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Last week we featured the Bob Temple photos from Indy, 1950, along with a quiz in regards to a rare DOHC engine in one of Temple’s photos. It didn’t take long for readers to submit their guesses.
The winner of the engine quiz was Dean Butler, the engine was the six cylinder Sparks. Seems that our readers are as well-informed about interesting Indy cars as they are about Etceterinis.
At the same time, I was reading the excellent book, Powered by Porsche, the alternative race cars for our review this week, and noticed several cars that had escaped my attention in the past. One worthy of mention was Louis Fageol’s twin Offy racer that made the front row at Indy in 1946, driven by Paul Russo.
The Offy-powered car retired early but inspired Fageol to build two twin Porsche-engined sports cars, and one was built to qualify at Indy (though it never did.) There were no photos of this car, but Smith found a photo of the first Fageol twin-Porsche being sorted out at Everett Washington in 1953 (photo from REVS). In a further note of coincidence, that same year George Robson won driving a Sparks-engined car, the first six cylinder win since 1911.
But wait, there’s more
About 400 pages later in Powered by Porsche in a chapter on Porsche-powered single seaters is a photo of another twin-engined Porsche, the Stein-Porsche Brickyard Special. In 1963 Albert Stein came upon two new 901 Porsche engines and decided to have Joe Huffaker create a chassis, placing one engine forward of the front wheels with a Lancia gearbox, and at the rear another Porsche engine powered the rear wheels in a more conventional manner. The linkage was, like all earlier twin-engined cars from the Citroen to the Alfa Bimotore, was very complex but the car was ready for the 1966 Indy time trials. However, it proved to be just too slow; Andretti set the pace with a record 165.889 mph and the twin-engined Porsche could only muster about 149 mph.
Smith goes on to tell us much more about later Porsche-backed Indy attempts, with exclusive interviews with Hans Mezger about the Indy March Porsches. But Porsche never did have much luck at the Brickyard.