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6 Wheel Indycar at the 500...

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  • 6 Wheel Indycar at the 500...



    Anybody have info on this car that ran in the Indy 500 ? Anyone know when rules would have barred this type of entry ?

  • #2
    You're most likely thinking of the Pat Clancy Special which ran at Indy in 1948 and '49. The idea behind the double rear axle came from Clancy's experience with OTR trucks(he owned a trucking company) in the mountains of Tennessee. He believed that the tandem rear axles of his trucks provided better traction and acceleration when climbing mountain grades when compared to cars doing the same thing. So, he decided to build a race car with 2 sets of drive axles. It might have been an advantage for a loaded semi climbing Lookout Mountain, but not so much for the turns at Indy. The car was simply too heavy to gain any advantage over its' competitors.

    In 1948, Billy Devore drove to a 12th place finish at Indy, but he was 10 laps behind winner Mauri Rose. In 1949, Jackie Holmes went out after about 65 laps with a driveshaft failure. The car was converted back to 4 wheels after that, although it's been restored to it's original 6 wheel configuration.

    As far as legislation, I don't know...but the technology was a dead end. The Tyrrell P-34 from 1976-77 essentially proved the same thing, the car was supposed to have superior handling and aero with the tandem front wheels, and while it won a race, eventually, it was also deemed too heavy to be successful. The Lotus 78 with it's ground effects was a much more practical solution to the aero and handling questions.

    One thing the Pat Clancy Special DID usher in to the sport was the use of cast magnesium wheels...it was the first to use them.
    Tibi Fumus Obsidio Septum Doro

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Tifositoo View Post
      You're most likely thinking of the Pat Clancy Special which ran at Indy in 1948 and '49. The idea behind the double rear axle came from Clancy's experience with OTR trucks(he owned a trucking company) in the mountains of Tennessee. He believed that the tandem rear axles of his trucks provided better traction and acceleration when climbing mountain grades when compared to cars doing the same thing. So, he decided to build a race car with 2 sets of drive axles. It might have been an advantage for a loaded semi climbing Lookout Mountain, but not so much for the turns at Indy. The car was simply too heavy to gain any advantage over its' competitors.

      In 1948, Billy Devore drove to a 12th place finish at Indy, but he was 10 laps behind winner Mauri Rose. In 1949, Jackie Holmes went out after about 65 laps with a driveshaft failure. The car was converted back to 4 wheels after that, although it's been restored to it's original 6 wheel configuration.

      As far as legislation, I don't know...but the technology was a dead end. The Tyrrell P-34 from 1976-77 essentially proved the same thing, the car was supposed to have superior handling and aero with the tandem front wheels, and while it won a race, eventually, it was also deemed too heavy to be successful. The Lotus 78 with it's ground effects was a much more practical solution to the aero and handling questions.

      One thing the Pat Clancy Special DID usher in to the sport was the use of cast magnesium wheels...it was the first to use them.
      The Clancy was converted back to 4 wheels and sat on the pole at Springfield in 49 with Jimmy Davies at the controls.

      I don't know that the rule book ever specifically forbade the use of the two added drive wheels.
      "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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      • #4
        Originally posted by Tifositoo View Post
        You're most likely thinking of the Pat Clancy Special which ran at Indy in 1948 and '49. The idea behind the double rear axle came from Clancy's experience with OTR trucks(he owned a trucking company) in the mountains of Tennessee. He believed that the tandem rear axles of his trucks provided better traction and acceleration when climbing mountain grades when compared to cars doing the same thing. So, he decided to build a race car with 2 sets of drive axles. It might have been an advantage for a loaded semi climbing Lookout Mountain, but not so much for the turns at Indy. The car was simply too heavy to gain any advantage over its' competitors.

        In 1948, Billy Devore drove to a 12th place finish at Indy, but he was 10 laps behind winner Mauri Rose. In 1949, Jackie Holmes went out after about 65 laps with a driveshaft failure. The car was converted back to 4 wheels after that, although it's been restored to it's original 6 wheel configuration.

        As far as legislation, I don't know...but the technology was a dead end. The Tyrrell P-34 from 1976-77 essentially proved the same thing, the car was supposed to have superior handling and aero with the tandem front wheels, and while it won a race, eventually, it was also deemed too heavy to be successful. The Lotus 78 with it's ground effects was a much more practical solution to the aero and handling questions.

        One thing the Pat Clancy Special DID usher in to the sport was the use of cast magnesium wheels...it was the first to use them.


        The Tyrrell P34 you mentioned is a link to another, very mysterious projects that could have ended up into a second 6 wheeler at Indy.

        The designer of P34 was Derek Gardner, he had been with Ferguson FF and was involved with the design and construction of the 4WD Ferguson-Novi.
        But Austrian F1 reporter Heinz Prüller wrote an F1 annual for many years, including 1976. Within the chapter in which he introduces the Tyrrell P34, Pruller wrote the following:

        In 1968, Derek Gardner wanted to built a 4WD Sixwheeler ( on the rear axle and the rear one of the pair of front axles) for Andy Granatelli.

        This is the lone referring to this project that I and my friends have ever located.

        We know what kind of cars Andy had let built for 1968. Just think about what kind of heavy monstrosity such a car would have been if it had been built.
        Also very interesting thought: what kind of engine would that car have had?


        The Clancy 6 wheeler had more modern day sucessors than only P34 but these never raced.
        Also in 1976 March copied the concept with 4WD twin rear axles but that project appears to hve been much more a PR job than taken very serious. The resulting car look4ed rediculously long for on F1 car in those days, but compared with the recent F1 Limousines it must have been of acceptable size.
        Then: Williams did tests with a twin rear axle 1981 type FW07 with the intentions to have a sixwheeler in 1982. A rule regulation for 1982 put that project on hold but it still had a legacy.
        Look at the 1982 cars and it appears as if the 1982 Williams FW08 monocoque is shorter and more chubby than other cars.
        It is: because it had been projected to be raced as a Sixwheeler.
        The early tests had been positive enough to give it a try in an attempt to fight the more powerful turbocharged engines with the standard Cosworth DFV.

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        • #5
          Here is a link to a French homepage that deals with 6-wheeled vehicles.

          http://www.sixmania.fr/en/la-pat-cla...ianapolis-500/

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          • #6
            Originally posted by adi(os) View Post
            Here is a link to a French homepage that deals with 6-wheeled vehicles.

            http://www.sixmania.fr/en/la-pat-cla...ianapolis-500/
            Nice find and with lots of original pic of that time!!!!

            But as I recall, the KK550G was a much later built model....

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            • #7
              Originally posted by adi(os) View Post
              Here is a link to a French homepage that deals with 6-wheeled vehicles.

              http://www.sixmania.fr/en/la-pat-cla...ianapolis-500/
              Nice pics. My good friend and race gang member is driving the Watson copy in the Motorsport photo.

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              • #8
                Related to nothing technical at all about this car...this is the first time I've ever seen a color photo of it, even it's a reproduction, and with that blue paint it is simply gorgeous.
                You've worked so hard on the kidney. Very special -- the kidney has a very special place in the heart. It's an incredible thing. Donald John Trump

                Brian's Wish * Jason Foundation

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                • #9
                  Thank you to all who posted here. The additional information plus the pictures are outstanding.

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                  • #10
                    There is a good article on the Clancy car in a Hungness yearbook. An interesting observation from a driver was that the car would have been much better with only 1 set of rear wheels driven.

                    The Tyrell's main issue, according to a Motorsport article, was that the suspension could not properly keep the little tires in contact with the pavement. Modern inboard geometry and gas damper tech would have helped it immensely.

                    Williams got the right end for 4 wheels. Tremendous aero advantages. Like Tim Richmond's asymmetrical Super, I think it deserved to run (win) a race before it was banned.
                    I live my life 4.048 miles at a time.

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