Today is the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500 and to go along with it we have found two very special videos with footage of previous editions of the 500-mile classic. The first is shown in two parts and is a promotional film made by the Firestone Tire Company in 1934, and although it does not show the entire race, it is still well worth watching. The second video covers the 1941 event in color. Both productions contain very rare and interesting coverage of the events.
Part I above of the Firestone film, The Test Supreme shows pre-race preparations and Harry Miller, Brownie Carslake a Firestone executive, and Harry Hartz as they all speak about the virtues of Firestone Tires. Also of interest are the interviews of many of the star drivers of the day along with a look at their racing cars.
Part II below shows the start of the race, and the announcer then explains many of the rules of the contest, including a new one limiting the amount of gasoline and oil each car is allowed to use in the race; he also describes and the camera covers how the all brick surface of the track is hard on the drivers, the racing cars and the Firestone tires. Bill Cummings went on to win the race in the Boyle Products, Miller-powered car. More information and the results of the 1934 Indy 500 can be found here. Both videos are courtesy of the King Rose Archives.
And finally, below is an amazing 30-minute color video of footage taken during qualifying and the running of the 1941 Indianapolis 500. But that’s not all, there is rare footage showing the rear-engined, four wheel-drive Miller, and coverage of the race day morning garage fire. “Pop” Meyers the Speedway manager and many of the AAA officials involved in the running of the race are also seen. Another interesting scene shows Bud Winfield checking the plugs in the Novi V-8 powered machine that Ralph Hepburn drove in the race.
Many of the pits stops during the race are covered including an interesting one showing George Connor in the Offy-powered Boyle Special, as he drinks water from a common kitchen saucepan. There are simply too many great things to see in this video to list them all, and it is must-see for racing fans if there ever was one.
Floyd Davis and Mauri Rose went on to win the action-packed race in the Offy-powered Noc-Out Hose Clamp Special. The results and details of the 1941 Indy 500 can be found here. Video courtesy of Elijah Scott.