15th Annual La Jolla Concours d'Elegance celebrates Indy race cars - Old Cars Weekly

15th Annual La Jolla Concours d'Elegance celebrates Indy race cars

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Article Courtesy Of: Wayne Craig of the La Jolla Concours Car Sourcing Committee.

La Jolla, CA – Celebrating its 15th anniversary the weekend of Friday April 12th, Saturday April 13th, and Sunday April 14ththe La Jolla Concours d’Elegance presented by LPL Financial and Pacific Sotheby’s will be returning to the stunning shores of La Jolla, California. Earning the reputation as one of the finest internationally renowned classic automobile showcases in the United States, the La Jolla Concours continues to attract discerning car enthusiasts from around the globe. La Jolla Concours d’Elegance is a weekend of prestigious events appreciating outstanding automotive specimens. In total, attendees can expect to see 130 spectacular automobiles from around the world. Of those vehicles, the 2019 La Jolla Concours will have a display of Indianapolis Race Cars from the Malloy Foundation, Inc. collection.

The story behind each of these automobiles starts with an event that occurred over one hundred years ago, The Greatest Spectacle in Racing—or as most call it, The Indianapolis 500. The Indy 500 is regarded as the largest sporting event in the US and has played the backbone of American motorsports for decades, both making and ending many racing careers throughout each successive generation. As one could imagine with this longstanding legacy, an evolution of technology and impressive cars grew with it—including these five authentic racecars campaigned at the Brickyard between 1930 and 1980 that will now make their way the La Jolla Concours lawn on Sunday, April 14th.

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1934 Miller. Following the Stock Market Crash of 1929 both attendance and entries at the Indy 500 declined. In order to encourage more entries, the AAA Contest Board changed the rules to allow “specials”, which created an opportunity for smaller teams and even individuals to build a car from various components and compete. Representing the 1930s era at Indy is the 1934 Miller “BURD Piston Ring Special”. As the name implies, Harry Miller designed the car and driver Mauri Rose and Riding Mechanician (navigator) campaigned it in 1936 with modest success but in 1937, with a new 270 Offenhauser engine, it qualified 8th and finished 18th. The car was raced for several more years with numerous drivers but in 1953 Don Thompson purchased the car and allowed his son, Terry, to use it on the streets of Coffeyville, Kansas. Legendary Indy champion Johnny Rutherford, who is a friend of the family, stated, “Terry Thompson terrorized the streets and people of Coffeyville in that car.” After purchasing the car from William Turner in 2000, Mr. Malloy continued to vintage race the historic Miller.

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1948 Kurtis Kraft 2000. The 1940s war impacted the Indy series and the famous Brickyard race, but wartime technological advances found its way to the race track. Kurtis-Kraft, a custom race-car tuner from Glendale, California, was known for innovative sprint cars and midget racers. In 1948, they built an Offenhauser powered Indy car capable of 130MPH, known as the Don Lee Spl. Driver Mack Hellings qualified at 127.968MPH, flat out, but only in 21st position. The car cornered so well that by the end of the race Hellings took 5th place. The car also received special fame as Clark Gable’s car in the film, To Please A Lady and was purchased by MGM Studios and later sold for $4,000. There after the car known as the Clark Gable Spl. and raced until 1960. The Malloy Foundation has owned the car since 1997 and runs it as the Don Lee Spl.

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1958 Watson. Offenhauser engines were still preferred and brought results well into the 1950s. The 1958 Watson “McNamara Chiropractic Special” was the last of the A. J. Watson chassis to be built in Gardena, California. It was purchased by McNamara Freight Company without an engine and hastily assembled just in time for qualifying. Though the Hasty assembly apparently did not matter, as the car set the 1958 Indy 500 Pole record at 145.974MPH, but unfortunately finished 27thfollowing a crash with sixteen other cars on the first lap. Tragically the crash also took the life of Pat O’Connor. The car continued to race at Indy until 1963 then was campaigned in USAC races with a major crash in 1971 and finally restored in 1988 to the original livery. The Malloy Foundation purchased the car in 2005.

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1964 Watson Tube Frame. The 1960s brought about major innovations and racing again embraced the rear engine format similar the famous Mercedes Benz V-16 Silver Arrows of the 1930s. Offenhauser engines were still competitive, but Ford had developed an efficient, light-weight and powerful V-8 engine that A.J. Watson placed in a tubular frame Indy car for 1964, known as the “Leader Card Kaiser Aluminum Spl”. To gain more horsepower, Watson secretly converted the engine to run on alcohol and used a fuel metering system that was confusing for the driver, thus using too much fuel forcing four pit stops. Despite qualifying in third position at 156.406MPH behind Jim Clark and Bobby Marshman and stopping four times, the car finished second at the hands of Rodger Ward. The Malloy Foundation has owned the car since 1998.

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1978 McLaren M-24B. In 1978 Team McLaren (the famous Formula One team founded by Bruce McLaren) built the 1978 McLaren M24B “Red Roof Special” driven by Johnny Rutherford from Fort Worth, Texas and qualifying 4th at 197.098MPH. After earlier wins in 1972, 1974 and 1976 by Rutherford in McLarens, the M24B was created. Despite legal challenges between USAC and CART disrupting the season in 1979, Rutherford finished fourth in the PPG Indy Car Series standings. Running the powerful 800HP Cosworth DFX (turbocharged) engine and lots of aero, Johnny found the balance to bring home the points in several races. Mr. Malloy acquired the car in 2000 from second owner, Vernon John Schuppan, who took 3rdat Indy in the car in 1981.

The La Jolla Concours will host Tom Malloy of the Malloy Foundation and owner of these fine examples on Sunday, April 14th, to personally answer questions about the cars and his remarkable history with the Indy 500 and vintage racing. Don’t miss a once in a lifetime chance to see five decades of Indy racing right before your eyes at the 15th Annual La Jolla Concours d’Elegance. The Sunday automotive celebrations will include one of the rarest automobile showcases in the world displayed along the sunny bluffs of the Pacific Ocean, along with a vintage air parade, champagne, honey and chocolate tasting garden, VIP Lounge and Hospitality Suites. Join the World Class Experience with General Admission tickets starting at $55 and VIP tickets just $155 through March 3rd. For more information on all of the La Jolla Concours World Class Weekend events, to register your vehicle or to purchase tickets, please visit www.lajollaconcours.comor call 619.233.5008.

All proceeds from the 15th Annual La Jolla Concours d’Elegance will go towards the La Jolla Historical Society, which preserves the history of the gem known as La Jolla. In addition to the La Jolla Historical Society, the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance benefits several additional local community nonprofit partners each year. They have been privileged to donate in the past, as well as to the Monarch School for homeless children, Navy SEAL Foundation, La Jolla Village, La Jolla Parks and Beaches, etc. 

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