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The Mickey Thompson 'Sears Allstate Special' cars of 1964


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#1001 Buford

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 04:57

I don't know if these were posted earlier in the thread but I'm not gonna check each page. The first one shows what the closely following drivers saw as they approached. Clearly there was only one choice - head for as far to the right next to the wall as you could get. That didn't work.

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This next one shows the view the next group had as they approached. Norm Hall spinning.

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The one below I don't recall seeing before. The instant after the collision - Sachs' car tail pointed to the wall. It ended up facing the opposite direction facing the outside wall. Rutherford just having gone over Mac Donald's car.

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I hope this evidence refutes the absurd allegation earlier in this thread that the drivers following were somehow to blame partially or completely for not getting stopped or not doing something else other than run into Mac Donald. Where were they supposed to go?

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#1002 Henri Greuter

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 08:14

Originally posted by Tom Glowacki
As the original poster of Post #324, and probably the only other member of this august Board, besides Col. Capps, to have a copy of "Wisconsin Death Trip" in the house, my wife's book, I have to make several responses.

Second, I posted the description of the picture from the Bryant book at #324 before seeing the aerial photo posted first at post #956 by Buford. Post # 324 shows a much straighter chassis than does #956, and with a fairly intact fuel tank. It would be interesting to have a better focused detailed close-up version of #956

SNIP



Maybe the car within Bryant's book was the car of Masten Gregory in which he had his harmless crash?
Because, well I might appear as a willow bending to all winds blowing. But reading your descriptions and going through Bufords descriptions and watching the pic of the car after the accident, seen from above, and compare it with what I remember from the Bryant book pic, then I also begin to wonder if the picture posted by Buford and the picture in Bryant's book could really be one and the same car after the accident it befell.

Henri

#1003 Henri Greuter

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 08:33

Originally posted by ZOOOM
I have read this thread from start to finish. There has been talk of the cars having 40/60/100 gallons of gas, each, onboard. There has been a question about how only 80 gallons we now think were in the cars, could have allowed for such a big fire. I sat up in J the year Swede savage had his accident. I photographed the crash. The fire ball is about 1/2 the size of the McDonald/ Sachs fireball. Savage only had half the fuel that McDonald and Sachs had. It was alcohol, which suposedly doesn't burn as brightly as gas. I have never published the photo before. I have taken it off the wall and will scan it at the office tomorrow.
Just another piece of the puzzle.
ZOOOM



Zooom,

Don't forget the differences between the two accidents. They might have happened at the near same location at the track but the speed of Savage was much higher, making the impact with the wall much higher and the car desintegrated as a result.

Dave's car never desintegrated like Savage's car did and that makes a world of a difference in how the fuels were distributed over the track at the scene of the accidents.
Speicially between the moment of impact with the wall and the first collision with another car, Dave's car was still very much in one piece. But it was on fire, leaking fuel that went ablaze too, and that made everything that happened after hitting that wall such a disaster.


Henri

#1004 ZOOOM

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 13:56

So I take it that you all feel that the photo is irrevelant....
OK.
ZOOOM

#1005 ReWind

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 14:06

@ZOOOM:
You could post your photo in this (old) Swede Savage thread.

#1006 Henri Greuter

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 14:17

Originally posted by ZOOOM
So I take it that you all feel that the photo is irrevelant....
OK.
ZOOOM



Zoom,

If I gave that impression: I apologize. I don't think it is irrelevant.
I did however list some important differences between the two crashes.
If I did this on a manner that offended you, then I hereby apologize for that.

By the way, there is one moment that both accidents did share: both cars cars exploded at the moment of collision with the wall. Did they hit at similar angles?

OK, I've said it. I'm sorry if i was rude, that was not my intention to be rude when I expressed my thoughts.

Greetings,

henri

#1007 ZOOOM

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 15:51

Posted Image

This is the Savage crash, taken from the "J" stand. Swede had been running pretty well and needed to stop for fuel. When he came out he found Bobby Unser right behind him. He was about to be lapped. The thinking at the time was that he tried to run at the same speed he was running before the fuel stop, and forgot to figure in that the car was heavier.

IIRC Swede hit the wall in about the same place that McDonald did, of course the tree was no longer there, and the wall was reconfigured. The picture shows Bobby Unser going past the accident.

The interesting thing to me was that IIRC the fuel tanks after theMcDonald accident were restricted to 40 gallons and could be only methanol. It has always been said that Methanol burns with a blue flame and cannot readily be seen. So much for that theory.
In the photo you can see from the tire marks where Swede hit the wall. The car carried on down the wall and the picture was taken maybe a second after the initial hit.

Compare the photo with the one several posts above, of the McDonald crash. You see there, two tanks of Gasoline, that we all feel were no more than 60 gallons. Better people than I can tell you the effective amount of BTU released between gas and methanol. The photo does correlate the difference in amount of the explosion from the two accidents.

This allows only a comparison, that's all....

ZOOOM

#1008 Russ Snyder

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 18:17

Originally posted by ZOOOM
Posted Image

This is the Savage crash, taken from the "J" stand. Swede had been running pretty well and needed to stop for fuel. When he came out he found Bobby Unser right behind him. He was about to be lapped. The thinking at the time was that he tried to run at the same speed he was running before the fuel stop, and forgot to figure in that the car was heavier.

IIRC Swede hit the wall in about the same place that McDonald did, of course the tree was no longer there, and the wall was reconfigured. The picture shows Bobby Unser going past the accident.

The interesting thing to me was that IIRC the fuel tanks after theMcDonald accident were restricted to 40 gallons and could be only methanol. It has always been said that Methanol burns with a blue flame and cannot readily be seen. So much for that theory.
In the photo you can see from the tire marks where Swede hit the wall. The car carried on down the wall and the picture was taken maybe a second after the initial hit.

Compare the photo with the one several posts above, of the McDonald crash. You see there, two tanks of Gasoline, that we all feel were no more than 60 gallons. Better people than I can tell you the effective amount of BTU released between gas and methanol. The photo does correlate the difference in amount of the explosion from the two accidents.

This allows only a comparison, that's all....

ZOOOM


Zooom - wow...just wow

to this fan listening on the radio it was a tremendous blast that seemingly shook Sid Collins out of his chair: "*explosion*....There's been a crash in turn 4, there's been a crash in turn 4, Jim Shelton can you see it?"

"...Shelton: "its down the track from me Sid, i can't see who it is"...

Sid: "The red flag is out and the race is being stopped"


I bought the DVD with the 3 films from the 1973 race (fire and rain, the longest may, the dynamic film) and the STP Granetelli film showed Savage only changed the right side tires 2 laps beofre this crash. Why only right side is beyond me....cold tire? or was the right rear tire put on incorrectly/loose? that is one question that springs to mind with that accident...

Back to 1964 - Dave had 44 gallons of fuel, enough for 1 stop to compete with Clark/Gurney & co. I am convinced of that now, unlike before I joined this thread.

#1009 HistoricMustang

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 19:33

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
I am convinced of that now, unlike before I joined this thread.


Russ, I think several of us fall into this category.

Also, allow me to add this:

http://www.bjwor.com/040526.html

In May 1964, Jim Clark and Team Lotus were deeply focused on Formula One, trying to repeat their 1963 World Championship. So Clark had little time to practice in his new "Indy" Lotus 34, which was powered by the brand new Ford DOHC V8 pure bred racing engine that succeeded the original Fairlane pushrod V8, which the Lotuses carried the previous May. Clark only had a total of 35 practice laps going into qualifications for the 1964 "Indianapolis 500." But Jimmy was able to parlay those few laps into one (159.377) and four (158.828) lap records on Pole day, on the way to the number one starting spot for the 1964 race.

I was intrigued by Jim Clark when he came to Indianapolis in 1963. When it appeared that Clark was going to catch leader Parnelli Jones, as the 1963 "500" progressed, I got more excited about racing than at any time since Tony Bettenhausen was killed two years earlier. After Clark's success at "Indy" and Milwaukee, I followed the Formula One season as closely as I could. The "Flying Scot" didn't disappoint this new fan, winning seven of ten Grand Prix events on the way to a dominant World Championship. I had a new racing hero and he was the best in the world.

During those few moments I was able to watch Clark, at the Speedway during May 1964, and practice his British racing green Lotus - Ford number 6, with the traditional yellow racing stripe, the 28 year old Scot took on a hero's aura for me.

Clark looked different from the regular Indy car drivers of that day. Rather than sport the usual crew cut, as many of the American drivers did, Jimmy had thick dark hair, which he always seemed to be smoothing back off his forehead, as he stood talking to Colin Chapman and the rest of the Team Lotus crew, who were clad in dark green coveralls. The Scot was easy to pick out from the crowd, with a slight 5' 8" build, wearing a light blue Dunlop Tires, Esso driving uniform, unlike the shiny white Goodyear and Firestone suits worn by most of the others.

There was an ever increasing number of new rear engine cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 1964. The Team Lotus - Ford Motor Company association entered another new Lotus - Ford for Dan Gurney. Longtime "Indianapolis 500" car owner Lindsey Hopkins purchased the Team Lotus - Ford entry, that Gurney raced to seventh in the 1963 "500," and put one of the new Ford DOHC engines in the rear, for fast rising Bobby Marshman. Marshman's Lotus - Ford was christened he Pure Firebird Special, for it's sponsorship from Pure Oil Company.

A.J. Watson, the technical wizard of the roadster era at Indianapolis, built new rear engine cars for 1959 and 1962 "500" winner Rodger Ward and Leader Card Racers teammate Don Branson. Ward's new car was powered by the Ford DOHC V8, while Branson's car carried traditional four cylinder Offy power. Watson loaned the blueprints for his new car to Rolla Vollstedt, who built a similar Offy powered rear engine entry for Len Sutton. Unlike the lightweight Lotus chassis, which consisted of a monocoque with suspension parts hung on to the slender, cigar-shaped British race car, the new Watson rear engine designs were built with the conventional roadster tube frame approach and the engine covers looked similar to the rear end sections on old style championship dirt cars.

In addition to the cars entered for Clark, Gurney, Marshman, Ward, Branson and Sutton, there were several other new rear engine creations at the Speedway in May 1964. Two Joe Huffaker chassis powered by Offies, were qualified by U.S. road racing ace Walt Hansgen and Indy car veteran Bob Veith. The two odd looking Huffaker entries were christened MG Liquid Suspension Specials by their owner Kjell Qvale.

Mickey Thompson's new cars in 1964 were even wilder than his previous Indianapolis entries. The new Thompson chassis was powered by the new Ford DOHC V8 and was shaped unlike anything ever seen before at "Indy," flat and wide like a platter. One of the things I find most interesting about Mickey's 1964 cars is how much more futuristic looking they were than any other design, including Colin Chapman's Lotus - Fords. I mean it! Look at photos of the Thompson entries in 1964 and compare them to prominent Indy car designs almost a decade later. There's a lot of physical similarity from the Thompson cars to Dan Gurney's 1972 Eagle and the big winged "500" cars of 1972 and 1973.

The Thompson cars were sponsored by Sears Allstate Tires and carried the Allstate brand of rubber. In May 1964, four manufacturers brought tires to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Firestone supported many of the traditional teams and new entrant Goodyear came to the Speedway to challenge its rival American tire maker. When May began, Goodyear had A.J. Foyt under contract, while the Firestone contingent was led by Parnelli Jones and Rodger Ward. Colin Chapman decided to abandon his 1963 association with Firestone and run with his Grand Prix tire supplier Dunlop, on the Team Lotus entries.

Rookie Dave MacDonald was the fastest in the Mickey Thompson entries, qualifying fourteenth on the grid in the number 83 Sears Allstate entry. Ten time "Indy 500" veteran Eddie Johnson also qualified the number 84 Sears Allstate entry twenty fourth for the "500."

Popular Eddie Sachs came to the Speedway in a new rear engine chassis, built by Ted Halibrand and powered by a Ford V8, that was entered by a group of local businessmen, in the name of D-V-S Racing. I particularly recall a souvenir edition of The Indianapolis Star, on May 29, 1964, that featured a two page advertisement from Marathon Oil Company, presenting a photo of Eddie's number 25 American Red Ball Special, with a caption containing Sachs' comments that his race car was basically a fuel tank with high octane Marathon gasoline. How chilling that Marathon advertisement turned out to be!

The guy who started it all at "Indy," the rear engine revolution at Indianapolis, was back in 1964 for the first time since his appearance in the famous Cooper - Climax in 1961. Jack Brabham returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after a three year absence, with a brand new (tube frame - I believe; help me out Donald Davidson) Brabham chassis, from his own shops in England, with Offy power. Brabham's 1964 entry was made in partnership with 1955 - 1956 winning "Indianapolis 500" car owner John Zink, of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Even A.J. Foyt and Parnelli Jones had rear engine cars at their disposal. Both American stars had Offy powered rear engine race cars from the same designer and builder, but I can't recall offhand right now who that was. I do recall the cars were rather funny looking, somewhat short and stubby. Foyt and Jones both tested their rear engine cars, but decided to stay with their tried and true front engine roadsters.

So there were so many story lines being generated at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, during the two weeks of practice leading up to Pole day qualifying, it was difficult to keep track of them all.

In qualifying for the 1963 "Indianapolis 500," Parnelli Jones set one (151.847 mph) and four (151.153) official track records. At the start of practice for the 1964 "500," it was apparent the existing speed marks were going to be eclipsed by several miles per hour. The tires from all four manufacturers represented at the Speedway, Firestone, Goodyear, Sears Allstate and Dunlop, were much wider than the rubber used during the previous May and this was probably the primary factor for the substantial increase in speeds during practice.

After three or four days of track action, speeds climbed to 155 mph. By the morning of pole qualifying day, Bobby Marshman ran an unofficial lap of 160 mph in early morning activity. This was phenomenal, because in years past, the rise in speeds at the 2.5 mile oval came, for the most part, in incremental increases. Now the speeds were jumping eight and nine miles per hour.

Perhaps the most important angle, to the story developing for the 1964 "500," was the rear engine versus roadster confrontation. The fact that both A.J. Foyt and Parnelli Jones elected to remain faithful to their old cars elevated the competition beyond its usual driver against driver drama. This was really exciting for the fans, with so many unique dimensions added to the May mix. With Ford Motor Company deeply committed to success at Indianapolis, that provided another contest to see if the venerable old Offy four cylinder could hold on to its lock on victory at "Indy."

Then there were the drivers competing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1964, which was truly the finest collection of racers in the world. The "big three" of American open wheel racing, A.J. Foyt, Rodger Ward and Parnelli Jones, who between them had won the previous three "Indianapolis 500" victories, were locked into a marquee battle with two of the very best in international Grand Prix competition, World Champion Jim Clark and versatile Dan Gurney. Sprinkled throughout the entry list were an assortment of accomplished drivers, such as the young "hotshot" Bobby Marshman, USAC heroes Eddie Sachs and Jim Hurtibise, veterans Don Branson, Lloyd Ruby and Len Sutton, two time World Champion Jack Brabham, promising American oval racers Jim McElreath, Bobby Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Johnny White and longtime road racer Walt Hansgen.

This was real good stuff, let me tell you! It was like the old rules had been torn up and a new stage had been constructed for the "500." Everything was changing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May 1964; the cars, the stars, the universal interest and the scope of the "greatest spectacle in racing."

By the time "500" qualifications opened on a sunny Saturday May 16, 1964, it seemed like everyone within 250 miles of Indianapolis was psyched up for the big battle for track records and pole position. The crowds at the Speedway were huge in those days on "500" Pole day, perhaps 2/3 the size of the race day crowd. The local newspapers carried banner headlines. Everyone who was anyone in Indianapolis, went to the Speedway on Pole day. Some fans liked it even better than the "500" itself. To win the "Indy 500" pole was the next best thing in American racing to winning the big race itself!

I remember driving Bill Correll's brother Steve Hansen and a classmate - buddy Rex Doom to the Speedway in my old, dilapidated 1957 Buick, concerned I would get stuck in Speedway traffic and my old "bus" would overheat. Steve, Rex and I did caught in a jam on Crawfordsville Road, west of the track. But we started early enough to get seated, while the cars were still doing practice laps.

Rodger Ward was the first qualifier and broke Parnelli Jones' one and four lap records, set the year before, with new marks of 157.563 mph and 156.406 mph respectively, in A.J. Watson white rear engine Leader Card Racers Ford entry. Tom Carnegie had the crowd roaring during Ward's qualifying run, but the 200,000 plus fans knew there was more to come.

Bobby Marshman brought out the Hopkins Pure Firebird Special Lotus - Ford a bit later. Marshman hit 160 mph early that morning and the young driver from Pottstown, Pennsylvania was the new pole favorite. Marshman didn't disappoint, breaking Ward's new records with speeds of 158.562 and 157.867 mph.

Of course the day of records wasn't over yet. Clark did his run with new speed marks of 159.377 and 158.828 mph, shortly after Marshman's new records were set. By then the electricity was so thick, you could cut it with a knife. Those were the days!

Parnelli Jones upheld roadster honors and qualified fourth at 155.090 mph. Foyt switched from Goodyear to Firestone the day before qualifications and had the fifth fastest average at 154.670 mph. Dan Gurney qualified sixth in the other "factory" Lotus - Ford, with a run at 154.480.

In total, fifteen drivers broke Parnelli's average from 1963; Lloyd Ruby (Watson - Offy roadster - 153.930), Len Sutton (Vollstedt - Offy rear engine - 153.830), Don Branson (Watson - Offy rear engine - 152.670), Walt Hansgen (Huffaker - Offy rear engine - 152.580), Jim Hurtibise (Watson - Offy roadster - 152.540), Dick Rathmann (Watson - Offy roadster - 151.860), Johnny Boyd (Kuzma - Offy roadster - 161.830), Dave MacDonald (Mickey Thompson - Ford rear engine - 151.460) and Johnny Rutherford (Watson - Offy roadster - 151.400).

Sadly, the pre-race promise of the 1964 "Indianapolis 500" was marred by tragedy.

As the race started, Clark's green Lotus jumped ahead of Parnelli and Marshman to lead the field into turn one. But as the middle part of the field came off turn four on lap two, all hell broke loose! MacDonald's car appeared to lose adhesion to the track, like a column of air got underneath his car and lifted it off the ground. In those days, aerodynamics was still a relatively new racing science and Mickey Thompson's cars exceeded the allowable barriers. When MacDonald's car veered into the angular inside concrete wall, that used to run along the north end of the main straightaway, the seventy five gallons of high octane gasoline exploded.

I was sitting with Bill Correll, Dave Willmuth and Jim Mace in grandstand B, at the other end of the main stretch. I had just cheered Clark, as he went past in the lead for the second time, when I caught the image of flames from the north end, after MacDonald made initial impact. It looked like an atomic blast and when the MacDonald car bounced back on to the track and made direct contact with Eddie Sachs, the ball of fire rose several hundred feet into the air.

That is still the most horrifying sight I have ever seen at a racing event!

The crowd screamed in horror and it appeared as if the flames had enveloped the spectators, seated along the outside of the track, between the fourth turn and the entrance to the pits. Tom Carnegie's frantically announced the red flag was out, stopping the "500" for an accident, for the first time in history. The cars of Norm Hall, Bobby Unser, Ronnie Duman, Sachs, MacDonald, Chuck Stevenson and Johnny Rutherford were all eliminated as a result of the crash.

It looked like a war zone up near the scene of the crash and it wasn't long after the race was halted, that Tom Carnegie announced to the crowd that Eddie Sachs lost his life in the melee. After Carnegie's announcement, you could hear a pin drop and many spectators around me began to pack up and leave. Later, after the race resumed about ninety minutes later, it was announced that MacDonald had also died from injuries suffered in pileup.

It was a grim scene and it was eerie when teams began placing the remaining twenty-six cars in position to run the 198 laps to be completed. There didn't seem to be much enthusiasm for racing among the competitors or the spectators who remained. I read that teams had to literally coax drivers back into their cars to restart the race.


Henry

#1010 ZOOOM

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 20:59

I havn't looked at that picture in many years, but I notice that the light signal on the main straight has already been turned to red.
ZOOM

#1011 Flat Black

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 21:16

That's a fine artical, Henri. Pretty evocative.

The way I've always conceptualized the '64 crash is that it looked as though the gates of hell had opened up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

#1012 Henri Greuter

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 07:27

Originally posted by ZOOOM

This is the Savage crash, taken from the "J" stand. Swede had been running pretty well and needed to stop for fuel. When he came out he found Bobby Unser right behind him. He was about to be lapped. The thinking at the time was that he tried to run at the same speed he was running before the fuel stop, and forgot to figure in that the car was heavier.

IIRC Swede hit the wall in about the same place that McDonald did, of course the tree was no longer there, and the wall was reconfigured. The picture shows Bobby Unser going past the accident.

The interesting thing to me was that IIRC the fuel tanks after theMcDonald accident were restricted to 40 gallons and could be only methanol. It has always been said that Methanol burns with a blue flame and cannot readily be seen. So much for that theory.
In the photo you can see from the tire marks where Swede hit the wall. The car carried on down the wall and the picture was taken maybe a second after the initial hit.

Compare the photo with the one several posts above, of the McDonald crash. You see there, two tanks of Gasoline, that we all feel were no more than 60 gallons. Better people than I can tell you the effective amount of BTU released between gas and methanol. The photo does correlate the difference in amount of the explosion from the two accidents.

This allows only a comparison, that's all....

ZOOOM



Thanks ZOOOM.
Indeed an interesting comparison.

I was quick to give differences between the accidents but I'm honest enough that none of those can explan several things and details you discussed.

As for the fuel capacities, I recall that 75 gallons was the max right after 1964, but this being reduced to 40 gallons after this one: 1973. But I stand corrected if anyone knows better.

As for the yellow flames in a methanol fire, about the only thing I can think of right now is that oil was involved in the fire. Which could be possible, given the fact that the car desintegrated and the engine was separated from the monocoque. And as far as I know, the Eagle had an oil cooler behind the front wheels. Specialists on the subject Eagle Mk7 may tell if it was on the left or the right side.

But indeed, what a simularities. I tend to believe that if there were people who saw both 1964 and 1973 happen from a seat like this will testify to the theory that `Lightning does strike twice'
Thanks for posting ZOOOM.


Henri

#1013 HistoricMustang

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 09:16

Originally posted by Henri Greuter



Maybe the car within Bryant's book was the car of Masten Gregory in which he had his harmless crash?
Because, well I might appear as a willow bending to all winds blowing. But reading your descriptions and going through Bufords descriptions and watching the pic of the car after the accident, seen from above, and compare it with what I remember from the Bryant book pic, then I also begin to wonder if the picture posted by Buford and the picture in Bryant's book could really be one and the same car after the accident it befell.

Henri


Henri, a lot of Non-TNF members are following this thread and I received this via e-mail:


"I found the magazine (AUTO and motorsports illustrated , August, 1964) ...showing the picture of the #82 wrecked car on p.16.(it's the same picture in Peter's book that says is Daves car) this is actually Gregerys car! and also a picture of Daves car on the hook being towed back to the garage area on p.29.
Tom Glowacki on post 1000, talks about Peters book showing Daves car after the crash! BUT, Henri Greuter, post 1002, thinks its Masten's #82 car! .....Can you tell Henri he is correct!! .....Peter's book does not have a picture of Daves car afterwards!"



Does this clears things up a bit?

Henry

#1014 Henri Greuter

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 10:42

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


Henri, a lot of Non-TNF members are following this thread and I received this via e-mail:


"I found the magazine (AUTO and motorsports illustrated , August, 1964) ...showing the picture of the #82 wrecked car on p.16.(it's the same picture in Peter's book that says is Daves car) this is actually Gregerys car! and also a picture of Daves car on the hook being towed back to the garage area on p.29.
Tom Glowacki on post 1000, talks about Peters book showing Daves car after the crash! BUT, Henri Greuter, post 1002, thinks its Masten's #82 car! .....Can you tell Henri he is correct!! .....Peter's book does not have a picture of Daves car afterwards!"



Does this clears things up a bit?

Henry




Henry, Thank you very much for posting this message.

For me this clears up not only a bit but quite a lot. And I think for a few other people as well.
In particularly after what Buford wrote aboth what he had seen in real and in pictures by then it was clear for me that it simply had to be another car.

No offence or negative comment to/about Pete Bryant and/or his editors necessary. A error is easily made. I know all too well how it feels to find out that a photo caption within your book is not correct.....

Thanks again.

Henri

#1015 Buford

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 18:34

Well that explains that. I could not imagine how anybody who saw the car could say it appeared only lightly damaged. It was mostly in one piece, unlike today's crashes, but it was definitely not in fairly undamaged condition.

#1016 HistoricMustang

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 20:30

Thanks gentlemen. :up:

Do not think he would mind if I advise that the e-mail is from Dave's brother.

As I have said on several occasions this exercise is helping solve a lot of issues and helping to perhaps bring some closure to individuals very close to Dave and hopefully Eddie.

TNF'ers are simply fantastic! :smoking:

Henry

#1017 Russ Snyder

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 20:39

Originally posted by ZOOOM
I havn't looked at that picture in many years, but I notice that the light signal on the main straight has already been turned to red.
ZOOM


On one of the DVD's you can hear Tom Carnegie saying over the loudspeakers "The Red Flag is out, The Red flag is out and the race is being stopped" almost at the same time of what remains of Savage's car comes to a stop.

1973 race had 5 red flags for weather and crashes, the most for any Indy 500 I believe.

Henry - Thanks for the latest story and URL to go to...an interesting read indeed.

#1018 HistoricMustang

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 21:25

Originally posted by Buford
Well that explains that. I could not imagine how anybody who saw the car could say it appeared only lightly damaged. It was mostly in one piece, unlike today's crashes, but it was definitely not in fairly undamaged condition.


For those interested, the photographs in question have been placed here with clarification:

http://www.historicm...chsIndianapolis

My hopes are that some of the damage seen on Dave's car was the result of attempting to get him out of the wreckage.

Henry

#1019 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 01:58

Originally posted by Flat Black
The way I've always conceptualized the '64 crash is that it looked as though the gates of hell had opened up at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


That is scary and true. I'm areligious to the extreme but that description idiosyncratically strikes a chord.

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#1020 TrackDog

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 06:04

Originally posted by HistoricMustang


For those interested, the photographs in question have been placed here with clarification:

http://www.historicm...chsIndianapolis

My hopes are that some of the damage seen on Dave's car was the result of attempting to get him out of the wreckage.

Henry


Check post #142...there is a photo of Dave's car before it went on the hook, taken of the right side of the car. There are a couple of frame rails, or maybe they're body braces, close to the rollbar that appear to have been cut and bent backward. The one closest to the rollbar might not have been cut into, but there are a couple of others that look as though they may have. I'm also wondering about the steering wheel; it looks as though it may have been bent with a wrecking bar to facilitate getting Dave out of the car.

Cleon Reynolds, Indy Fire Chief, was quoted as saying that the car had to be chopped apart to get Dave out of it in Denny Miller's book EDDIE SACHS: THE CLOWN PRINCE. From the aerial photo in the same post, it appears that the frame of Dave's car was severely bent to the left and upwards by Sachs' car impacting it. This would make it very difficult to extricate him from the left side of the car, and if there was still some gasoline left in the fuel bladder, it would be risky for the rescuers, as well. Also, in the Life Magazine photo spread, the fire and rescue personnel were all congregated on the right side of the car.

Dan

#1021 Buford

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 05:37

A couple Sports Illustrated articles from June 1964.

http://vault.sportsi...75990/index.htm

http://vault.sportsi...76051/index.htm


Interesting that Thompson's information told in June 1964 in Sports Illustrated was so widely ignored...

"First of all, Mickey Thompson, builder of MacDonald 's Ford-engined car, scotched an Associated Press story estimating the gasoline load at a fantastic 100 gallons (some 600 pounds in a car weighing about 1,200 dry). "We carried 45 gallons," said Thompson , a fact verified by Ray McMahan, the chief Mobil fuel specialist at Indy. Thompson said the gas was in a single rubber tank extending most of the distance between the front and rear wheels on the driver's left. MacDonald had practiced with a nearly full tank, so unfamiliarity with his car's handling in that condition was not a factor."

#1022 Henri Greuter

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 08:08

Originally posted by Buford
A couple Sports Illustrated articles from June 1964.

http://vault.sportsi...75990/index.htm

http://vault.sportsi...76051/index.htm


Interesting that Thompson's information told in June 1964 in Sports Illustrated was so widely ignored...

"First of all, Mickey Thompson, builder of MacDonald 's Ford-engined car, scotched an Associated Press story estimating the gasoline load at a fantastic 100 gallons (some 600 pounds in a car weighing about 1,200 dry). "We carried 45 gallons," said Thompson , a fact verified by Ray McMahan, the chief Mobil fuel specialist at Indy. Thompson said the gas was in a single rubber tank extending most of the distance between the front and rear wheels on the driver's left. MacDonald had practiced with a nearly full tank, so unfamiliarity with his car's handling in that condition was not a factor."



Yes.
But maybe it has to do with the fact that the fire looked so massive, so hellish, that for many it the rumors about the 100 gallons rear engined cars were approved by the size of the fire.

Henri

#1023 Buford

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 09:07

It did and Thompson was discredited for building a horror car so probably he wasn't believed.

#1024 Henri Greuter

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 11:51

Originally posted by Buford
It did and Thompson was discredited for building a horror car so probably he wasn't believed.



Yes, I wonder what the feelings would have ben had the cars not been so problematic and suspicious to begin with. If in practice they had behaved as uneventful as a roadster, then what would the outcries have been after the accident.

To some extend, IMS itself is at least ignoring the bad feelings about Mickey since they do have that 1962 car that Dan Gurney drove on display on occasion.
But I wonder a bit if that is the Gurney influence (history) overwhelming the negative feelings regarding Mickey.
Nonetheless, it is good to see that car because, say whatever you want about Mickey: he was an innovator who knew that the times were changing and went along with the new times.

Henri

#1025 fines

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 14:24

Originally posted by Henri Greuter
Yes, I wonder what the feelings would have ben had the cars not been so problematic and suspicious to begin with. If in practice they had behaved as uneventful as a roadster, then what would the outcries have been after the accident.

They weren't, and they did! :rolleyes: Race cars spin and crash in practice, even the best - it's quite normal! Can we now finally lay this libellous gossip to rest?

Thompson's cars weren't any more dangerous than any other car on the track that year! Period.

#1026 Henri Greuter

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 14:39

Originally posted by fines

They weren't, and they did! :rolleyes: Race cars spin and crash in practice, even the best - it's quite normal! Can we now finally lay this libellous gossip to rest?

Thompson's cars weren't any more dangerous than any other car on the track that year! Period.



What a long toes.....

I am sorry if it offends you....
I think that there is more than enough evidence to know that the cars were less than perfect though not all of this can be blamed to Thompson or anyone within the team. They entered a zone that was new for many and not entirely understood and that had its effects on the car and its reputation.
Some is too harsh. But to say that they were just as ordinary as a rtoadster and/or any other rear engined car?
No way José....

Henri

#1027 Flat Black

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 14:41

I disagree entirely. The Thompson cars WERE more dangerous than their competitors. But we've had that argument already at least twice in this thread so there's no point in revisiting it. We agree to disagree.

#1028 Russ Snyder

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 18:16

Originally posted by Henri Greuter



What a long toes.....

I am sorry if it offends you....
I think that there is more than enough evidence to know that the cars were less than perfect though not all of this can be blamed to Thompson or anyone within the team. They entered a zone that was new for many and not entirely understood and that had its effects on the car and its reputation.
Some is too harsh. But to say that they were just as ordinary as a rtoadster and/or any other rear engined car?
No way José....

Henri


Henri

Is it odd too you that the 1963 Thompson cars did relatively well in comparision to the rest of the cars entered in the 1963 race? I recently re-watched the 1963 dynamic film and they ran surprisingly well to these eyes. 6th and 7th at one point I believe? Not to discredit either Michael, yourself, myself or anyone for that matter in this thread....but why did Mickey change them so radically for the 1964 race? They seem larger in 1964 than they did in 1963.

Michael - Do you have any ideas behind the change and increase in size of the Thompson cars for 1964?

Buford

Those articles were 'eye' opening and appreciated! Jack Brabhams comments espc about the course being closed with no escape once an accident happens. Jack said that the diff between gas and alchohol was not that much of a difference in his opinion. It harks back to earlier in the thread when I stated that the wall protecting the stands/pits out of turn 4 and its angle was a major factor in the accident. Pre 1961, it was mostly a grassy field. Its possible that if the grass were still there in 1964, Dave Macdonald would have spun out into it, much like Alberto Ascari did in the 1952 Indy. Alberto Ascari spun in almost the same place as Dave did 12 years later coming out of turn 4 when his hub flange broke...albeit at about 20-30 mph slower...but .....I think Jacks point is well taken on the context of this tragedy.

#1029 TrackDog

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 19:03

Originally posted by Henri Greuter



Yes, I wonder what the feelings would have ben had the cars not been so problematic and suspicious to begin with. If in practice they had behaved as uneventful as a roadster, then what would the outcries have been after the accident.

To some extend, IMS itself is at least ignoring the bad feelings about Mickey since they do have that 1962 car that Dan Gurney drove on display on occasion.
But I wonder a bit if that is the Gurney influence (history) overwhelming the negative feelings regarding Mickey.
Nonetheless, it is good to see that car because, say whatever you want about Mickey: he was an innovator who knew that the times were changing and went along with the new times.

Henri


Mickey was the first American car builder to take the success of the Cooper-Climax Special seriously. That makes the car and Thompson both seriously. The Gurney connection lends a little extra credence to the car's significance, sure. And, overall the 1962 Thompson car was a more successful effort than the later "pumpkinseed" cars, even discountlng the MacDonald/Sachs stigma. So, I can see the Speedway wanting to preserve that car.

Without that car, what would Dan have driven at Indy in 1962? Would Colin Chapman have accepted his invitation to see the race? Would the offer even have been made?

As for the '63-'64 cars being more dangerous than other cars of the period, well...look at the facts. Nearly everybody who drove the cars spun in them, including a World Driving Champion, a future LeMans winner and one of the greatest sports car racers of all time. I'm not convinced that the fuel bladder was a good idea for Indy...it might have been fine in a helicopter, but in a fiberglass-bodied Indy car, it seems less than ideal. If the car's bodywork were made of aluminum, it might have held up better in the crash, too...


Of course, all this is being said in hindsight...after a horrendous crash with a terrible aftermath. The Shrike fared much better in the crash, and would appear to have been much better constructed, but Sachs still died in it. The fuel tanks didn't explode, but the lid came off of one; unfortunately, it was directly in Eddie's face. If Dave MacDonald had been driving a Shrike, or a similar car, what would have happenned? Who knows?

The thing that stands out for me in all of this was that Mickey Thompson was indeed "pushing the envelope" in aerodynamics, tire construction and chassis development. It was an era of research and development that relied on a lot of trial and error because there wasn't a lot of established knowledge in any of these areas. And, there weren't a lot of guidelines, or rules provided by the sanctioning body. Thompson was probably doing the best he could under the circumstances.

Sometimes, I think that what the Thompson cars really needed were monococque bodies and aluminum tanks compartmentalized in the bodywork, as per the Shrike; but that might have made the aero package much harder to build.

And, the team worked their tails off all month long to solve the handling problems inherent with the car, and actually had them running very well by carb day.

So, were the Thompson cars more dangerous than the other cars at the Speedway in 1964? By raceday, probably not...but inherently, because of all the ground Thompson was trying to cover; at least initially, I'd have to say yes, they were.


Dan

#1030 Buford

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 19:30

Originally posted by TrackDog



Without that car, what would Dan have driven at Indy in 1962? Without that car, what would Dan have driven at Indy in 1962? Would Colin Chapman have accepted his invitation to see the race? Would the offer even have been made?

Dan


Well actually he took his rookie test in a yellow roadster. Then switched to the Thompson car. So Gurney was already interested as a driver - but the Thompson car probably (as well as the Cooper the year before) spurred Dan's desire to find somebody to build a winning version for him to drive. The downside was he had to take Clark as a teammate and didn't have the unfair advantage exclusively for himself.

#1031 fines

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 20:11

Gurney was actually entered to drive the Zink turbine, he only took his driver's test in the roadster, never intended to race it. He switched camp to drive the Thompson when the Zink didn't arrive in time, and then proved troublesome in practice.

Originally posted by TrackDog
As for the '63-'64 cars being more dangerous than other cars of the period, well...look at the facts. Nearly everybody who drove the cars spun in them, including a World Driving Champion, a future LeMans winner and one of the greatest sports car racers of all time.

Well, can YOU look at facts, too? EVERYBODY who drove a Lotus at the Speedway in 1966 spun or crashed, including a two-time Grand Prix champion, considered by many to be the greatest racing driver ever, and two four-time winners of the Indy 500, both legends in their lifetime. Was the Lotus more dangerous than other cars? Of course not, everybody was lucky enough to walk away, unlike MacDonald. Was Chapman "pushing the envelope"? If anybody EVER was, it was Chunky!

The only difference is the perception, and that is for ever tainted in the case of Mickey Thompson, BERCAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT, and not because the cars were evil handlers. They were, no argument, but so was ANY other car out there in those days. That's the reality, but everybody wants to argue it away, to make the accident more acceptable. It could have happened to ANYONE out there, and that realisation was something that didn't sit well with the drivers, and with the fans. How could a driver like Jack Brabham go on racing with that knowledge, how could he be a responsible husband and father and still go racing with the knowledge that he had absolutely no power to avoid an accident like this? The only way was (and still is) denial - NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF DENIAL!!!

#1032 Buford

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 20:44

Like Sarti says in "Grand Prix". "To be a racing driver requires a certain lack of imagination."

#1033 Flat Black

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 20:46

Originally posted by Buford
Like Sarti says in "Grand Prix". "To be a racing driver requires a certain lack of imagination."


Well I'll agree with that! To some extent I almost think that courage and imagination are incommensurate.

#1034 TrackDog

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 04:23

Originally posted by Flat Black


Well I'll agree with that! To some extent I almost think that courage and imagination are incommensurate.


And Jim Clark was once quoted as saying, "...introspection can kill you."


I didn't mean any disrespect to anyone when I brought up the fact that several drivers spun in the "pumpkinseed" cars; but there were 5 different drivers over a span of 2 years that did spin the cars. And, yes, Fines has a point with the 1966 Lotus...it was originally designed for an engine that never materialized, and had a longer wheelbase that evidently led to a different weight distribution or center of gravity that the team wasn't able to completely overcome when the standard Ford engine was put into the car, out of necessity. Jim Clark had his hands full with it, spinning twice in the race. And, he finished 2nd; Dave MacDonald died. So, I can see where Fines is coming from. Denis Hulme once told Jigger Sirois, "...Never trust the F---ing car, Mate." They're ALL inherently dangerous.

I have a copy of the DVD INDIANAPOLIS 500 The Legacy Series...a present for my B-day...and Dan Gurney talks about the Zink turbine car. Evidently, it was a stretched Lotus chassis.


Dan

#1035 Bob Riebe

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 04:32

Originally posted by fines
Gurney was actually entered to drive the Zink turbine, he only took his driver's test in the roadster, never intended to race it. He switched camp to drive the Thompson when the Zink didn't arrive in time, and then proved troublesome in practice.

Well, can YOU look at facts, too? EVERYBODY who drove a Lotus at the Speedway in 1966 spun or crashed, including a two-time Grand Prix champion, considered by many to be the greatest racing driver ever, and two four-time winners of the Indy 500, both legends in their lifetime. Was the Lotus more dangerous than other cars? Of course not, everybody was lucky enough to walk away, unlike MacDonald. Was Chapman "pushing the envelope"? If anybody EVER was, it was Chunky!

The only difference is the perception, and that is for ever tainted in the case of Mickey Thompson, BERCAUSE OF THE ACCIDENT, and not because the cars were evil handlers. They were, no argument, but so was ANY other car out there in those days. That's the reality, but everybody wants to argue it away, to make the accident more acceptable. It could have happened to ANYONE out there, and that realisation was something that didn't sit well with the drivers, and with the fans. How could a driver like Jack Brabham go on racing with that knowledge, how could he be a responsible husband and father and still go racing with the knowledge that he had absolutely no power to avoid an accident like this? The only way was (and still is) denial - NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF DENIAL!!!

Did hell freeze, global warming be damned, this is the second post by smiley finey I agree with, whole heartedly.

#1036 Henri Greuter

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 08:07

Originally posted by Russ Snyder


Henri

Is it odd too you that the 1963 Thompson cars did relatively well in comparision to the rest of the cars entered in the 1963 race? I recently re-watched the 1963 dynamic film and they ran surprisingly well to these eyes. 6th and 7th at one point I believe? Not to discredit either Michael, yourself, myself or anyone for that matter in this thread....but why did Mickey change them so radically for the 1964 race? They seem larger in 1964 than they did in 1963.

Michael - Do you have any ideas behind the change and increase in size of the Thompson cars for 1964?


Russ,

I think the following factors are of importance that the 1964 cars didn't handle properly compared with the 1963 cars. (I believe I mentioned them somewhere before within this thread but nothing wrong in refreshing the memories again.)

- The car was designed for 12 Inch tires and had to run on 15's in 1964. That raised the Center point of gravity (GC) 1.5 inch.
- The suspension wasn't fully readjusted to accept the 15 Inch tires.
- The 1963 was powered by a stock block Chevy, the 1964 by a quadcam Ford.
Now I must admit that I have absolutely no interest whatsoever for stockblock/pushrod Detroit boatanchor technology so I don't know how much the Chevy weighted and I don't know the weight of the Ford either.
But I am 99% sure that the DOHC Ford engine was more heavy than the Chevrolet because of needing more parts above the cylinders. And both engines were based on aluminum versions of stock blocks so the crankcase part of the engines were likely fairly comparable.
But 99% sure, the Ford was more heavy, also larger in size thanks to the camshaft housings and (in every respect of the expression...) on top of that: the exhausts of the Ford were on top of the engine.
Even if the Ford was equal in weight to the 1963 Chevy, its GC was higher then that of the Chevy. As a result, the GC of the entire car was not only raised because of the larger tires but also because of the engine having a higher GC. And, assuming it was more heavy than the Chevy, the GC not only raised but went backwards too: loosening the front end grip.
So far for the mechanic aspects regarding the chassis.
(are there any others out here wh like to react on this analysis?)

Aerodynamics.
New areas, not yet fully understood, pushing the borders and going a bit too far. Comparable with the step by Colin Chapman by going from Lotus 79 to Lotus 80. Now I won't say that Mickey's 1963 car was a Lotus 79 kind of trendsetter but still, it was new and the first steps in this technology. But then they pushed the limits.
But even here I must be careful because I wonder, had the 1964 cars used the 1963 aerodynamic package, (as baseline to compare with the new 1964 package) what kind of instability problems would they have had? As stated above, I think that the major mechanical changes within the chassis compared with the year before had a much larger influence on their handling then many assume. It's easier to blame the most obvious thing that wass different on the cars: their bodywork.
Sadly, that appears to be the center point of all the misunderstandings related with this drame. Blame the most obvious visual thing (or phenomena) and base your conclusions on that.
And a number of those 'conclusions' lived on for more than 40 years.....


Henri

#1037 HistoricMustang

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:33

Originally posted by Henri Greuter


Russ,

I think the following factors are of importance that the 1964 cars didn't handle properly compared with the 1963 cars. (I believe I mentioned them somewhere before within this thread but nothing wrong in refreshing the memories again.)

- The car was designed for 12 Inch tires and had to run on 15's in 1964. That raised the Center point of gravity (GC) 1.5 inch.
- The suspension wasn't fully readjusted to accept the 15 Inch tires.
- The 1963 was powered by a stock block Chevy, the 1964 by a quadcam Ford.
Now I must admit that I have absolutely no interest whatsoever for stockblock/pushrod Detroit boatanchor technology so I don't know how much the Chevy weighted and I don't know the weight of the Ford either.
But I am 99% sure that the DOHC Ford engine was more heavy than the Chevrolet because of needing more parts above the cylinders. And both engines were based on aluminum versions of stock blocks so the crankcase part of the engines were likely fairly comparable.
But 99% sure, the Ford was more heavy, also larger in size thanks to the camshaft housings and (in every respect of the expression...) on top of that: the exhausts of the Ford were on top of the engine.
Even if the Ford was equal in weight to the 1963 Chevy, its GC was higher then that of the Chevy. As a result, the GC of the entire car was not only raised because of the larger tires but also because of the engine having a higher GC. And, assuming it was more heavy than the Chevy, the GC not only raised but went backwards too: loosening the front end grip.
So far for the mechanic aspects regarding the chassis.
(are there any others out here wh like to react on this analysis?)

Henri


Henri and other Members,
Along this same line the Thompson car had a lot of laps and mishaps from previous events and surely many suspension modifications adding stress and flex to components. Not to mention weight of the full load of fuel. It would be interesting to calculate the amount of wear and tear (laps) this particular chassis had on it before the 1964 race. This would leave one to believe that with a higher center of gravity, stress (flex) was added to areas not so "designed" to accept. And, I use the word "design" lightly.

Henry

#1038 Russ Snyder

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 13:06

Henri

thanks for the refresher, your words and patience with me are appreciated.

I ordered a DVD called "Eddie Sachs on the Pole" re: the 1960 race and how he was follwed by CBS camera's around the week of qualifying and the race. I will get that sometime next week and I can't wait too see!

#1039 Henri Greuter

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 14:32

Originally posted by Russ Snyder
Henri

thanks for the refresher, your words and patience with me are appreciated.

I ordered a DVD called "Eddie Sachs on the Pole" re: the 1960 race and how he was follwed by CBS camera's around the week of qualifying and the race. I will get that sometime next week and I can't wait too see!



Russ,

no problem, you brought up good ideas and thoughts yourself too.
Besides that, it gave me an opportunity to support my opinions as of why I think that the Thompson cars were indeed not as perfect suited for the circumstances as they could have been. The not fully sorted out suspension is, for me, an approval of sending out a car that wasn't optimal and being send into the race with a known flaw.
If that made the car as lethal as many think it was, I doubt that. I do agree with Fines that the car wasn't the lethal monster as it is often put down. But to say that it wasn't more dangerous than the others, that is not correct. It was send in the race with a compromised suspension set-up.



By the way, the remarks about all the spinning Lotusses of 1966: It has been mentioned they were designed for another engine. But Clark and Unser did driver regular Type 38's, designed for the Ford V8.
Could the spinning be related with the fact that some monocoques were not as stiff as they were supposed to be? (the year of the softally specials)
The 1967 car of Graham Hill was designed for another engine but fitted with a V8 after all.

Henri

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#1040 Bob Riebe

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 16:33

Originally posted by Henri Greuter


Russ,


Now I must admit that I have absolutely no interest whatsoever for stockblock/pushrod Detroit boatanchor technology so I don't know how much the Chevy weighted and I don't know the weight of the Ford either.
But I am 99% sure that the DOHC Ford engine was more heavy than the Chevrolet because of needing more parts above the cylinders. And both engines were based on aluminum versions of stock blocks so the crankcase part of the engines were likely fairly comparable.

Henri

Your bigoted dislike for American engines here destroys your assumptions at face value.
The small-block Ford on which the DOHC Ford was based was a great deal lighter than the small-block Chevy.

As the Ford cylinder block was ligher, and had a shorter deck than the small-block Chevy, any assumptions of weight or balance are void lacking actual figures; therefore your assumptions concerning the engine are invalid.
Bob

#1041 antonvrs

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 16:59

According to Dave Williams very handy listing of engine weights(www.bacomatic.org/~dw/index.htm) the Ford Indy 4 cam weighed 400 lb. Pretty light, I'd say.
I don't know what an alloy small block Chevy weighs- anyone?
Anton

#1042 TrackDog

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 19:42

Originally posted by Henri Greuter






By the way, the remarks about all the spinning Lotusses of 1966: It has been mentioned they were designed for another engine. But Clark and Unser did driver regular Type 38's, designed for the Ford V8.
Could the spinning be related with the fact that some monocoques were not as stiff as they were supposed to be? (the year of the softally specials)
The 1967 car of Graham Hill was designed for another engine but fitted with a V8 after all.

Henri


I dug a little deeper into this, and Henri's right. Sorry about that...glad I have more than one source on the matter. Don't know just why the Lotus 38 was handlling so badly for Clark on raceday in '66, though...


Dan

#1043 HistoricMustang

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 00:33

Not an engineer but could weight and center of gravity be two different issues? :

Henry

#1044 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 01:57

You have to think that the Ford engine had a much higher center of gravity than the Chevy, with all of the extra weight going into the cams, cam drive, and heads.

I just went through the chapters in the Bryant book on the 1964 Indy cars. He does not mention any change in ride height due to the new tires as a problem. Rather, he talks aboiut frame stiffness and suspension geometry as the problems.

If the ride height was raised, and the pictures in McQuire's Post #421 suggest it was, at least early on, then the higher CG engine only added to the problem. However, it's pretty clear that there was a lot of pre-season testing done on the cars and you'd think that this obvious problem would have been easily worked out before practice began.

#1045 Russ Snyder

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 02:13

Originally posted by TrackDog


I dug a little deeper into this, and Henri's right. Sorry about that...glad I have more than one source on the matter. Don't know just why the Lotus 38 was handlling so badly for Clark on raceday in '66, though...


Dan


Jack Fox 1966 edition states this in regards to the start of the 1966 Indy 500:

"While Pat Vidan was waving his green flag, Billy Foster, trying to dodge a lagging car, hit the wall on the starting line and unleashed a chain reaction which caused 11 cars to be wrecked before reaching the first turn. Miraculously, the ONLY injury was to AJ Foyts hand which was cut when he vaulted a wire fence to the safety of the grandstand"

and this on Jim Clark:

"Jim Clark took the lead when Mario Andrettis car broke a valve, but lost valuable time when he spun, spectacularly, in some oil"

Mario went out at lap 27....minus that spin Dan, Clark might have won according to the times below. Jackie Stewart was 10 laps from the win when he lost oil pressure and immediately shut off to save John Mecoms $26,000 Ford engine. Graham Hill won in the American Red ball #24.

1 Hill 144.317
2.Clark 143.843
3. McElreath 143.742
4. Johncock 143.084

#1046 TrackDog

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:59

Originally posted by Russ Snyder


Jack Fox 1966 edition states this in regards to the start of the 1966 Indy 500:

"While Pat Vidan was waving his green flag, Billy Foster, trying to dodge a lagging car, hit the wall on the starting line and unleashed a chain reaction which caused 11 cars to be wrecked before reaching the first turn. Miraculously, the ONLY injury was to AJ Foyts hand which was cut when he vaulted a wire fence to the safety of the grandstand"

and this on Jim Clark:

"Jim Clark took the lead when Mario Andrettis car broke a valve, but lost valuable time when he spun, spectacularly, in some oil"

Mario went out at lap 27....minus that spin Dan, Clark might have won according to the times below. Jackie Stewart was 10 laps from the win when he lost oil pressure and immediately shut off to save John Mecoms $26,000 Ford engine. Graham Hill won in the American Red ball #24.

1 Hill 144.317
2.Clark 143.843
3. McElreath 143.742
4. Johncock 143.084



From Rick Popely's book, INDIANAPOLIS 500 Chronicle...
Clark's first spin occured on lap 64, and he spun again on lap 82. The first spin was in turn 4 and the second was in turn 3. The second spin was more spectacular, with 3 complete revolutions. Was the track that oily?

Whatever the reason, to spin twice and finish the race less than half-a-mile-per-hour slower than the winner is no small feat.

My DVD INDIANAPOLIS 500 THE LEGACY SERIES includes a feature on Clark, Hill and Stewart...in it Stewart says that he was sure that Hill and Clark would agree with him that none of the three of them ever really drove very well at Indy, their success was manly due to their familiarity with the cars. Clark's performance in 1966[and the other years he was able to race there] would lead me to believe otherwise; in his case, anyway.


Dan

#1047 Henri Greuter

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 07:55

Originally posted by Bob Riebe

Your bigoted dislike for American engines here destroys your assumptions at face value.
The small-block Ford on which the DOHC Ford was based was a great deal lighter than the small-block Chevy.

As the Ford cylinder block was ligher, and had a shorter deck than the small-block Chevy, any assumptions of weight or balance are void lacking actual figures; therefore your assumptions concerning the engine are invalid.
Bob



Thanks for the provided details Bob. That's appreciated.

By the way: I have loathed Detroit Iron and I shall always do that. But I don't dislike US engines in general. I appreciate Millers over a number of European racing engines. And I am not into the Novi Legend because of the stories alone. And a number of Europeans dwell over the Cosworth as ultimate racing engine by design and career: I vehemently disagree with then and nominate the Offenhauser for that.
So now you know a bit mere where I stand with giving my respect (and denying it too....) for American engines.

I remember having read somewhere that one of the big assets of Mickey's engines of 1962 (the Buick) and 1963 were that, despite being underpowered, they were still very light engines for a V8.
Even lighter then an Offy?

My assumption that the Ford Quadcam was heavier is based on the fact that the cylinderheads of the Chevy is more compact and lower. But if the crankcase is more compact, yes, that makes a difference on overall weight

As for the center of gravity. Much depends on how low and how compact the Ford was compared with the Chevy. But the Upper half of the Ford containe a lot more hardware than the Chevrolet:
The Chevrolet hat more compat cylinderblocks due to a lower cylinderhead construction and within the V it had the carburettors. But the exhausts were lower, being on the outside of the V.
The Ford however had a higher top end thanks to the two camshafthausings and the fuel injection systems were also (like with the Chevy) in the upper half of the engine. But also the exhausts were higher up than with the Chevy.
So I think it is more than likely to assume that the Ford had a higher GC then the Chevrolet had. If the Ford was lighter than the Chevrolet (based on what you wrote I consider that as possible) then that takes away my arguement that the GC of the car went to the rear, making the car loose grip at front.
Nevertheless, unless the Ford engine was much lighter than the Chevy and way more compact in the crankcase part, I think it is more then likely that the GC of the car was higher with the Ford then it was with the Chevy.
But after what you in the message on which this reply, I won't be surprised anymore if I am proven wrong with my theory. Which is OK with me if the hard facts are stated, and answering more questions about the Thompson car.

Henri

#1048 Henri Greuter

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 08:02

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
Not an engineer but could weight and center of gravity be two different issues? :

Henry


Certainly!
Why do you think that back in 1952 Salih wanted to lay the engine on its side?
The weight of the engine wasn't reduced but the GC was much lower, which improved the handling of the car.

Maybe not on topic but for example.

Late 60's Ferrari used V12 engines for F1 cars. But they went to the flat12 in order to reduce the CG of the engine and the car in order to improve roadholding.
Back in 1979, the Alfa Romeo F1 team redesigned their (Ferrari inspired) Flat12 engine into a V12 engine. The GC of the V12 raised quite a bit compared with the flat engine which was a disadvantage. But thanks to the V12, the teams that used Alfa engines (1979; Brabham, from 1980 on: Alfa Romeo itself) could create ground effects side pods to generate much more aerodynamic downforce. That compensated more than what was lost because in the increased GC.



Another classic example in which GC played a part: the 1994 Penske-Mercedes.

The Mercedes 500I was in length and width identical to the IlmorD. The block was comparable in height but the larger swept volume dictated longer inlet ductings for optimum power. So these, adn the inlet plenum were much higher than on the IlmorD. As a result, the Mercedes and IlmorD weighted about the same, one of them was 1 kg lighter then the other. But due to the higher plenum the GC of the Mercedes was higher then that of the IlmorD.
As a result of all of this, the GC of the entire car package was a bit higher then with the ilmorD. Also the aerodynamics around the engine cover were a bit compromised.
The Penske-Merc had one weakness: it was not so fast in the turns and a bit unstable. But this was generally credited to the higher GC and the less than ideal aerodynamics of the engine cover. But with the stop speed of the cars taking care of business.....
What nobody knew at that time was the the basic design of the 1994 Penske had one major flaw that made the cars unstable in the turns, compared with its opponent. Only in 1995, when there was no Mercedes Power to compensate for on the straights that flaw was exposed at last.

And yes: I realize that this story undermines my GC theory and undermines the importance I give to it with respect for the 1964 Thompson..


Henri

#1049 HistoricMustang

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 10:32

Hi Henri,

What I was attempting to say is that would it be possible for an engine to be lighter but have a higher center of gravity?

In other words, could the 1964 Ford Indy set up be lighter than the previous Chevrolet or Buick but still have a higher center of gravity creating more roll over possibly producing unknown suspension and body flex and bind?

Hopefully, this makes sense.

Henry

#1050 McGuire

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 11:35

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
Hi Henri,

What I was attempting to say is that would it be possible for an engine to be lighter but have a higher center of gravity?


Certainly.

Edit: However, the lighter the engine, the less its effect on the vehicle's CG, obviously.