDonald cars were tube-frame chassis, no tub.


No, the Sachs car was a monocoque.

#775 Jim Thurman

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 17:43

Originally posted by Buford


The roadster they are probably talking about was Johnny Rutherford who did hit MacDonald and went right over the top as is shown in the life Magazine photo spread which I don't have anymore because it's in my scrapbooks at the Museum in New York.

Thanks Buford. Sorry Henry, I wasn't clear on that. I understand what you are writing of now.

#776 McGuire

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 17:53

Originally posted by Gerr


No, the Sachs car was a monocoque.


Quite right, Sachs was in a Shrike. Thanks for the correction.

#777 David M. Kane

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 20:21

Ted Halibrand built 10 Shrikes that year.

#778 fines

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 20:35

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Ted Halibrand built 10 Shrikes that year.

Nah, only four! :)

#779 Flat Black

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 20:59

Three Shrikes and yer out.

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#780 HistoricMustang

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 22:03

Originally posted by Jim Thurman

Thanks Buford. Sorry Henry, I wasn't clear on that. I understand what you are writing of now.


Not a problem Jim. :up: Looking back this is where my thought process came from - the same article.

From the same article that appeared in The Alternate on May 15, 2007 by Bob Falcon.


The Accident

MacDonald stormed to the front, right at the start, passing several cars during the first one and a half laps. While Sachs, as a 500 veteran, fell into a comfortable group of cars, advanced slowly knowing full well that to finish first - first you must finish!

The rear end of MacDonald's car lost grip near the middle of the fourth turn causing him to spin into the infield, starting a chain of events that happened in the next few seconds.

The car hit a concrete retaining wall, right side and rear end first and was sliding backward against the wall that was angled toward the track and guided the car back into the racing groove; as it ground along the abrasive surface of the concrete, the fuel bladder became dislodged and tore at the mounting flange. The car burst into flames and continued to drag along the retaining wall and slid across a small expanse of turf, then careened back into traffic, perpendicular to the traffic flow.

Due to the dense black smoke and the intense fire he was hidden from most of the traffic. In the midst of the confusion and the few microseconds allowed for correction, another car vaulted over the top and stopped Thompson's car in its tracks. Meanwhile, Sachs was exiting the turn when the flaming car appeared in front of his path at an estimated 160 mph! Race driver logic to put a wreck behind you came into play - he steered his car toward the ball of fire, estimating he would clear it by the time he reached the spot. But when the roadster clambered over the fireball, it stopped in its track. Eddie's plan was all wrong. He struck the flaming car square in the burning fuel tank spraying flaming hight octane gasoline all over the Shrike. The impact welded the two cars together and they slid to a stop about 40 yards fom the point of impact.

#781 HistoricMustang

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 22:24

Originally posted by fines

Nah, only four! :)


From The Alternate, April 15, 2007 by Bob Falcon

Shrikes featured monocoque constructed frames and circumferential members, or form frames cast of magnesium alloy, four-wheel independent suspension systems which were easily adjusted to improve the handling on the track. The US crews would need to adapt to the geometric settings required to achieve the handling qualities required by independent suspension systems.

The car also featured an array of small nylon fuel bladders housed in the torque boxes integral within the monocoque design. Fuel tubes that contained swing check valves to abate fuel level surges under acceleration and braking conditions interconnected these cells.

Henry

And, this is something new I learned from the article.

A few years later a replica of the Sachs (Shrike) was created for the Indianapolis Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. The reconstruction used nearly all of the original components. One wheel was never located in the aftermath. This wheel probably was the burning wheel seen sailing through the air in the accident photos.

Henry

Am sure a photograph of this car in the Museum will come forward. :wave:

#782 Buford

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Posted 27 May 2008 - 22:35

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
The impact welded the two cars together and they slid to a stop about 40 yards fom the point of impact.



Well that part isn't true. http://forums.autosp...=&pagenumber=19

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#783 MPea3

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 00:27

The whole thing is full of mistakes and assumptions.

#784 HistoricMustang

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 00:27

This is a very interesting article and I have received approval from Bob Falcon to share with the TNF members. Some I have already quoted and please forgive my highlites.

Please play special attention to page 11, paragraph 4.

Henry

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#785 David M. Kane

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 02:21

Excellent article!

#786 Buford

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 05:25

One thing this article confirms that was an open question at the beginning of this thread was the single fuel tank in MacDonald's car and the rather flimsy way it was mounted to the chassis. Of course I remember those days and what was state of the art then seems primitive now but I do know there was kind of a don't crash and you won't get hurt philosophy. If you don't believe that look at the Yunick sidecar.

#787 TrackDog

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 05:40

Originally posted by Buford
One thing this article confirms that was an open question at the beginning of this thread was the single fuel tank in MacDonald's car and the rather flimsy way it was mounted to the chassis. Of course I remember those days and what was state of the art then seems primitive now but I do know there was kind of a don't crash and you won't get hurt philosophy. If you don't believe that look at the Yunick sidecar.


Just driving the sidecar must have been a harrowing experience with the exhaust trumpets so close to the driver's right ear...


Dan

#788 fines

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 09:33

I read the article with mixed emotions, especially since I finally decided to subscribe to The Alternate just the other week - for one thing the editing is quite sub-par, almost non-existent! Hmm. :

The other thing is the content of the article, which is poor by any standard. "MacDonald's car lost grip near the middle of turn 4" - aha! "USAC immediately banned the use of gasoline for all their racing events, except the stock cars" - oh yeah? I think he even got the specific weight of gasoline wrong, and he's what, an engineer? Go away...

#789 Tim Murray

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 10:01

Originally posted by fines
I think he even got the specific weight of gasoline wrong . . .

6 pounds per (US) gallon equates to a specific gravity of 0.72, which is well within the possible range for gasoline.

#790 ZOOOM

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 14:36

As a private pilot we always used 6 pounds per gallon for aviation gasoline. But all aviation stuff is lighter, right?

ZOOOM

#791 Flat Black

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 14:53

Was the use of a rubber fuel bladder common in 1964, or was it an MT innovation?

#792 McGuire

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 14:59

Well... according to the Ford SAE paper on the 1964 Indy Ford engines (#640252) the spec gasoline had an API (American Petroleum Institute) gravity of 58.0. See post 33 in this thread for the complete fuel spec in detail. That API gravity is equivalent to a specific gravity of .7467, or 6.226 lbs per gallon at 60 F. So if the fuel load was 45 gallons, it weighed 280.2 lbs.... probably slightly less as the ambient temperature was presumably a bit warmer that day.

So at 350 lbs Falcon's number is high by 25 percent. I am skeptical of many of the facts and calculations in the story. The g force estimate of the Sachs-MacDonald impact is especially dubious.

#793 McGuire

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 15:03

Originally posted by Flat Black
Was the use of a rubber fuel bladder common in 1964, or was it an MT innovation?


It was uncommon in Indy cars at that time but not really an M/T innovation. The fuel bladder in the Thompson car was a production aviation component manufactured by Firestone.

#794 Flat Black

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 15:05

Any idea how many cars in the '64 Indy field had rubber fuel bladders?

#795 TrackDog

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 15:21

Originally posted by Tim Murray

6 pounds per (US) gallon equates to a specific gravity of 0.72, which is well within the possible range for gasoline.


IIRC, leaded premium gasoline weighs about 6.5 pounds per gallon; that would equal 286 pounds of fuel in the rubber bladder if it held 44 gallons, as Thompson, Bryant and a Mobil Oil official have all stated that it did. The numbers are really small details that don't change the fact that the fuel bladder couldn't handle the stress of the lateral load and compression of its' contents due to the accident. It tore at the point where it was most stressed, where it was rigidly mounted to the chassis.

We're all writers here, dedicated wordsmiths...The Advocate is written by an engineer; an engineer who was lucky enough to have been directly involved in one of the most fascinating periods of history our chosen sport has ever seen...and we're lucky we have his recollections to refer to. This event happenned over 40 years ago, and some small details migh be a little sketchy in his mind. We can deal with that.

I have the opposite problem...I'm more of a writer than an engineer. I have a very difficult time understanding terms like "bump steer", and I'm still trying to decipher some of the points made in our discussion of fuel composition. At best, I'm an amateur historian and a veteran fan. I need every bit of info I can find. I want to retell this story someday, and be as accurate and as fair and impartial as possible.

I'm not angry with anyone or any thing, just my circumstances.


Dan

#796 David M. Kane

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 15:28

I hit a tire barrier at 30g and 100mph. It pretty much messed up my day. I saw the 1964 accident on close circuit TV in a movie theatre it was a big @#$%ing hit! Edie was going at least 150-160mph...no @#$ing calculator necessary. Go outside and run into your garage door at full speed, tell me how that work for you! :drunk:

#797 McGuire

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 16:00

Originally posted by David M. Kane
I hit a tire barrier at 30g and 100mph. It pretty much messed up my day. I saw the 1964 accident on close circuit TV in a movie theatre it was a big @#$%ing hit! Edie was going at least 150-160mph...no @#$ing calculator necessary. Go outside and run into your garage door at full speed, tell me how that work for you! :drunk:


My objection to the 100 g figure is that it doesn't mean much of anything. Even if the calculation is usefully accurate (doubtful given the circumstances and methodology) it carries little to no informational content. The number is meant to impress or amaze rather than to inform. That doesn't bode well in an article that aspires to some degree of engineering insight.

Here is a typical crash pulse (source NTSB). As you can see, the peak g registered in an impact is only a sliver in time of the total event. The nature and survivability of an impact have far more to do with what happens on both sides of the peak, over the course of the impact(s), and less to do with the peak itself. This understanding is what allows race drivers of today to survive impacts of peak 100 g or more.

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#798 David M. Kane

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 16:18

McGuire now you're making sense, FYI Arie L. backed into the wall a few years ago at 165g. He said he still had headaches and blurred vision 2 weeks later. I "think" he even tried a few laps and he came in, he said he couldn't concentrate. To my knowledge he retired for good shortly thereafter.

In 1964 everything was in it's infancy as we all know. Yes IMS, USAC and AAA took a few tentative steps, but IMO knowing started to really happen until Jackie Stewart became an articulate voice for safety. He is NOT the village idiot the disturbed Max Moseley makes him out to be. In hindsight it was a miracle no spectators were killed in 1964. It looked like a scene from Pearl Harbor.

#799 Flat Black

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 18:30

Thought I'd share this quote from Eddie Sachs. The passion, even obsession it conveys is astonishing, although I fully sympathize with it, given that he's taling about the Indianapolis 500. But even more amazing is the poignancy of Sachs' comment given what transpired later.

"I think of Indianapolis every day of the year, every hour of the day, and when I sleep, too. Everything I ever wanted in my life, I found inside the walls of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I love it all, from the first to the last day in May. On the morning of the race, if you told me my house had burned down, I'd say, 'So what?' The moment that race starts is always the greatest moment of my life, and the day I win that race, it will be as if my life has ended. There is nothing more I could want out of life."

How eloquent and beautiful is that?

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#800 David M. Kane

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 19:15

Flat Black:

Works for me, clearly I never knew Eddie and I'm just in the process of reading his book; but those words could clearly have been spoken by Paul Dana too. Paul was very articulate and spoke to a group of us in the Ford Suite 2 or 3 years before he too died. Paul had a Journalism Degree from Northwestern. He was just starting this whole Ethanol marketing campaign that he would eventually carry to Capitol Hill with Tony George, etc.