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Indianapolis Junk Formula Cars


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Does anyone have any information on the Junk Formula cars which were raced in the early 1930's?? I am building a reproduction of one as close as I know. This car is being built as it would have been back in the 30's to look like it was forgotten in some old barn somewhere and just rolled out. Thanks!!!!

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Unless you have a Buick or Studebaker it will be a tough thing to pull off. Finding proper Rudge wheels is the big stumbling block on these clones. The Schafer 8 Buick clone Coker Tire has is one of the better ones. The real car is owned and raced by a fellow in New Hampshire.

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Guest stude8

You had better hurry up, there are at least 3 Studebaker 1930's replica's under construction at this time.

Talk to Gary Ash maybe he will lend you his chassis CAD file and you could get the frame and suspension details.

See his chassis in this post here:

http://forums.aaca.org/ubbthreads.php/topics/594598/Some_progress_on_the_Indy_race#Post594598

Then you have to chase down a rebuildable President or Commander inline 8 engine for power plant.

Then you have to check with the other projects so you don't clone the same one they are Heh Heh.

If money is not a big consideration just place your order with Reklus cars in Argentina and they can build almost what ever you dream about (look at their "Sold Cars" to see what they can do):

http://www.rekluscars.com.ar/reklus/Reklus____Classic_and_Sport_Cars.html

Stude8

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I was looking at a Vintage Oval Track Magazine. The article I was readind said there was some Fords used. I have a model a frame and had thought about useing it. I'm not wanting to build a exspensive perfect car that has all the modern parts and machining I want something that actually looks like farmer Brown brown had a dream of going to Indy.

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THANK YOU Stude8 !!!! This is ONE FINE EXAMPLE of why this Forum bugs me, until your post I'd never know that INDY clone was under construction, thanks for posting it were the world can see it. Project can't be more than 3 hours up the road from me. Best wishes, Bob

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Guest stude8

Try to find a copy of V8 Times magazine Vol 15 No 1 Jan/Feb, 1978. There is a very good 7 page article by Mark Dees in it that details the Ford Indy entries in 1934 and 35. Plenty of rare photos.

The 1935 Ford entries of Preston Tucker were some of the handsomest 2 man cars ever. Unfortunately a mistake of locating the steering gears next to the exhaust manifold caused most to retire with steering failures from heat. They were front drive setups built by Harry A. Miller.

Henry Ford was annoyed he was not consulted about these cars when they did poorly in qualifications and the race. There is a story I heard he had his engineers build a Ford powered car in subsequent years that had his blessings but Indy is hard on cars and I don't recall hearing where it finished if it did?

Several of the Tucker built Fords survive restored today and are pretty sharp looking machines at the Harry A. Miller Club meets in Milwaukee, WI every year.

Stude8

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Guest stude8

The term "Junkyard Formula" was really a negative reference by professional race car builders against using "Stock" large cubic inch production engines at the Speedway in the depression years after engines like Miller 8's had been developed to such a high performance level.

In reality on the Studebaker side of the fence credit goes to Russ Snowberger who built the "Russell 8" #22 for the 1930 Indy 500 using the President 8 337 CID inline 8 engine. He qualified at over 104 MPH and finished 8th! Doesn't sound like an amateur job does it? It wasn't, Snowberger was a sharp mechanic and race driver.

He did more work on it and returned to Indy in 1931 to win <span style="font-weight: bold">POLE</span> Starting Position with the same car now numbered #4. The next "Stock" block engine to win pole position was the 1987 Brayton Buick 56 years later. The junk formula was becoming something to deal with.

Another car called the "Romthe" (#35) was built in a South Bend garage by a group of Studebaker employees patterned after the Snowberger car to run in the 1930 500 mile race. Studebaker did not want their name on the car so it was not officially a factory entry. It qualified at at over 98 MPH and finished 18th. It appeared in 1931, 32 & 33 races not finishing higher tha 20th due to broken springs, axle problem and fuel tank leak.

Stude8

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Stude8, Thanks for posting the photos! The car in the last photo was at INDY this year, photo is on another website I visit. With all the restored TwoMan cars that are coming out lately you need a score card to keep up. Has anyone ever compiled a list of survivors? The life span of many of these cars passed 10 years of INDY racing, and their looks did change.

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Guest stude8

1937HD45:

That is interesting you think the car in last image still exists? The photo was in 1931 at South Bend, IN. At that time it was called "Richards Spl" #57 at the Speedway. In 1931 it was driven by Malcom Fox, qualified at 111.1 MPH, finished 20th. In 1932 it was renamed "Universal Service Spl" #57, again driven by Malcom Fox, qualified at 112.9 MPH and again finished 20th.

After 1932 it was not heard of again and I wasn't aware it still exists?

Heaven's! Another clone??

What other web site did you find reference to it?

Stude8

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Stude8 It is on the second to the last page of the pre 1969 Sprint Car photo thread on the HAMB. Lots of MILLER stuff was posted this week as well. My mistake I mixed it up with a Studebaket that was there. The car I thought was in your B&W photo was the #4 Hupmobile drived to 5th by Russ Snowberger.

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Guest stude8

1937HD45:

Now that is another clone project going on right now.

Last year John Snowberger (Russ's son) bought the 1930's Hupp Comet street roadster engine to get the one off Hupp Comet Indy engine his father built in 1932 for the Indy 500 race in his "Russell 8" #4 from 1931. Hupp offered his dad a good deal for him to pull the Studebaker engine out and rename it the "Hupp Comet".

After the race someone else had the Hupp engine put into a custom street roadster. That car finally came on the market a year ago and John who had started accumulating parts to build the 1931 "Russell 8" Studebaker pole car clone felt it would be a more unique car at vintage race car meets. Watch for it coming soon to your local speedway!!

Stude8

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Guest stude8

It took some file searching but I located the engine photos of the Snowberger 1931 #4 "Russell 8" (Studebaker 337 CID President inline 8) and the 1932 #4 "Hupp Comet" (Same chassis but Hupp 360 CID inline 8).

**My records show the "Old" Russell 8 #4 car later became the "Scott Spl" #58 in 1934, finished 32nd. Then in 1937 appeared as "The Ray Eight Spl" #67, it was wrecked in a pre race pit accident when hit by Overton Phillips in car #66 two men died in that incident.

After the Indy race the Hupp engine was returned to Hupp and Snowberger went on his own for 1933 and built a "New" #4 "Russell 8" Studebaker powered that finished 8th. That car was renumbered #10 for the 1934 500 race and again finished 8th.

*This gave Snowberger <span style="text-decoration: underline"><span style="font-weight: bold">five consecutive "Top Ten" finishes</span></span>, 3 out of 4 with a Studebaker engine!

In 1935 it was bought by Joel Thorne and renumbered #39 "Blue Prelude Spl" and finished 22nd driven by Jimmy Snyder.

In time the 1932 Hupp race engine was sold to a friend of Ab Jenkins, a Dr Knoch who built a Bonneville roadster with it and was said to have run as fast as 146 MPH on the salt Flats in it.

This is the car that John Snowberger located in an Indiana collection and obtained the engine out of to recreate the 1932 #4 Hupp Comet Indy car his father drove to 5th place.

Stude8

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WOW! Thank you so much for the research and post here on the Forum. Facts like these need to be put down on paper for the historical record. The "Junk Formula" a big misnomer IMO is full of interesting mechanical inovations. so glad that that engine is going in a replica/restoration, not a clone the way I see it.

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Stude8...Great posts! The guys from Reklus visited me a couple of years ago. Despite some language problems it was a blast to see what they do. In fact, my favorite (non-AACA) t-shirt is one of theirs.

Amazing some of the stuff that still comes out of the woodwork. The Indy 500 Museum is phenomenal. The cars in the basement (public not allowed) are also fantastic. I am not sure if it is appropriate to post so all I will say is that there is another building that houses even more cars that is private.

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  • 4 months later...

I have many many laps of Elkhart Lake in the car Brooks Stevens' owned

The car was far from Junk! Brakes we're junk. But the car was fun to drive.

It was like wrestling a bear at edge of a cliff. If you both fell off the bear wouldn't let go or be kind on the was down.

I do understand that brakes were not really needed at Indy except for pitting or avoiding another car on the track

Soon I learned just how far I could toss the car sideways into corners to scrub speed off.

It was great fun to watch corner workers run and hide.

I'll try to find my photos and post them.

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