Vintage Postbag (contd), September 1964

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Indianapolis Model-Ts

Sir,

I was intrigued by the reference to Mr. Bradshaw’s 1917 Indianapolis model-T Ford, in view of the fact that no race was held at Indianapolis in 1917. The first appearance of Fronty Fords at the brickyard seems to have been in 1922, and these 2-seater Indianapolis Fords appear to have had twin overhead camshaft model D-0 16-valve Frontenac cylinder heads designed by the Chevrolet brothers, with exhaust pipes on the off-side, opposite to that on Mr. Bradshaw’s car. The 1923 and 1924 single-seater Indianapolis Fords, known as Barber-Warnock Specials, had 8-valve Frontenac heads with s.o.h.c.  According to the American historian Charles Betts the early Frontenac head had eight valves operated by push-rods, called the model R. The model S-R was similar except that provision was made for using two sparking plugs (as on Mr. Bradshaw’s car) and for mounting two carburetters. Later the Chevrolet brothers made an overhead camshaft and drive assembly to replace the rocker arm systems on the models R and S-R. Charles Betts does not mention a 16-valve single overhead camshaft head, but Mr. Bradshaw’s car shows that they must have made one.

Undoubtedly his is a genuine racing model T, but one wonders whether it ever ran in an Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. I believe there was a small half-mile Hoosier Speedway at Indianapolis, opened in November 1922. Perhaps Mr. Bradshaw’s car ran there before coming to England ?

Longstanton.                                                                                                                                               PETER HULL.

* * *

G.P. Delage History

Six,

I was most interested in A. F. Rivers-Fletcher’s reply to my Grand Prix Delage article. The chassis numbers quoted are enlightening as the Briggs Cunningham car in America is reputed to be No. 1, the chassis frame in my possession is clearly stamped No. 2 on the top of the front dumb-iron, but I do not know the number stamped on Rob Walker’s Seaman chassis. If Campbell’s two cars were 2 and 3, then the Seaman chassis should be No. 4, being the ex-Senechal car. The logical answer seems to be that it was No. 3 car that was wrecked at Monza whilst owned by Howe.

The engine fitted to Mike Bradley’s Chula frame Delage is clearly stamped No. 2, so presumably was fitted to my frame originally.

I do not quite agree with Mr. Rivers-Fletcher that Howe acquired a car from Capt. J. C. Davis. My records show that Howe bought one car from Campbell, another from Senechal. The Capt. Davis car was bought by Prince Chula.

I cannot comment on the gear positions, as Mike Bradley’s car is the only one with a manual box; this car has not run for at least two years.

Swanmore.                                                                                                                                          ALAN BURNARD.