If you’re going to be in Indianapolis between now and the end of May 2011, you have to visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Mall of Fame Museum to see the Ultimate Indianapolis 500 Winning Car Collection. This salute to the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 is a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of 67 vehicles representing 71 victories.
|Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Hall of Fame Museum
Entrance atrium with Borg-Warner Trophy
and the 1960 Jim Rathman Ken-Paul Special
Copyright © 2011 Dennis E. Horvath
The exhibit includes 31 winning cars owned by the IMS Hall of Fame Museum and 36 privately owned cars that have been loaned for this unique exhibit. Cars included in the exhibit range from the 1911 Marmon Wasp driven by Ray Harroun to the 2010 Dallara/Honda driven by Dario Franchitti.
The pre World War II era is represented by 10 cars. Every winning car from the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s is here. This group includes each car driven by the three four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500, A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.
Indianapolis-built cars are represented by the 1911 Marmon Wasp, the 1912 National driven by Joe Dawson, and the 1922 Duesenberg/Miller driven by Jimmy Murphy. The 1922 Duesenberg was the same car that Murphy drove to win the 1921 French Grand Prix (an American first) with while powered by a straight-eight Duesenberg engine. The car as presented by IMS is the number 12 French GP livery of red wheels, white body with American flag on the tail, and dark blue frame.
I spent a lot of my time at the exhibit reminiscing about my first Indianapolis 500 in 1963. Parnelli Jones drove his J.C. Agajanian’s Willard Battery Special roadster and bested Jimmy Clark in a rear-engine Lotus/Ford at the dawn of the rear engine revolution. Exhibit cars are arranged in chronological order so you get an idea of the design progression from year to year. It seems that the cars didn’t take on their commercial billboard flair until the 1980s.
If you want to get an idea of Indianapolis 500 cars across the past century, this is a must see exhibit. The museum was packed during our visit with a 500 Winners autographing event. I am sure this will be a popular exhibit during its run thru the end of May.
So, stop in and reminisce about your Indianapolis 500 memories. We’d also like to know so share them here.