A wildfire in 1948 swept through rural Woodland Hills, burning down a ranch containing 32 irreplaceable antiques of the Lindley Bothwell car collection. Bothwell was left devastated by the loss and so, to cheer him up, a sympathetic fellow collector charged Lindley a $3000 pittance and gifted him the Dario Resta Peugeot, which had raced on the Beverly Hills boards as late as the 1920s.
Bothwell was a man of action. The following year, 1949, when the Resta Peugeot was 35 summers ancient, and Dario’s Indy victory 33, Bothwell received permission to take it back to the Speedway fora daredevil assault on the all-time ‘Peugeot’ 100.01mph lap set in 1919 by one of the phoney Premiers.
Bothwell, in his quest for the record, enjoyed special advantages that Dario hadn’t. Bud Winfield, inventor of the supercharged Novi, was providing advanced knowledge of engine liming. The Peugeot also had acquired wider tyres than those Dario had had, and somehow, between the time that Resta had raced it and the Bothwell record attempt, it had picked up front-wheel brakes. And silver-haired and still active Ralph de Palma —who’d had the hardest races of his career against this very car— had volunteered to be Bothwell’s driving coach. One thing he must have remembered from 1915’s wheel-to-wheel struggle with Dario was that the Peugeot’s tail end was light; beware of oversteering, de Palma advised Bothwell.
Bothwell almost wore everything out, logging between 1000 and 1500 practice miles. Then he had his original riding mechanic quit him on account of nerves. But eventually Lindley did claim his reward — a record Peugeot lap of 103.250.
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