Tell “500 LEGENDS” what Indy Car design is your all time favorite in the history of the Speedway

May 13th, 2010

Tell us what your all time favorite Indy Car design is and why you like that car. Send me a picture and I will post it to your blog. My favorite car was the 1981 #25 black beauty Interscope Batmobile driven by the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” Danny Ongais. This car was originally built to be raced in the 1980 Indianapolis 500 and was to be powered by a Porsche engine. Preseason testing in an older Parnelli chassis at Ontario proved that the engine was very powerful and very fast even in an older car and shattered previous track record speeds. So fast that other CART teams protested the engine and Cart made a last minute rules change that rendered the engine obsolete and Porsche withdrew its entry. The chassis was put on ice until 1981 when it was fitted with a Cosworth engine. Ongais was fast and was leading the race on lap 63 when he when in for a pit stop. Getting ready to exit his pit he stalled the engine and it turned into a 46 second pit stop. It was said that when the crew got his car restarted when Ongais lit up his tires leaving his pit he may have tweaked his right rear half shaft. Entering turn 3 on his out lap Ongais’ car snapped to the right almost head on ito the wall. The car burst into flames as black smoke, wheels and body panels shower the air. Ongais suffered major injuries, but recover to once again race at the famed oval. This car was so ahead of its time. Interesting enough the back end of the car looks a lot like a number of the new car designs being considered by the IRL for the 2012 chassis.  *PHOTO COURTESY OF WESLEY WINTERINK*

24 Responses to “Tell “500 LEGENDS” what Indy Car design is your all time favorite in the history of the Speedway”

  1. tom lill Says:

    I agree. I also liked Gurney’s Pepsi Challenger that
    Mosley took from last to first at milwaukee. And the
    Roger Rager car that was designed by a small aircraft
    engineer. I miss cars with character. I think 81 or
    82 was the last time there was variety before they
    all went to march or lola.

  2. Josh Stiegman Says:

    My favorite indy car would have to be the 1965 Jim Clark Lotus. Also, I like the new Lotus car driven by Takuma Sato.
    Cool Stuff!

  3. Josh Stiegman Says:

    I forgot about the Johnny Rutherford 1974 McLaren winner and the 1975 Gatorade McLaren Special also driven by Johnny Rutherford.

  4. Mark Gutis Says:

    Have to agree with Josh. Jimmy Clark’s 1965 Lotus 38-Ford is my favorite Indy car followed closely by his 1963 Lotus 29-Ford.

  5. Alan Jones Says:

    I loved this car and this driver! I was sitting in turn 3 (remember, johnnie boy?)and had my camera trained on the car. When it started to crash my “trigger” finger froze and I followed the wreck until the end, but didn’t take a picture until the car had stopped. I still have it somewhere. I really thought I’d seen Danny Ongais meet his death. It was one of my memories never to be erased.

  6. Mike Sipes Says:

    Tom Sneva’s Texaco March from 1983…loved the lines and look of that car…2nd would be Johnny Rutherford’s McLaren from ’74

  7. Steve Says:

    Mark Donahue’s winning ’72 McLaren; Huge wings, big tires, exposed engine and cool paint job. My all-time favorite.

  8. Jack Boyd Says:

    A.J. Foyt’s 1964 Watson roadster. I love the long nose of the roadsters mixed with the wider tires that were gaining popularity in the early 60’s. I also loved the last of the Novi’s.

  9. Rick Says:

    My all-time favorite car is the #40 STP Turbine car driven by Parnelli Jones. I was there when it qualified in 1967. I also watched as it was upgraded for ’68 and a Lotus wedge version was designed for Jimmy Clark to drive. I have pictures of Jimmy Clark and Parnelli testing at the Speedway just days before Jimmy was killed in England. Would have been great to see what ‘might’ have been!

  10. Dave Pool Says:

    Jill, you beat me to it! The Pepsi Challenger Eagle was an awesome design. Even so, I’d have to rank it as a close #3 to my two all-time favorites — the STP Paxton Turbine of 1967 and the Lotus turbines of 1968.

  11. Mike Osterbur Says:

    As far as standing the establishment at Indy on its’ collective ear I would have to say it would be ‘Silent Sam’, Andy Granatelli’s first turbine-powered car, with Parnelli Jones at the wheel. A close second would be the Yellow Submarine of Johnny Rutherford, in 1980, the Jim Hall-built Chaparral, with ground effects. Might have been the most dominant car I’ve ever seen at the Speedway.

    I love the roadsters. George Salih’s Belond Exhaust Special, with either Sam Hanks in 1957 or Jimmy Bryan, in 1958 is right up there, along with just about anything A.J. Watson built. Tops of my list of Watson roadsters was Jim Rathmann’s Ken-Paul Special winner in 1960.

  12. Phil Thorpe Says:

    The Yellow Submarine- Pennziol Chaparell…

  13. dave Says:

    A.j”s 1977 winning car

  14. Jim Hill Says:

    My favorite car was the 1960 winner,it was a roadster,it had an Offy,and it had Smokey Yunick for a crew chief.

  15. Ian Shields Says:

    Amazing how only one of Penske’s spotless entries has been mentioned!

    Let’s fix that egregious oversight right now:

    Certainly, yes, Donohue’s gorgeous dark blue Sunoco cars (especially ’71-’72) are wayyy up there.
    How about Andretti’s ’80 Essex Motorsports car, with the mirror-like sidepods and wheels, and chrome paint accents — wow. Almost feared getting that one dirty on a race track…
    Bobby Unser’s Indy-winning Norton Penske PC9B from ’81 — the sky-blue, white and yellow Norton livery really makes the chrome pop on this one. And again, how about those incredible mirror-chrome Penske wheels? Yum.
    Tom Sneva’s “Bicentennial” Norton McLaren from ’76 — holy smokes!
    Rick Mears’ 1982 “Gould Charge” PC10 — was there ever a race car that screamed “race car” more eloquently than this gleaming rocket? Big number One on a pointy nose, killer sheen, flawless preparation, record speed, and the greatest Indy driver that ever lived smiling in the cockpit, all set up to thrill us in the greatest Indy 500 finish ever.

    Ya can’t ask for deeper beauty than that, people. 🙂

  16. tom minderler Says:

    aj foyts 1977 coyote. it belongs in a art museum.

  17. Doug Poole Says:

    I was there in 1981 and saw this beautiful car destroyed. I was just so glad Danny survived that horrible crash. It was one of my favorite cars at Indy, but I’d have to say the 1967 A.J.Foyt car, in all it’s simplicity, was my favorite.

  18. Eric Januszewski Says:

    The Peter Revson 1971 Mclaren M16A is a great looking car.

  19. Tom Frost Says:

    I will add my thoughts to all the good cars listed. I really liked the powder blue Jorgensen sponsored Eagle driven by Bobby Unser.

  20. Tom Osborne Says:

    My favorite livery is the Evil Knievel Spl. because I designed it!

  21. johnnylightning82 Says:

    Very cool Tom! That was a great paint job on that car…AWESOME!! Did you design any other Indy Car paint schemes

  22. Pat Hamit Says:

    Yes, Lotus had a corner on the market for “look’en good” backed up by performance in the day. And yes, all the black cars shine like nothing else, after all black is beautiful. Arguably two cars stand out for their exceptional paint schemes and nothing much has ever come close before or since, that is: Jim Hurtubise’s 1960 Watson Roadster and Jerry Grant’s 1972 Mystery Eagle.

  23. Moe Pagni Says:

    Jim Hurtubise’s miller sponsored mallard and the whoosh mobile

  24. Robert Boyer Says:

    My favorite car of all time is the 1948 Novi No. 54
    Second would be the No. 3 Blue Crown Spark Plug Spl. (1948)

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