MARENGO, ILLINOIS (March 16, 2009) – Mecum, the high-performance collector car auction specialists, will offer the 1938 Indy Blue Crown Special Racecar at the 22nd Dana Mecum Original Spring Classic Auction, May 13-17, 2009, in Indianapolis, Ind.
“The Indy Blue Crown Special – and the legendary team involved with its development – were some of the most colorful characters in the chronicles of Indianapolis 500 history,” said Dana Mecum, president of Mecum Auction. “It was the first car in the history of the Indy 500 to use an advanced disc brake system. As a two-owner vehicle it remains well-documented and in amazingly good condition. When bidding ends on this racecar the new owner will not only have one of the most original cars from that era, but all the blueprints, pictures, records, spares, notes and memorabilia that record this car’s incredible life.”
Built in 1938, the Indy Blue Crown Special was the creation of Joe Lencki of Chicago, Ill. – a pioneer in internal combustion engine development. Lencki was intrigued with engines at a very young age, being bit by the racing bug after attending the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911. He built his first race car at age 20 and, with advice from his friend Charles Kettering, successfully ran one of the first high compression race engines.
In 1937-38, Lencki designed and built his own cylinder head that incorporated the recent advancement of hemispherical combustion chambers. Drafted by the renowned Leo Goossen, the 265 cubic inch “Lencki Double Overhead Cam Six” was built at Fred Offenhauser’s manufacturing plant. This one-of-a-kind engine – featuring a 14-to-1 compression ratio, twin overhead-cam hemi-head design and quadruple Winfield carbs – produced a reliable 400 horsepower that kept the car competitive for more than a decade.
From 1939 to 1947, the Blue Crown Special qualified for the Indy 500 five times under the helm of drivers Tony Willman (1939); Floyd David (1940); Emil Andres (1941 and 1947); and Mauri Rose (1946). Tony Bettenhausen, Ronnie Householder, Cletus Joseph “Cowboy” O’Rourke and other famous drivers also piloted the Blue Crown Special, which was a regular competitor on both paved and dirt ovals for a decade.
Lencki retired the car in 1948, and the infamous engine rested on his shop bench until his death in 1994. Don McReynolds of Sonora, Ariz., purchased the car from Lencki’s estate and spent three years restoring it to its 1947 blue and red race colors.
Additional specifications include:
* A sheet-metal frame in a semi-monocoque construction
* All-aluminum body hand-formed by the Rigling brothers
* Fuel and oil tanks built by Frank Kurtis
* DOHC 265 CI engine designed by Leo Goossen in 1938 (owner has original blueprints)
* Winfield carburetors
* 2-Speed Miller transmission
The Indy Blue Crown Special Racecar will be auctioned on live national TV on Friday, May 15, 2009, at the must-attend Original Spring Classic Auction at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The event is open to the general public and tickets are available at the door for $10. For more information, visit www.Mecum.com.
The auction, which is expected to feature 1,250 vehicles, will be broadcast live on Mecum’s popular television series, “Mecum Auto Auction: Muscle Cars & More” on HD Theater – Discovery Communications’ first 24-hour high-definition cable network, offering compelling real-world and motorized content.
The Mecum Auction Company has been specializing in the sale of collector cars, muscle cars and Corvettes for more than 20 years. In spring 2008, the company sold its 50,000th car. Consignment, Bidder, event and accommodation information is available online at www.Mecum.com or by calling 815.568.8888.