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Question about the Offy at Indy

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  • Question about the Offy at Indy

    What changes occurred in the late 70's that lead to the Offy falling out of favor at Indy?

    Looking at the starting grids, 1978 had almost half the field using the Offy and by 1982 there were none to be found.

    Did the Offy simply run its course or did Cosworth and Chevy greatly increase their own R&D to move to the front?

    As someone who attended his first 500 in '78 as a youngin' (7 yrs old). I don't recall what instigated the switch to mostly Cosworth power bythe 80's.
    To a New Yorker like yourself, a hero is some type of weird sandwich. Not some nut who takes on three Tigers!

  • #2
    Originally posted by MD-IRLFAN
    What changes occurred in the late 70's that lead to the Offy falling out of favor at Indy?

    Looking at the starting grids, 1978 had almost half the field using the Offy and by 1982 there were none to be found.

    Did the Offy simply run its course or did Cosworth and Chevy greatly increase their own R&D to move to the front?

    As someone who attended his first 500 in '78 as a youngin' (7 yrs old). I don't recall what instigated the switch to mostly Cosworth power bythe 80's.
    The Cosworth and Chevy/Ilmor (which was several years after the Offy left) were much smaller and lighter engines that offered significant packaging advantages. How old was the Offy at that point, 45 years?
    "Only a fool fights in a burning house."-Kang

    "If you listen to fools....The Maaahhhhb Ruuuules....."-Ronnie James Dio

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    • #3
      Also, reductions in manifold pressure that were mandated by USAC during that period hurt the Offy more than the "Foyt" and Cosworth.

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      • #4
        With unlimited boost the OFFY still had an advantage. When they started mandating lower boost, the advantage shifted to the V8s.
        .

        http://indyroadsters.webs.com/
        http://macmillersgarage.webs.com/
        http://www.youtube.com/user/macmiller46241


        I love any race car whose last name is "Special"

        .

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        • #5
          1981 was the last year a offy made a qualification attempt. I believe John Martin had the last one ever manufactured. Sad really.

          Larry

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Larrymgs
            1981 was the last year a offy made a qualification attempt. I believe John Martin had the last one ever manufactured. Sad really.

            Larry
            nope wasnt John Martin
            ( I'll be darned if I cant remember the drivers name right now) it might have been John Mahler...
            I saw the car ,with that engine the following week at Milwaukee...where the serial number was supposed to be , it simply said "Last Offy".
            The car didnt qualify at Indy and was #12...a medium or dark blue car....

            Anyone??

            How cool were those Drake Engineering foil stickers???!!!

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            • #7
              John...Mahler.
              "Thank God for the fortune to be here, to be an American."--Alan Kulwicki, 11/15/92

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              • #8
                It was John Mahler. I worked on that engine for 4 or 5 races after Indy in '81.
                It was the last assembled engine to leave the Drake works.
                .

                http://indyroadsters.webs.com/
                http://macmillersgarage.webs.com/
                http://www.youtube.com/user/macmiller46241


                I love any race car whose last name is "Special"

                .

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mac miller
                  It was John Mahler. I worked on that engine for 4 or 5 races after Indy in '81.
                  It was the last assembled engine to leave the Drake works.

                  Thanks Mac...you beat me to it lol
                  ..sometimes it takes a few minutes to get the brain pan a workin!!!lol

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                  • #10
                    The car was PC6 copy with the "last offy" installed. It was so tail heavy
                    (approx70%) that you couldn't get it to handle. We did qualify on time at Milwaukee but I had to jack up the front end of the car so high that it was embarrassing. The engine failed after about 15 laps because the oil tank was totally wrong and wouldn't drain down to the pickup properly. Working around Mahler was one of the goofiest experiences of my career.
                    .

                    http://indyroadsters.webs.com/
                    http://macmillersgarage.webs.com/
                    http://www.youtube.com/user/macmiller46241


                    I love any race car whose last name is "Special"

                    .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      With a bow to Mac... and all the techno wizzards here.... the offy was... is... the greatest racing engine ever built... Bar NONE.

                      What started as a simple block and integral head, sprouting twin overhead cams, on a barrel crank case.... ran from 1920 to 1976. Take THAT cosworth!
                      Take that Foyt!
                      They started delivering 125 Hp. (Miller marine, 1926) all the way to the Offy turbo's of Gurney, delivering over 1000 horse power at 10,000 RPM in the '70's!

                      The Offy could, and did, put everybody else "on the trailer"
                      Slowly but shurely they were legislated out of existance...........

                      Anybody want to run a racing series with an engine whose design goes back almost 90 years?
                      Anybody want to comment?
                      ZOOOM
                      "Doc, just set them fingers sose I can hold the wheel"
                      James Hurtubise, June, 1964

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                      • #12
                        Has to be in a class of its own as far as longevity, versatility and just plain puddlewonderfulness.

                        Cosworth's DFV's and derivatives and the Small Block Chevy have their own advantages but none are better allrounders than the Offy.

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                        • #13
                          thanks for the correction. It was Mahler.

                          And Mac, thanks for the stories. Really good reading.

                          best,

                          Larry

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                          • #14
                            I have a set of "Blue Prints" for a 255" Offy that gives all the dimensions. My dad got them from Meyer-Drake back in the early '60s.

                            roach

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                            • #15
                              was it Billy Englhart in the Master Lock McLaren to run the last Offy in the race?
                              Delta Force Theme... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQUeQOIlcDM You're Welcome

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