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Did these engines compete at Indy?

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  • Did these engines compete at Indy?

    The Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed (a.k.a. "The Smith Collection") has a special section for Indy 500 stuff. Several engines are displayed within it. While researching an article about the collection, I became confused about whether two of the engines on display ever actually made it to Indianapolis. What's their story?

    Feuling Oldsmobile V8

    I believe this is a Cosworth DFX engine with different cylinder heads and ancillaries bolted onto it. I didn't find any evidence that this engine raced in the Indy 500, but perhaps it participated in qualifying. Are either or both of these cylinder head castings common with those used on an Oldsmobile Quad 4 (passenger car) engine? What else can you tell me about this engine?

    Is this really a Mercedes 500i engine?

    Don't look at the valve covers, look instead at the casting ribs. The closer I studied my photo, the more I began to question whether they match "500i" engine photos I found elsewhere. But... "If it's not a 500i, what is it?" What do you think? Could this be some sort of prototype, rather than the finished version which dominated the 1994 Indy 500?

    Bonus questions: I have a personal interest in Buick's "215" aluminum V8. Where can I go to find good clear photos of the Buick-based engine Mickey Thompson and Dan Gurney used in the 1962 Indy 500? I know Thompson's team designed and cast some of their own parts - e.g. timing covers - but did they modify/use production cylinder heads? How radical was their "production based" engine?

  • #2
    Originally posted by BritishV8 View Post
    Feuling Oldsmobile V8

    This is one of the engines used in the Oldsmobile Aerotech streamlined car with which A.J. Foyt set a closed course record. This engine did run at Indianapolis but it was during some exhibition runs. I know as I was lucky enough to witness the runs from the pit area. That engine sounded fantastic. I remember that it had rained earlier and Foyt didn't get on the track until late for the first run. And it was really still pretty overcast. But watching A.J. take the Aerotech down into Turn One and out of sight while you listened to the engine all the way around the track was quite an experience. It seemed like you were watching something out of the future at the time.

    Here's a little info on the car and engine.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by BritishV8 View Post

      ....
      The engine on the left is one of the DT-160 V-8 Drakes (Offy) that was built. Drake ran out of money before it was really developed and I don't believe one ever turned a lap at Indianapolis although I could be wrong. I just don't remember one being there. I believe one might have shown up elsewhere on the circuit but again I simply don't remember one ever actually running in a race. Maybe someone else here remembers for sure.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BritishV8 View Post

        Is this really a Mercedes 500i engine?

        Don't look at the valve covers, look instead at the casting ribs. The closer I studied my photo, the more I began to question whether they match "500i" engine photos I found elsewhere. But... "If it's not a 500i, what is it?" What do you think? Could this be some sort of prototype, rather than the finished version which dominated the 1994 Indy 500?
        I had wondered myself if that really was a 500i but never had any pics until now to decide. From your picture that definitely looks like an overhead cam engine to me. I found the following pics on 8w.forix.com:

        These two are of the actual Mercedes 500:



        Here's a pic of the Chevy/Ilmor 265a for comparison:


        If was going to hazard a guess, the one is Speedy's collection is most likely one of the Ilmor 265-whatever variants that was Mercedes-badged.

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        • #5
          Here's a link to a thread about the Mercedes 500i, it has some good info.



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          • #6
            Originally posted by indyrjc View Post
            The engine on the left is one of the DT-160 V-8 Drakes (Offy) that was built. Drake ran out of money before it was really developed and I don't believe one ever turned a lap at Indianapolis although I could be wrong. I just don't remember one being there. I believe one might have shown up elsewhere on the circuit but again I simply don't remember one ever actually running in a race. Maybe someone else here remembers for sure.
            I think your right about it never running in the race. Seems to me late 70's maybe Patrick racing was using it in response to the rise of the cosworth.

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            • #7
              I think the Drake V8 ran at either Brands Hatch or Siiverstone in a Wildcat. But I could be wrong.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tcsparky View Post
                I think the Drake V8 ran at either Brands Hatch or Siiverstone in a Wildcat. But I could be wrong.
                You are correct!




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