1949/50 AUTOMOBILE SHIPPERS SPECIAL INDIANAPOLIS RACE CAR
Engine No. 130
Orange and black with black sealskin interior
Engine: in line four cylinder Meyer & Drake Offenhauser, dual overhead camshafts, Hillborn mechanical fuel injection, 270ci., c350bhp at 5,500rpm; Gearbox: Offenhauser 2-speed manual with reverse; Suspension: radius rod located solid axles with front transverse leaf spring and rear torsion bars; Brakes: four wheel clam type disc. Center drive.
Lou Rassey had built a successful business delivering new cars for the Detroit manufacturers and, in addition to enjoying racing himself, he found that racing helped to build spirit among his truck drivers. Automobile Shippers Specials began racing right after World War II with a variety of drivers using a chassis built by Russ Snowberger.
Like most cars that ran the AAA Championship Trail, the Automobile Shippers Special's drivers changed often; most frequently in the the driver's seat were notables like Spider Webb, George Hammond, George Lynch, Freddy Agabashian and Bill Schindler. The first of the Automobile Shippers Specials appeared at Indianapolis in 1946 driven by Henry Banks and in 1947 with Shorty Cantlon. In 1949 George Lynch drove the Automobile Shippers Special to a qualifying speed of 127.823mph, which placed him 8th on the grid, but he only completed one lap of the race. In 1950 the Automobile Shippers Special, now with a new number - 67, and even newer bodywork, had its best year at The Speedway in a rain-shortened race of 138 laps (345 miles). One-legged East Coast sprint specialist Bill Schindler, an Indy rookie who picked up the ride at the track, was in the car. Schindler (whose St. Christopher's medal is still on the car's dashboard) qualified 22nd at 132.69mph, almost 5mph faster than Lynch's 8th grid position a year earlier! He quickly moved through the field to challenge the race leader Johnny Parsons, reportedly trying unsuccessfully to pass him eleven separate times before retiring on lap 111 with a failed universal joint, a drive that brought deserved attention to Schindler and rates among the most exciting in Speedway history.
Schindler continued to drive for Rassey in 1950, among other accomplishments leading the Champ race on the Langhorne circle until the engine overheated. Rassey campaigned a new Kurtis Kraft 3000 chassis starting in 1951 but the Snowberger car went on to a successful history in the Championship Trail, continuing to race well into the mid-'50s. Along the way, it acquired a very early Hillborn fuel injection system and unique clamshell style Cessna aircraft disc brakes, both of which it retains today. Eventually this Automobile Shippers Special found its way into the Vic Yerardi Collection and was acquired by Mr. Lee in the 1990s. It was restored in 1996 by Bob Smith Coachworks when it appeared at the Pebble Beach Concours in its famous 1950 Schindler/Indianapolis 500 livery of orange and black. The 270 Meyer & Drake Offy is fresh and starts instantly. Mr. Lee recently exercised the car and proudly reports, it will spin the tires in both gears as long as you have the guts to stay on the gas, up to the bounds of your own discretion.