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Replicas of first Indy cars set for production

Coker Tire Co. to build replicas of first Indy 500 cars
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This replica of the 1911 Marmon Wasp that Ray Harroun drove to victory in the first Indy 500 was displayed at the 2009 SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

As part of the project, the maker of vintage tires will build 40 replicas of cars that raced in the first 500-mile race in 1911. In addition, a replica of the speedway as it looked in 1911 will be constructed. Casey Coker, who runs the Coker Cycle Co. division of the tire company, said that the re-creation of the famed “Brickyard” would be built within 100 miles of the real track.

Corky Coker, president of Coker Tire Co., announced the project to the press at the 2009 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Coker is also a founding member and former chairman of SEMA’s Automobile Restoration Market Organization (ARMO).

Replicas of the Marmon Wasp that won the first 500-mile race and a Lozier that was involved in a controversial finish in 1911 will be among the first of the 40 cars that are going to be constructed. Coker also mentioned Hudson, Nash and other early racing cars. The cars will be exacting replicas of the cars that competed in the original 500, but they will have modern engines.

Casey Coker said that the original Marmon Wasp that Ray Harroun drove to victory was brought to Coker Tire Co. headquarters in Chattanooga, where it was displayed for a while and used for reference to make the first of the 40 historically accurate replicas. Coker brought the completed but unpainted Marmon Wasp replica to the SEMA Show.

“Dad had a real Lozier in his collection,” Casey said, “so we already had a model for the Lozier build.”

The movie will be a large-scale, professional production with actors dressed in leather helmets, goggles and other early racing garb. Other than the press announcement at the SEMA Show, Coker Tire Co. plans to wait until 2010 to release official details about the Indy 500 movie.

Old Cars Weekly asked Casey Coker what would happen to the cars after the completion of filming. “I think that we’ll probably keep a couple of them,” she said. “And we’ll probably sell off the rest of them, possibly in an auction.”

Indianapolis Motor Speeway: 100 Years of Racing
by Ralph Kramer

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway has thrilled race fans for generations. Re-visit 100 years of racing with hundreds of rare photographs that capture the excitement and spirit of race day. Indianapolis Motor Speedway traces the track's rise from 328 acres of farmland to today's modern facility. Beautiful illustrations highlight the cars and personalities who have made the "Brickyard" a fan favorite for generations. To Order


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