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First Lotus at the Brickyard


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#1 WINO

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 12:46

The first Lotus appearing at Indianapolis was in 1962, when Dan Gurney practiced the John Zink Special. He used a Zink roadster to do his rookie tests, then tried to get a turbine-powered Lotus up to competitive speeds. He failed and changed to one of the rear-engined cars built by Micky Thompson.

Where did Zink get the Lotus? Was it a brand new car or a former Formula One car, perhaps used by Guney already? From photos it appears to have been a 21. Whatever happened to the car?


WINO

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#2 Tom Glowacki

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 18:00

Good question. The pictures I have show a 21, not 18/21, type nose cone, but outboard front suspension, which is quite similar to the 18, but with the swaybar relocated. The rear wheels appear to be wobblies, but the fronts, which cannot be identified in my pictures, are knock-offs. Clearly, the engine bay was rebuilt to fit the turbine and incidentally, to make sure the wheelbase met the 96" minimum. I wonder if the only Lotus parts are the nose cone, the rear wheels and maybe the suspension.

#3 Buford

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 22:18

I don't remember them at the time calling the Zink Turbine a Lotus.

Edit

The 1962 Clymer Yearbook article by Harry Hartz Vice Chairman of the technical committee says "The chassis was built by Dennie Moore, chief mechanic for John Zink."

#4 Don Capps

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 22:39

Dang, Buford beat me to it....

#5 Buford

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 23:20

Will I see you at Watkins Glen for the vintage weekend?

#6 Don Capps

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 00:05

Bu,

Unfortunately that will not be happening I am sad to say. I made a committment to Augusta, but now even that is looking very iffy since I might be at Offutt AFB on a project we are working on....

However, I am assured that you will have a ball.... I assume you are bringing bags of beads for the Vintage Ladies....

#7 WINO

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 00:34

Buford and Capps,

Nice try. Did Dennie Moore design the wobbly wheels as well? Or did he get credit for the whole thing by just lengthening the Lotus wheelbase? His plate was pretty full putting that turbine in the back. And the suspension is very, let's say... Unamerican.


WINO

#8 Don Capps

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 00:42

Chasssis either made or extensively modified by Moore and the other bits and pieces from someone's Lotus. However, which one is a good question.

#9 WINO

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 00:56

From the book "Indianapolis Racing Memories":

Dan Gurney: "....and then I was supposed to drive a Boeing turbine powered Lotus......"

And: "What John Zink had done was stretch the Lotus chassis in the engine compartment in order to make the turbine fit."


WINO

#10 teegeefla

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 01:05

Does anyone know where I can find photos of the Zink roadster that Gurney used for the rookie test? Was it the former Indy winning Zink machine or a different chassis? I have found some partial pictures of the roadster and the turbine at this site:

http://albums.photo....mList?u=4025402

There are also some great pictures of Gurney and Clark and the Lotus Ford from early 1963 testing at IMS, with the engine having upswept zoomie-type headers.

#11 WINO

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 01:13

There is a photo of Gurney in the roadster on page 77 of the 1962 Indianapolis Yearbook, although it is not identified as having any particular [winning] history.


WINO

#12 Pete Stowe

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 11:46

Dan Gurney's account from the book "Team Lotus - the Indianapolis Years" by Andrew Ferguson, published 1996. Not that it answers your original questions though, WINO.

"I had first gone to Indianapolis in 1962, at the invitation of an entrant named John Zink. I took the obligatory driver’s test in his traditional front-engined Offy roadster, but what he was hoping to qualify for the race was a rear-engined frame - I’m sure it was actually an old Lotus chassis - powered by a Boeing gas turbine……
‘He had some Boeing engineers who were keen to promote these things as high-reliability, cheap-to-run engines powering Kenworth trucks. One of the engineers was running one on the street in a ’32 Ford roadster, which must have been quite exciting.
‘But when Jack Zink appeared at Indy with his turbine car he was stiff and sore and his face and arms covered in scabs and grazes, because while testing the car back at some place in Oklahoma he’d flipped it during a test run. And when I got out on to the Speedway in the car it was plain that its 350 horsepower wasn’t enough. A gas turbine develops maximum torque at stall, like a steam engine, so the faster you ran it the less it delivered.
‘In those days we were still having to brake into the turns at Indy, so when you went back on the gas that turbine could set very competitive corner speeds, and came off the turns with good acceleration. But part way down the straight it would be all over for the day. It just ran out of power and stopped accelerating.
‘I was really having to hustle it in the effort to set competitive lap times, and it became clear that it just didn’t have enough power. So I told Zink that if he could find anyone to drive it faster he shouldn’t worry about hurting my feelings - he should go right ahead and try them …… and then Mickey Thompson asked if I’d like to drive one of his new rear-engined Buick V8-powered cars."

#13 WINO

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 11:53

I wonder if the Lotus/Boeing could have been the car in which Innes Ireland won the U.S. Grand Prix in 1961. I am sure that Chapman would have been quite pleased to sell the car at the end of the season.


WINO

#14 David McKinney

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 12:15

Nice thought WINO, but that car stayed with Team Lotus, and was then sold to a Scottish hillclimber

#15 WINO

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Posted 30 August 2004 - 12:41

David,

Can any of the other Team Lotus cars be accounted for, after the 1961 U.S. Grand Prix?

Originally I thought of the Mrs Boden Lotus 18 as well, having been raced by Gurney. But Gurney does not seem to have been involved in the purchase of the Lotus by Jack Zink.

WINO

#16 Macca

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 09:44

This one looks a bit like a Lotus 21 or 18/21 too:

http://albums.photo....ence=0&res=high

See the radius arms; but it doesn't have a turbine engine, looks like a V8 from the intakes and exhausts.


Paul M

#17 Macca

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 09:52

That link doesn't seem to work, but it's photo # 21 of 62 on album "More racing stuff 5".

http://albums.photo....0824&p=60808501

Paul M

#18 Peter Morley

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 11:45

That looks like a 21 rather than 18/21 nose.
Engine looks like a Chevy V8 with that distributor up in the air behind the intakes.

Is it the Lotus 21 supplied originally to Jack Brabham when his 24 was delayed.
That later ended up raced (and heavily modified) Stateside by some Unser's including Pikes Peak hillclimb.
It was restored (e.g. replaced?) some years ago by Cedric Selzer for an American dealer.

#19 WINO

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 12:23

If the Unser's raced this car at Pikes Pieak with Chevy engine it would be the Harrison Special, built in 1964 for Frank Harrison by Jerry Eisert. Th design was inspired by Harrison' Lotus Formula Junior. Skip Hudson could not qualify it at Indy in 1965.


WINO

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#20 WINO

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 12:26

Just compared photos of the two cars and they are very different.


WINO

#21 Allen Brown

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 13:06

Originally posted by WINO
If the Unser's raced this car at Pikes Pieak with Chevy engine it would be the Harrison Special, built in 1964 for Frank Harrison by Jerry Eisert. Th design was inspired by Harrison' Lotus Formula Junior. Skip Hudson could not qualify it at Indy in 1965.


WINO

Hi WINO

I thought the car Hudson drove at the 1965 Indy 500 was Jerry Eisert's new monocoque Harrison Special, later known as "the fat one" compared with the slimmer 1966 and 1967 Harrison/Eisert cars. Have I got that wrong?

Hudson actually failed his rookie test. It was none other than Al Unser who failed to qualify the #96 Harrison Special at the 500.

At the very next race, the Milwaukee "100" on 6 Jun 1965, Unser was 13th in the #96 car but Johnny Rutherford retired a second Harrison/Eisert entry (#93) with the car on fire. I'd assumed that second entry was the older 1964 Lotus-based spaceframe and Unser was in the new 1965 monocoque car. What do you reckon?

Thanks

Allen

#22 WINO

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 13:39

Allen,

You are right. Skip Hudson did not even get as far as qualifying, failing his rookie tests and being asked to come back next year, with more experience. The ultimate snub for a sportscar driver with his experience. Don't think he ever came back.

Al Unser failed to qualify the Arciero entered contraption with 4.2 liter V8 Maserati engine of 1956 vintage in the back. He got a last minute reprieve in the A.J. Foyt Lola, qualifying on the last day.

I interviewed Harrison about eight years ago in Chattanooga. This is what he said of his Indy car:

"We took a year to build our own Indy car. Eisert moved to Chattanooga for a while, but in the end we moved everything to Cost Mesa in California. Jerry had a shop there for the speedway stuff"

"That was a very pretty car, but it was not very quick. It had a push rod Chevy engine. The design was Lotus-inspired and we used my Lotus Formula Junior as an example"

"Lloyd Ruby had a prior commitment, We had Billy Foster, Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser. We tried one season with Chevy. After that we went with Ford engines"

In our conversation Harrison never referred to two Harrison Specials and especially in 1965 it would have been unlikely. If you really want to know the details, talk to Jerry Eisert. Contact me privately and I wil put you in contact.

By the way, Harrison was the first Lotus owner with any measure of success on the Indy trail, after the Lotus/Boeing [love that word] failed to deliver.

WINO

#23 Allen Brown

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 13:56

Hi WINO

Thanks for the offer on Jerry E. I'll contact you offline in a moment.

There were definitely two or three Harrison Specials. The Wallen book has a picture of the #96 and #93 cars alongside each other at the 1966 "500", with the #93 car clearly being the fatter car driven by Unser in the two pre-Indy races and the #96 car being the new slimmer design.

At Fuji 1966, Grant drove the #93 car and Weld the #96 car - so definitely two there as well. Both are pictured in Paul Johnson's pictures referred to above.

Skipping ahead, at Riverside 1968 there were three Eiserts entered: the #96 for Revson, the #93 car for Heimrath (who then bought it and ran it for three years) and an ex-Indy car, probably the 1965 "fat one", for Stew McMillan who'd been running it in Formula A. McMillan didn't actually turn up but I can't honestly believe Revson ran his car so there must have been three.

My best guess is one per year: the 1964 Lotus-based space frame; the 1965 "fat one" and two very similar cars in 1966 and 1967.

On the Lotus 19 thread, I recall you making some reference to Frank Harrison's racing records. Do such things exist?

Allen

#24 WINO

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 13:58

Allen,

I should have been more specific. Harrison did have two Indy car in the early sixties.

The first one was a lengthened [to 96 inch] former Formula One Lotus 18. Lloyd Ruby raced it in the 1961 U.S. Grand Prix at the Glen. With a 2.5 liter Climax engine Ruby raced it at Milwaukee and Trenton in 1963, almost winning Milwakee until the Colotti gearbox disintegrated.

This car was converted to 289 Ford power and --in highly modified form-- won Pikes Peak in 1965 with Al Unser.

The wide car built in 1964 was purely Eisert, based on Lotus-inspiration. So it is possible that two Harrison cars raced at Milwaukee in 1965.


WINO

#25 WINO

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 14:40

Allen,

According to Harrison, his last race as a team owner was the Indy car race at Riverside in 1967, the race won by Dan Gurney in his Eagle. So any 1968 Eisert entries would have been private ones.

As for race records, I copied the following:

- J. Frank Harrison SCCA Regional Competition License and Driver's Racing Log:

Drivers school records and all events raced by Harrison himself, Courtland, Sebring, Chimney Rock, Savannah, Columbia, Daytona, Donaldsonville, Fernandina and Macon. All Formula Junior and Formula Libre. No Indy car information.

- Sports Car Racing: hand written log by Harrison with all his sportscars and Formula cars in the late 50s/early 60s. No Indy car infomation.


WINO

#26 David McKinney

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 15:07

Originally posted by Allen Brown
Skipping ahead, at Riverside 1968 there were three Eiserts entered: the #96 for Revson, the #93 car for Heimrath (who then bought it and ran it for three years) and an ex-Indy car, probably the 1965 "fat one", for Stew McMillan who'd been running it in Formula A. McMillan didn't actually turn up but I can't honestly believe Revson ran his car so there must have been three.

A few weeks after that McMillan (or McMillen?) was racing the Fat One in NZ

#27 Macca

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 15:43

Yes, but what about the car in post #17?

:confused:


Paul M

#28 WINO

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 16:18

You mean Post 21? It sure looks like Rodger Ward to me. No idea about the car or the year. What year did Ward feature the number 2?


WINO

#29 Allen Brown

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 16:38

Originally posted by WINO
Allen,

According to Harrison, his last race as a team owner was the Indy car race at Riverside in 1967, the race won by Dan Gurney in his Eagle. So any 1968 Eisert entries would have been private ones.

Yes, the 1968 entries were by Eisert himself, as ERE (Eisert Racing Enterprises). He started the year with one #96 entry, as with Harrison from 1965 to 1968, but does not appear to have run a car during Indy month and only made a couple of road course entries at later USAC races: Castle Rock and Riverside.

As David points out, "the fat one" was converted to Formula A and McMillen raced it in the US during 1968 and then - apparantly the same car - in New Zealand in January 1969.

The "fat one" was Unser's Chev-engined car during 1965 so I'm pretty sure was the car they spent 1964 building, following on from the Lotus-based car. With the Wallen picture showing the fat one "relegated" to the #93 backup car position at the 1966 Indy 500, I'm confident the slimmer car came later than "the fat one".

One of the slimmer cars was sold to Heimrath in 1968 and was raced by him at the same time that the fat one was racing in New Zealand. That slimmer car is now owned by Al Murray and Jerry Eisert has told him that it was new for Indy in 1967. Jerry himself owns the 1966 car. I think the 1965 "fat one" may be the car owned by Tony Perera but I haven't been able to make contact with Perera to find out what he has.

So - to recap, we have:
the 1963-64 much-modified Lotus (the Pikes Peak winner) - recently via Cedric Selzer
the 1965 Lotus-inspired fat one - lost? Perera?
a 1966 slim one - with Jerry Eisert
a 1967 slim one - with Al Murray

Have I got that Lotus right? Or was there a car in between the Lotus and "the fat one"?

BTW, does the mystery Indy car (Post 17) look at all like the Pikes Peak winner?

Allen

#30 Gerr

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 17:16

There is a thread titled "Another mystery car to identify" started by Allen, about the car in post #17 (Macca) or post #21 (WINO).

#31 David McKinney

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 18:24

Originally posted by Allen Brown
As David points out, "the fat one" was converted to Formula A and McMillen raced it in the US during 1968 and then - apparantly the same car - in New Zealand in January 1969

You know what a nitpicker I am, Allen :lol:
It was December 1968 :cool:

#32 Allen Brown

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 21:39

Hi David. I knew that one wouldn't get past you!

I found a couple of pictures in Wallen's book which, if I've read Bira's guidelines correctly, I can reproduce here at 400 pixel size.

Here's Al Unser's Lotus-based Ford-powered 1965 Pikes Peak car:

HarrisonSpecial-UnserPikesPeak65B-400x.j

And here's his USAC trail Harrison-Special-by-Eisert "fat one" at IRP a few weeks later:

Eisert-Unser-IRP65-400x.jpg

And for the third generation, here's the two Harrison-Special-by-Eiserts at the 1966 Indy; new slimline ducktail car on the left and the older "fat one" bobtail on the right.

Eiserts-Indy66-400x.jpg

Can any of you exhaust system experts suggest what engines are in those Eiserts?

Allen


Edited by Allen Brown, 13 September 2014 - 17:32.


#33 WINO

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 22:48

Based on what Harrison told me:

Photo 1: Ford
Photo 2: Chevy push rod
Photo 3: both Fords


WINO

#34 Gerr

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 23:19

Nope,

First pic could be a push-rod Ford as it appears that the inlets are evenly spaced.

The pic second is a Chev.

The third pic, both are Chevs, but #96 did get a 4-cam Ford later, just prior to final qualifying.

#35 WINO

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Posted 31 August 2004 - 23:36

VERRRRRRY interesting, Gerr!


WINO

#36 Gerr

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 21:23

This may be even more interesting.

Ran across an old copy of a photo that was auctioned on Ebay. From Indy 1961, it is a rear-engined Offy, number 52, lettered John Zink "Trackburner" Tulsa, with, presumably Troy Ruttman in the car, a Kurtis-like grill and huge left-side fuel tank. Not Lotus-like at all.

It is listed in the entry list in Clymer's yearbook as number 52 (driver Troy Ruttman) with a little cross beside the engine size designating "rear-engine", I guess as only the Cooper entries had this cross as well. The other Zink car was entered as number 78, without a designated driver.

Fox's History has a rear-engined Zink entry in the "failed to qualify" section but with the number 78 and no driver listed. I assume Zink swapped numbers on the Moore roadster Ruttman qualified, changing them from 78 to 52 and 52 to 78 on the rear-engined car.

Perhaps this is the chassis for the turbine entry in '62 ?

#37 WINO

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 22:16

Gerr,

Hard to say. Gurney was pretty adamant that the 1962 rear-engined Zink car was a Lotus. From you descripton the 1961 Zink car sounds like an in-house Tulsa special.

WINO

#38 WINO

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 22:27

Just checked Troy Ruttman's book and the 1961 rear-engined Zink car is not mentioned.

Just the anecdote how in May 1961 Ruttmann put his arm around the comely Jim Rathmann [made up with a blond wig] and how the two of them drove into the pits area, to test the "no women allowed" rule.


WINO

#39 xkssFrankOpalka

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 23:32

One of these 21s might be the car I bought, it had rocker front suspension and fuel tanks, was reduced to mud racing I guess as it had no engine but had a Corvair transaxle, never found the chassis #. I hear it is still in the area unrestored.

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#40 TIPO61

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 00:36

Wasn't the 1st Lotus at the Speedway Clark's 25 that ran between the U.S.GP and the non championship race in Mexico in '62?

#41 Gerr

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 10:38

WINO, FYI
see post #36
http://cgi.ebay.com/...1QQcmdZViewItem

#42 WINO

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 11:53

Gerr,

Very interesting photo. Although 1961, the car looks almost mid-fifties. Too bulky to be associated with the 1962 Trackburner Lotus. Does not look like the tall Ruttman either.

WINO

#43 Allen Brown

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 13:29

I'm going to bend some copyright rules so we can discuss this picture. My understanding of "Fair Use" is that a picture can be copied in order to comment on that picture. So here goes:

Zink61.jpg

If the copyright holder objects, I'll take it down again.

Allen


Edited by Allen Brown, 13 September 2014 - 17:39.


#44 WINO

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 13:39

According to me the driver in the photo is Bill Cheesbourg.

WINO

#45 Frank S

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Posted 18 November 2005 - 17:50

Possibly well Off-Topic by now:

Originally posted by Pete Stowe (post #12)
Dan Gurney's account from the book "Team Lotus - the Indianapolis Years" by Andrew Ferguson, published 1996. Not that it answers your original questions though, WINO.

"I had first gone to Indianapolis in 1962, at the invitation of an entrant named John Zink. I took the obligatory driver’s test in his traditional front-engined Offy roadster, but what he was hoping to qualify for the race was a rear-engined frame - I’m sure it was actually an old Lotus chassis - powered by a Boeing gas turbine……
‘He had some Boeing engineers who were keen to promote these things as high-reliability, cheap-to-run engines powering Kenworth trucks. One of the engineers was running one on the street in a ’32 Ford roadster, which must have been quite exciting...."

Posted Image . Posted Image

As seen at Petersen Automotive Museum, December 2002.
I don't remember what the signage said, but it seems unlikely
to me that there were/are two turbine-engined '32 roadsters.

--
Frank S

#46 A E Anderson

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 05:34

Originally posted by Buford
I don't remember them at the time calling the Zink Turbine a Lotus.

Edit

The 1962 Clymer Yearbook article by Harry Hartz Vice Chairman of the technical committee says "The chassis was built by Dennie Moore, chief mechanic for John Zink."


Buford,

That's exactly my memory as well. Additionally, I scoped out the Zink Trackburner rather extensively back in the early 70's, in the Speedway Museum, with an eye to possibly scratchbuilding a scale model of it. This car always impressed me as being a good bit larger all around than any Lotus I've ever seen, particularly wider. The chassis is, as I recall, tube-frame construction, as is the suspension--stuff that just about any professional race car builder in the US at the time was very conversant with.

One unnerving habit around Indy, particularly after 1963, was the tendency of many people, be they race fans or even the press, to call any rear-engined race car a "Lotus", whether or not it actually was.

A possible source to find out might be Donald Davidson, who, after years of being USAC's historian, now works in that same capacity at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I don't know a specific address, but an email directed to IMS, or a letter sent to Donald Davidson, c/o Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, Speedway, Indiana, or email Dick Mittman at indianapolismotorspeedway.com might get some more definitive answers.

Art

#47 WINO

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 08:56

Art,

The E-Bay description of the car in the photo clearly describes it as a rear-engined Offy built by Moore for Jack Zink, although they get it all wrong by suggesting Gurney was destined to drive it in 1961.

Gurney tersted the Zink Lotus turbine in 1962. This was a completely different looking car.


WINO

#48 JB Miltonian

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 09:49

Sorry if this has already been posted here somewhere, I didn't see it. These pictures are from the Indianapolis report in Sports Car Graphic, September 1962, photo credit to Jack Brady.

Posted Image

#49 WINO

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 17:36

Thanks for posting, JB. That is the car I was referring to. Friedman uses the same shot in his Indianapolis Racing Memories book. A second photo shows the car's wobbly wheels as used by Lotus.

WINO

#50 teegeefla

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 17:18

A E Anderson -

did you ever build that model? If so, what did you use for a baseline model?