17 August 1997,
New York, Park Avenue
Price realised USD 129,000
USD 125,000 - USD 150,000
1955 INDY CAR STREAMLINER "The Last Fuel Injected Special"
I.D. No. 270-302-1
Red with brown leather interior
Engine: light alloy inline four, twin overhead camshafts per bank, 270cc giving in excess of 385bhp at 5,250rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: front, solid axle tubular shocks; rear, solid axle, tubular shocks; Brakes: four wheel hydraulic disc. Center drive.
Owned originally by Howard Keck and built for the two time winner of Indianapolis, Bill Vukovich, this unique Indy car was designed and developed to achieve "near zero" drag by adopting aerodynamic principals. A similar approach was first made popular by Auto Union and Mercedes on their pre-war monopostos with a resurgence to this design principal in the early 1950's.
The "Streamliner" project was headed by the legendary Indy car builder Quinn Epperly, who was assisted by Jim Travers and Frank Coons. Affectionately known as the "Indy Whiz Kids", they set about designing and building the most advanced and competitive race car of their day. These same individuals would go onto even greater fame as the principal players of Traco Racing.
In addition to incorporating a voluptuously slippery body, an adjustable aerodynamic spoiler was incorporated into the rear and referred to at the time as an "elevator". Howard Keck had arranged with Epperly and his crew to have the car built for Bill Vukovich who had previously won the Indy 500 back to back in 1953 and 1954. It was hoped that the "Streamliner" would give Vukovich an "unfair" advantage in attempting his third back to back win.
With Epperly unable to complete the car in time for the 1955 Indianapolis 500, Vukovich was offered a ride in Lindsey Hopkin's 500 Kurtis. Tragically, Vukovich was killed in the race, ending any further development of the "Streamliner" and ending Keck's interest in motor racing in general.
With only the suspension, frame, body and coachwork completed, the project was put on permanent hold and placed in storage with Howard Keck for nearly 30 years before eventually being acquired by collector and racing enthusiast, Jimmy Dobbs.
Dobbs arranged with Jim Robbins and Quinn Epperly to have the car completed and at the same time completely restored to its original design. Shown and displayed at Pebble Beach and a veteran at numerous historic races, this milestone vehicle represents the culmination of American automobile design ingenuity and provides a truly unique opportunity to acquire one of the most beautiful American racing cars built during the 1950's. It comes complete with numerous spares, including an original "2 speed" gearbox. The four-speed currently fitted is a modern concession for historic racing and touring.
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