Smokey Yunick Indy Car
I question the aerodynamics of the open hand bumper on the front of the car. What was Smokey thinking with those?
In 1964, Smokey Yunick showed up at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with one of the most radical cars ever to enter the 500-mile race. Called the Hurst Floor Shift Special, it featured a catamaran-like layout with the driver placed in a pod adjacent to the traditional body containing the engine, front and rear suspension, fuel tank, and radiator.
Unfortunately, driver Bobby Johns (the guy who almost won the Daytona 500 with Smokey’s Pontiac in 1960) had trouble adjusting to the car’s handling characteristics and eventually backed it into the wall during the last day of qualifying.
The driver sits in the second pod on the right side of this photo.
The plastic in the driver’s seat is from covering the car from the night’s dew and showers. Look at the gauges on the driver’s right side. Did Smokey think it was a good idea for the driver to turn his head 90 degrees at speed to check these?
This car just blows my mind! If this car ever hit the wall driver’s side first there would be no hope for the driver.
Here are some photos of another Smokey Yunick Indy Car that is a bit more conventional.
This 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G Roadster built by Frank Kurtis for McNamara/Kalamazoo Sports. Andy Linden started in 12th place after he qualified the car at 143.244 mph for the 1957 Indy 500. He finished 5th in this car. In 1958 the car was sponsored and owned by the City of Daytona/Smokey and driven by Paul Goldsmith who qualified the car in 16th with a speed of 142.744. He finished in 30th. Goldy was involved in a multi-car crash and out of the race with 199 laps to go. Yunick returned in 1959 with what he called Smokey’s Reverse Torque Special, driven to a Seventh-Place finish by Indy great Duane Carter. In 1960, Yunick hit a home run. He and Chicky Hiroshima teamed up with driver (and team manager) Jim Rathmann to win it all in the Ken-Paul Special.