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Barney Oldfield in a Miller

This photo shows Barney Oldfield, posing in a somewhat tired Miller, on what appears to be the Legion Ascot Speedway. If you look closely at the first photo below, you can see where the frame has been welded together a few inches forward of the rear spring hanger. This leads us to believe that this car may have led a tough life and may have been crashed hard in the past. Hopefully one of our readers will be able to identify this Miller for us. The Old Motor photo.

5 responses to “Barney Oldfield in a Miller

  1. I believe that is one of the Cliff Durant MILLERS, the one driven by Frank Elliot in the 1923 Indy 500. The louvers in the radiator shell are unique, so is the shape of the tail compaired to other MILLER race cars of that era.

    • The car is, in fact, Leon Duray’s similar Durant=Miller ‘183’, converted to left-hand drive for dirt track use in early 1924 – by the time this picture was taken, Elliott’s car had already been converted to a single-seater, and was still used as a board track racer.

      Also, I don’t think the driver is Barney Oldfield, just someone posing as the “master driver” – the poser may very well be former police chauffeur Hal Conlin, who entered the car several times at Ascot, although it is not exactly clear whether he actually drove it in competition. In any case, Conlin soon sold the car to Steve Elmore, who campaigned it on the West Coast for several years, drivers including Fred Frame, Frank Lockhart, Eddie Meyer, Jack Petticord and (presumably) Earl Cooper and Lou Moore.

      The louvred radiator shell was used on at least four different 183 CID Millers, although one was presumably “recycled”, so that there may have been only three in existence. Sadly, the origins of Bill Castle’s shell on the wall is one of the many questions I forgot to ask when I visited him in 2011 – now he’s gone! :-(

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