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Thread: New Book coming about 1964 500

  1. #31
    Registered User IndyDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin99 View Post
    That's what I heard, that both Sachs and McCluskey were blaming Parnelli but neither spin could be directly attributed to #98 since so many others were leaking.

    Love that we can still discuss this 50 years later.

    LPBF, USAC said they were going to a lot of things, and didn't.

    1963 was my first 500 and Parnelli became my instant hero. He still is, to this day. Interesting how this thread has wandered to 1963.
    I sat in North Tower Terrace in 1964 and saw the whole thing, terrible. My parents and I walked through Gasoline Alley after The Race. If my memory serves me correctly, Sachs' car was over in a corner, guarded by a member of the Safety Patrol, covered in a tarp, and still on the hook. I have always believed that some of Eddie was still in the car.

    I'll buy the book this year while at The Speedway. I hope there is a book signing there.
    "We are all speeding toward our deaths at 60 minutes an hour." Sid Collins on Race Day, 1964

  2. #32
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    The 1964 race might have been the first race broadcast live in theaters and similar venues. It may have been the last one too.

    I am not sure of either but I did watch the race in 1964 in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The very long intermission (about an hour and a half I think) after a few laps made me glad to be in Santa Monica rather than at the Speedway.
    Last edited by JimInSoCalif; 12-07-2013 at 04:24 AM. Reason: Fixed Sperling Error

  3. #33
    Dirt biker/carp hunter Stick500's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimInSoCalif View Post
    The 1964 race might have been the first race broadcast live in theaters and similar venues. It may have been the last one too.
    they kept showing the race on closed circuit TV in theaters thru the rest of the '60s

    I remember my dad going to our local theater in IA one year

    you can count me as another one who will be getting my hands on this book- sounds like it's been well-researched
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  4. #34
    Dirt biker/carp hunter Stick500's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CruzBay View Post
    BigJohn: Is this the film you referred to?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9PYzK_bC7U
    just watched it- great film

    never saw that footage before of Andy G. taking a flyer on pit road while he was trotting down to greet a driver after qualifying- they probably felt it in Clermont

    also, Bobby U. didn't seem to appreciate a kiss from Andy at all- apparently you need a little Italian in you to go for that

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimInSoCalif View Post
    The 1964 race might have been the first race broadcast live in theaters and similar venues. It may have been the last one too.

    I am not sure of either but I did watch the race in 1964 in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The very long intermission (about an hour and a half I think) after a few laps made me glade to be in Santa Monica rather than at the Speedway.
    Yes, 1964 was the first. 1970 was the last. I watched that one at The Forum in Inglewood. My older brother watched the '64 and '66 races at theaters.
    "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

  6. #36
    I can only imagine what the 1964 500 would be remembered as if not for that horrible incident. Don't forget there were a handful of rookies that actually won the 500 and finished pretty well that year, more or less a year of change in Indy Car.

  7. #37
    Dave MacDonald has just been named to the Corvette Hall of Fame. if you're interested, here's my blog post on his Corvette days...


    https://www.goodreads.com/author_blo...n-corvette-hof

  8. #38
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    Thanks for the link. Dave MacDonald was one great racer.

    As I've noted in other posts, my connection to 1964 was that my father was a broadcaster on the IMS Radio Network. And he covered much of the tragic accident for the radio team; doing, among other things, the first interviews with those that made it through including Johnny Rutherford.

    I respect the work that must have gone into writing the book and can tell from the author's posts that it will be a well written and respectful volume.

    In the language of literature, I can imagine that parts of it will be like an elegy.

    It was indeed a dark noon. Which makes it even more worthy of a book to honor the memory of participants.

  9. #39
    Dirt biker/carp hunter Stick500's Avatar
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    two years later the Unlimited Hydroplane world had it's Dark Sunday, 3 drivers lost in one day, two in the same accident

    two of the drivers and their wives were best friends and lived in the Seattle area

    I remember my dad had a magazine with a big article on it with pics of the drivers earlier in the day all happy- as a kid I just couldn't believe men were that brave....

    http://www.washelli.com/wordpress/20...-black-sunday/

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by racing28 View Post
    Dave MacDonald has just been named to the Corvette Hall of Fame. .....
    Here's a couple of links (Part 1 and Part 2) with a lot about MacDonald and his Corvette days. There are also quotes about him personally from family members.


    http://www.corvettereport.com/corvet...t-1/#more-7183

    http://www.corvettereport.com/corvet...t-2/#more-7183

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by IndyDog View Post
    1963 was my first 500 and Parnelli became my instant hero. He still is, to this day. Interesting how this thread has wandered to 1963.
    I sat in North Tower Terrace in 1964 and saw the whole thing, terrible. My parents and I walked through Gasoline Alley after The Race. If my memory serves me correctly, Sachs' car was over in a corner, guarded by a member of the Safety Patrol, covered in a tarp, and still on the hook. I have always believed that some of Eddie was still in the car.

    I'll buy the book this year while at The Speedway. I hope there is a book signing there.

    I had much of the book finished, but wasn't happy with the opening chapter, when I realized much of what happened in the '64 race started in '63 -- the Lotus Fords, use of gasoline, tire wars, the pancake Thompson cars -- all had their roots in '63 or earlier. Starting the book in the middle of the '63 race also provided an opportunity to contrast Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald. Sachs in the middle of it, being spectacular, MacDonald at home listening to it on the radio, dreaming of his chance at the 500.

    '64 was, as many have noted, the first year for a closed circuit broadcast. Black and white only. More than 100 locations and 250,000 tickets sold. Members of the MacDonald family were at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, while the Sachs family was in a North Carolina theater. Roger McCluskey was working for the broadcast (he broke his arm in a sprint car crash) and when he returned from the crash site he was asked what he had learned. "Well, Eddie's dead," he said in the straightforward manner of someone who lived with possibility every time he got in a race car.

  12. #42
    Fantastic insight! This book will be one of a kind simply due to your great research. Not only what happened on the track but giving readers a deeper look at these brave men, their families, and the many parts that made up Indy Car racing in it's golden age (well...golden age for me)

  13. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by tmorris View Post
    ...., and the many parts that made up Indy Car racing .....
    Good point. Except that absolutely nobody would have ever used the name "Indy Car" back then. The circuit was the Championship Trail and the cars were called Championship Cars. You might hear someone talk about an Indianapolis car when comparing it to something like a Formula One car but that was about it. CART started calling their cars Indy cars; I think sometime in the 1980s although the name still didn't catch on much. I know March continued to advertise their cars each year as Championship Cars right up until they quit selling them. If you bought a car from them it was always something like an 82C or even an 88C with the number being the model year and the "C" being for Championship Car.

  14. #44
    indyrjc---you caught me! I've been following the Indy 500 and it's history since around 1962 when I bought my first Clymer YB and was hooked. I am not a gear head and enjoy reading the posts by people on this forum who really know what they are talking about because they have been "inside" the teams that competed. I am just a died-in-the-wook Indianapolis 500 fan with an addiction to the race's history and finding out as much as I can about the who, where, what, and whys of the IMS.

    With all of the titles ---USAC Champ Cars, Indy Car, CART, IRL, roadster era, etc. ad nauseum...I have regretfully and simply due to being lazy with the terms, referred to anything related to the machines in the Indy 500 as Indy Car....heck I was talking to my dad (still lives in my hometown Columbus, IN) about the 1964 book coming out and he even asked me "is the book only about the 1964 Indy Car season???"

  15. #45
    Dirt biker/carp hunter Stick500's Avatar
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    I don't think there's anything wrong with using the term Indy car to describe any of it's history over the past 100 years

    for example, would I be incorrect to have a conversation and say "Indy car racing in the '50s was very dangerous," or "the Indy cars in the '20s had really small engines"? No, I don't think so. Indy cars is just a generic term that people have used to describe them for several decades now, even before it became the official name of a series. I know I was calling them that back in '71.

    However, if I said "the Indy car champ in 1954 was Jimmy Bryan" that might not be kosher, but it still isn't a big blunder. If I wrote in a book or article that the "IndyCar Series Champ in 1954 was Jimmy Bryan" that would certainly be wrong and up for criticism.

    just because they weren't using the term back in '64 doesn't mean we can't use it conversation today, when referring to the past

    with that sort of logic, every time we talk about any past civil rights problems we'd have to be saying things like "in the '20s there were a lot of lynchings of coloreds in the south" or during WWII "our country interred thousands of Japs in concentration camps" - we of course use the current terms today for racial groups when we talk about past history- and it's not just about being politically correct- there are many other terms in science and medicine that we wouldn't use anymore (even when talking about things way in the past when those terms didn't even exist) simply because they are outdated (psychopath, consumption, dropsy, etc.)

    JMHO and wanting to stick up for tmorris

  16. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by tmorris View Post
    indyrjc---you caught me! ....
    That's OK. I guess I should have been more clear but I wasn't trying to catch anyone. I was just making the point that the term Indy car is a fairly new one. And you are right in that the names do get confusing. For many racers there was sometimes a difference between an Indianapolis (not Indy) car and a Champ car with a Champ car being the one used on the mile dirt tracks. And don't even get me started on sprint cars versus big cars.

    BTW, there was quite a period of time where the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would not use the term "Indy" at all in reference to either the track or the race. The Beach Boys song notwithstanding IMS wanted their race to be known only as the Indianapolis 500.

    Also, the whole modern use of the words Indy car in reference to past history is about the same as how NASCAR always says that guys like Lee Petty and Ned Jarrett were Sprint Cup champions when they were no such thing. I've never understood why using the actual name of the "Grand National" championships that they won isn't good enough now. I suppose it all comes down to the current circuit sponsors bringing enough money to the Frances to have them call it anything they want.

  17. #47
    Racing28 / Art,

    Can you perhaps lift the vail on one still persistant rumour going on?

    On another forum I have read an ongoing discussion about the Mickey Thompson cars and the participants in that discussion eventually concluded that some ever so often told stories which have been repeated since 1964 could not have been the case. First that the Shrike of Eddy lost its entire fuel contents and that, contrary tot the stories told about the car, it definitely wasn't a 80 or more gallon tank capacity car.
    But the participants also concluded that the stories about the Thompson having two fuel tanks and both of them topped up on race day were almost 100% sure not true and that the car had only a single fuel tank of some 45 or so gallons.
    Some of the participants still find that difficult to believe and even as late as this Summer I spotted a book, published last year in which it was still told that the Thompson had at least 80 gallons of fuel on board.

    is there anything of a spoiler that you can share with us to confirm the long told rumours or debunk them for once and for all so history can be rewritten and corrected?

    regards,

    Indyote

  18. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Indyote View Post
    Racing28 / Art,

    Can you perhaps lift the vail on one still persistant rumour going on?

    On another forum I have read an ongoing discussion about the Mickey Thompson cars and the participants in that discussion eventually concluded that some ever so often told stories which have been repeated since 1964 could not have been the case. First that the Shrike of Eddy lost its entire fuel contents and that, contrary tot the stories told about the car, it definitely wasn't a 80 or more gallon tank capacity car.
    But the participants also concluded that the stories about the Thompson having two fuel tanks and both of them topped up on race day were almost 100% sure not true and that the car had only a single fuel tank of some 45 or so gallons.
    Some of the participants still find that difficult to believe and even as late as this Summer I spotted a book, published last year in which it was still told that the Thompson had at least 80 gallons of fuel on board.

    is there anything of a spoiler that you can share with us to confirm the long told rumours or debunk them for once and for all so history can be rewritten and corrected?

    regards,

    Indyote
    Thanks for the question Indyote.

    Of the many subplots surrounding the ’64 500, the most controversial probably has to do with the amount of gasoline carried in the cars of Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs. There’s a chapter in my book devoted to the choices being made regarding gas vs. fuel, tank capacity and tires. In this case – and all the others – I read everything I could find written on the subject (including the various forums) and talked to as many people as possible, before drawing my conclusion. I’m sure there will be some who disagree with my conclusions and I understand that.

    On fuel capacity I think the answer is pretty clear – both the Thompson and Shrike cars held somewhere between 45-50 gallons of gasoline. Yet the myth of 100 gallon fuel loads started immediately after the race and – as you noted – continues today. When I interviewed Dan Gurney and Johnny Rutherford, both mentioned the tank capacity of the Thompson cars before I asked about it. Gurney thought the cars held 100 gallons and Rutherford 80.

    It’s easy to see why there was a controversy. Fuel tank capacity was one of the most closely guarded secrets in Gasoline Alley in 1964. The story starts in the ’63 race, when Jimmy Clark’s Lotus-Ford, running on gasoline, made only one pit stop and nearly won the 500. There were no regulations regarding tank capacity at the time and during the off-season many of the teams, especially those running roadsters, scrambled to add fuel capacity in hopes of finishing the race on only one pit stop. Tire technology had also gotten to the point where most teams weren’t planning to change tires in the ’64 race, so running 500 miles without a stop also was a possibility hinted at by the Ford teams.

    When the updated ’63 winning car of Parnelli Jones first appeared at the track in ’64, owner J. C. Agajanian couldn’t help boasting about a bigger tank. “Can’t tell you how much fuel we can hold,” he said. “It’s a secret. But it’ll be enough.” Since Jones had made two stops the previous year, the implication was obvious; it had to hold enough to require only one pit stop, somewhere between 80 and 90 gallons. Smokey Yunick said his sidewinder car could carry 70 gallons of fuel and with its light weight, might run the race without a stop. Just days before the race, both Rodger Ward and A. J. Foyt hinted their cars were being fitted with bigger fuel tanks. Ironically, while Mickey Thompson played the fuel tank size game early in the month, Dave MacDonald repeatedly said he was going to make at least one stop in the race, indicating a gas load of about 45 gallons.

    The magnitude of fire and smoke from the crash led many to believe hundreds of gallons of gasoline must have been involved. In reality, the fuel came almost exclusively from MacDonald’s car. The Shrike was equipped with eight different fuel tanks, but only a small auxiliary tank, located in the front of the car and holding about eight gallons, was ruptured in the accident. The rest of Sachs’s fuel load, about 35 gallons, was pumped out of the car back in Gasoline Alley.
    During a USAC hearing just a couple of weeks after the race, car owners Bob Wilke and Andy Granatelli both charged the Thompson was carrying 100 gallons of gasoline. A longtime Mobil Oil representative disputed this, testifying he put less than 45 gallons of gasoline in the Thompson car for the race. Rumors persisted, however, that Thompson somehow personally added another 45 more gallons into a secret tank. Thompson himself made several counter points. First, where could you put 100 gallons of gasoline in his tiny car? And at 6.3 pounds a gallon, another 45-gallon tank would have added more than 250 pounds to a car that weighed in at a little more than 1,000 pounds to begin with.

    As I point out in the book, the crash and fire led to some badly needed safety regulations. Tank size was limited to 75 gallons (still sounds like an incredible amount compared to today!) and, as Foyt suggested, two pit stops were required. Gasoline was not outlawed, as many believe, but the changes eliminated any fuel economy benefits gasoline provided, so all teams used more powerful fuel blends in ’65.

    Finally, one car actually did carry 100 gallons of fuel at the start. It also had a major impact on the race. But I’ve already rambled on here, so I’ll leave that story for another time.

  19. #49
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    Adding to Art's response ....

    Coincidental with this thread, a different one started here regarding the Henry Ford collection of racing photographs. The large subset of 1964 500 photos includes several taken of the Thompson cars, sans bodywork. Looks like only one fuel tank, on the left side. ( Though 'fuel bag' appears to be a more appropriate description.)

    Art: Looking forward to your book's release.

  20. #50
    Dirt biker/carp hunter Stick500's Avatar
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    Wow! (to Art's response)

    that all sounds like it makes sense to me- I've read all the rumors over the years too and it sounds like you were able to cut through them

    thanks so much for your little preview into the book

    I read the Mickey Thompson book (Fast Life...) and in it he was of course pretty shook up by the events of May '64

    I would have loved to have seen him stay in the sport of Indy Cars into the '70s- bet he would have really been showing up with some even wilder creations by then

  21. #51
    I read that one of the big reasons for the myth surrounding the amount of fuel on board the McDonald car was perpetrated by an Indy Star or News reporter who estimated that the car had at least 100 gallons of fuel on board, but never verified the story before it went to print.

    Is this true?

  22. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by clovis View Post
    I read that one of the big reasons for the myth surrounding the amount of fuel on board the McDonald car was perpetrated by an Indy Star or News reporter who estimated that the car had at least 100 gallons of fuel on board, but never verified the story before it went to print.

    Is this true?
    I don't know whether that's true, but it seems unlikely. That would be a huge weight penalty resulting in lower lap speeds and greater tire wear.

    There was a huge fireball, but that doesn't necessarily require much fuel. A hard hit, ruptured tank spraying fuel high in the air, twenty gallons could make a huge fireball. He'll, ten gallons could make a huge fireball. Once when I was a Kid, I threw a half gallon of gasoline on a bonfire. The result looked like a napalm bomb.

    What some reporter may have said....

  23. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by clovis View Post
    I read that one of the big reasons for the myth surrounding the amount of fuel on board the McDonald car was perpetrated by an Indy Star or News reporter who estimated that the car had at least 100 gallons of fuel on board, but never verified the story before it went to print.

    Is this true?
    I don't remember seeing anything like that. A reporter may have quoted someone else as saying there were 100 gallons on board without checking it, but I don't recall a reporter coming up with that estimate on his own.


  24. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by racing28 View Post
    I don't remember seeing anything like that. A reporter may have quoted someone else as saying there were 100 gallons on board without checking it, but I don't recall a reporter coming up with that estimate on his own.
    Thank you!!!

  25. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by CruzBay View Post
    Adding to Art's response ....

    Coincidental with this thread, a different one started here regarding the Henry Ford collection of racing photographs. The large subset of 1964 500 photos includes several taken of the Thompson cars, sans bodywork. Looks like only one fuel tank, on the left side. ( Though 'fuel bag' appears to be a more appropriate description.)

    Art: Looking forward to your book's release.
    The Henry Ford photo collection is amazing. Last year, before it was digitized and made available online, I spent several days at the research center in Dearborn going through notebooks full of proof sheets. Now online, in addition to the '64 race, are thousands of photos from the 50s-70s. Several eras of racing greats and great races.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/thehenryford/sets/

  26. #56
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    The photo collection is amazing.

  27. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by racing28 View Post
    Thanks for the question Indyote.

    Of the many subplots surrounding the ’64 500, the most controversial probably has to do with the amount of gasoline carried in the cars of Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs. There’s a chapter in my book devoted to the choices being made regarding gas vs. fuel, tank capacity and tires. In this case – and all the others – I read everything I could find written on the subject (including the various forums) and talked to as many people as possible, before drawing my conclusion. I’m sure there will be some who disagree with my conclusions and I understand that.

    On fuel capacity I think the answer is pretty clear – both the Thompson and Shrike cars held somewhere between 45-50 gallons of gasoline. Yet the myth of 100 gallon fuel loads started immediately after the race and – as you noted – continues today. When I interviewed Dan Gurney and Johnny Rutherford, both mentioned the tank capacity of the Thompson cars before I asked about it. Gurney thought the cars held 100 gallons and Rutherford 80.

    It’s easy to see why there was a controversy. Fuel tank capacity was one of the most closely guarded secrets in Gasoline Alley in 1964. The story starts in the ’63 race, when Jimmy Clark’s Lotus-Ford, running on gasoline, made only one pit stop and nearly won the 500. There were no regulations regarding tank capacity at the time and during the off-season many of the teams, especially those running roadsters, scrambled to add fuel capacity in hopes of finishing the race on only one pit stop. Tire technology had also gotten to the point where most teams weren’t planning to change tires in the ’64 race, so running 500 miles without a stop also was a possibility hinted at by the Ford teams.

    When the updated ’63 winning car of Parnelli Jones first appeared at the track in ’64, owner J. C. Agajanian couldn’t help boasting about a bigger tank. “Can’t tell you how much fuel we can hold,” he said. “It’s a secret. But it’ll be enough.” Since Jones had made two stops the previous year, the implication was obvious; it had to hold enough to require only one pit stop, somewhere between 80 and 90 gallons. Smokey Yunick said his sidewinder car could carry 70 gallons of fuel and with its light weight, might run the race without a stop. Just days before the race, both Rodger Ward and A. J. Foyt hinted their cars were being fitted with bigger fuel tanks. Ironically, while Mickey Thompson played the fuel tank size game early in the month, Dave MacDonald repeatedly said he was going to make at least one stop in the race, indicating a gas load of about 45 gallons.

    The magnitude of fire and smoke from the crash led many to believe hundreds of gallons of gasoline must have been involved. In reality, the fuel came almost exclusively from MacDonald’s car. The Shrike was equipped with eight different fuel tanks, but only a small auxiliary tank, located in the front of the car and holding about eight gallons, was ruptured in the accident. The rest of Sachs’s fuel load, about 35 gallons, was pumped out of the car back in Gasoline Alley.
    During a USAC hearing just a couple of weeks after the race, car owners Bob Wilke and Andy Granatelli both charged the Thompson was carrying 100 gallons of gasoline. A longtime Mobil Oil representative disputed this, testifying he put less than 45 gallons of gasoline in the Thompson car for the race. Rumors persisted, however, that Thompson somehow personally added another 45 more gallons into a secret tank. Thompson himself made several counter points. First, where could you put 100 gallons of gasoline in his tiny car? And at 6.3 pounds a gallon, another 45-gallon tank would have added more than 250 pounds to a car that weighed in at a little more than 1,000 pounds to begin with.

    As I point out in the book, the crash and fire led to some badly needed safety regulations. Tank size was limited to 75 gallons (still sounds like an incredible amount compared to today!) and, as Foyt suggested, two pit stops were required. Gasoline was not outlawed, as many believe, but the changes eliminated any fuel economy benefits gasoline provided, so all teams used more powerful fuel blends in ’65.

    Finally, one car actually did carry 100 gallons of fuel at the start. It also had a major impact on the race. But I’ve already rambled on here, so I’ll leave that story for another time.
    Art,


    Thanks for the unveilings.

    Based on info that can be found on the internet, I have two candidates for the car mentioned in your last line. I found two cars listed with tank capacities over 75 gallons, (no 100 gallons listed for either candidates tohoug one comes fairly close) and one of the two candidates is the one car I think about first in case of talking about massive fuel tank capacity. And since what happened with that car in the race....


    Indyote
    Last edited by Indyote; 12-12-2013 at 04:50 AM.

  28. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by racing28 View Post
    The Henry Ford photo collection is amazing. Last year, before it was digitized and made available online, I spent several days at the research center in Dearborn going through notebooks full of proof sheets. Now online, in addition to the '64 race, are thousands of photos from the 50s-70s. Several eras of racing greats and great races.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/thehenryford/sets/
    I am curious if you would start a new thread on this forum about the pictures that the Henry Ford museum has.

    I am very thankful that you posted them, but had I not read this thread, I would have totally missed those awesome pictures.

  29. #59
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    Also, Art, thanks for the confirmation about most of the fuel being pumped out of Sachs' car in Gasoline Alley. A friend of mine was on that pit crew, and he told me he pumped it out. I was a little doubtful at the time.

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    Clovis:

    I bumped the Henry Ford Collection discussion up to the top.

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