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Last Driver to Wear an Open-Face Helmet in the Indianapolis 500

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  • #16
    Indeed, every photo I can find of Hurtubise from Indy 1974 shows his open-faced helmet. So we have 2 drivers from '74.
    I live my life 4.048 miles at a time.

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    • #17
      Thanks dalz (and everyone else), good discussion and photos.

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      • #18
        Sure thing..

        If you reference "1975 Indy 500 Lloyd Ruby", you can find a nice pitside photo of Ruby's helmet setup that year.
        I live my life 4.048 miles at a time.

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        • #19
          Not trying to start an argument, just trying to get the facts straight. Here are photos I took pole day and race day of Ruby in '75. Certainly not the same color helmet. And it doesn't look like to me he was using goggles during the race. He only lasted 7 laps, so race day photos would be rare. I've always been surprised I got one of him before he fell out. This was in the film days and I could only afford one role, so I was very selective about my shots. I have no doubt he used the goggle set-up during the month but after looking at this pic not so sure about race day.

          1975Ruby.jpg

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          • #20
            Originally posted by JThur1 View Post
            But, Hurtubise did make the 1974 500, in a McLaren. It was his final start in the race. I think everyone thinks of the Mallard and has its last 500 being Herk's last 500.
            You're right Jim and I don't know why I typed 72. I knew it was in the McLaren, maybe I was thinking year of the car.............
            "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal".

            John Kennedy at American University 1963

            "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

            A. Lincoln

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            • #21
              84 indy702-002.jpg

              More of Ruby from 1975

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              • #22
                Slides_01_052.jpg
                1975

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by lotuspoweredbyford View Post
                  I believe that is a Simpson M-30 Bandit helmet, first full-face helmet designed to work with goggles as well as a flip visor. Opening on a Bell Star wasn't ideal.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Jim Wilke View Post

                    I believe that is a Simpson M-30 Bandit helmet, first full-face helmet designed to work with goggles as well as a flip visor. Opening on a Bell Star wasn't ideal.
                    Interesting, I never saw or heard of that helmet used with goggles. It was the dominant lid of that time, only a few drivers didn't wear it, until the original Bell XFM-1 was introduced in '81.

                    Great shots of Ruby from 1975. From Calhoun's photo, Lloyd must've felt a full-faced with a proper shield would be the best choice for the maelstrom of race day.
                    I live my life 4.048 miles at a time.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by dalz View Post

                      Interesting, I never saw or heard of that helmet used with goggles.
                      Bike and snowmobile guys did to get more face protection. Bell Star didn't work well because the eye opening wasn't big enough, straps couldn't pull the goggles tight to the face.

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                      • #26
                        Pretty amazing what those guys started driving at Indy and what they finished in. Talented, talented guys. Interesting thread, thanks to all who contributed.
                        “Church supper with grandma and granddad, lets go out and have ourselves the best time we ever had" - John Mellencamp

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by RHR Fan Always View Post
                          Was that due to the fact that it was outlawed by rules from USAC? Or was it that the speeds had increased so rapidly in the 70's that an open face helmet just didn't make sense or feel comfortable enough for the drivers?

                          I'd love it if Donald Davidson was on TF for on-demand answers.
                          Open face helmets are still technically legal in USAC. At least they were a few years ago when this question came up at that time and someone checked. Of course, no one has chosen to use one for decades now. And there are open face Snell SA 2020 rated racing helmets that are set up for HANS use.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by rjohnson View Post
                            I've seen one source that says that Lloyd Ruby and Jim Hurtubise were the last drivers to wear open-face helmets in the 1974 Indy 500. But another source says that Billy Engelhart in 1980 was the last. Can anyone confirm who, in fact, was the last driver (or drivers) to wear an open-face helmet in the 500?
                            I can't imagine why Englehart would wear an open face helmet in 1980 when he wore a full face helmet in 1979. What I do remember was that Billy had his full face helmet painted exactly like the open face helmet he was still wearing on the dirt tracks at times. When photos were taken from the side the black front blended in to the background of the cockpit and made it look like he was wearing an open face helmet. I could be wrong and maybe some of you know for sure. But here's a photo of Billy with his full face helmet painted like his open face one.
                            You do not have permission to view this gallery.
                            This gallery has 1 photos.

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                            • #29
                              I began racing in SCCA in 1974 as soon as they dropped the minimum age from 21 to 18. I started with an open face with wrap around shield. In 1975 I went to the first gen Bell star and it felt extremely heavy(because it was) and I could not get enough air so I went back to the open for the rest of the season. At first driving with the Star was like I was watching on TV. I fully understand Herk's decision.

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                              • #30
                                My experience was similar. I tried a Bell Star when they came out but the flip visor did not work with glasses, fogged immediately. I removed the visor and tried goggles but the sides of the eye opening were too far forward and there was still not enough air to the goggles and glasses. I got out a jigsaw and went to work widening the opening so the googles would seal against my face, then took a small hole saw and drilled 4-5 holes across the mouth guard. Finally gave up and went back to my Bell Magnum, then switched to Shoei RJ-101s. Still have one and an Arai Classic V as well as an Arai Corsair.

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