Tag Archives: Ross

Bardahl Special – Kurtis Offenhauser 500G

Ole Bardahl was the embodiment of the American dream aged 20 he arrived in Seattle from Norway in 1922 with $32 in his pocket and unable to speak a word of English, by 39 he had become a millionaire building contractor and went on to found the Bardahl Oil Company in Ballard Seattle.

Kurtis Offy 500G, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea,

From 1950 to 1959 Bardahl sponsored Offenhauser powered Kurtis cars started in every Indy 500, two third places from Sam Hanks in 1952 and 1953 were the teams best results in this period. In 1956 a Bardahl showed up with the unique Ferrari powered Kurtis for Giuseppe Farina but the car proved too slow.

Kurtis Offy 500G, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea,

For reasons that have not been determined during the research for this blog for 1957 Bardahl had Kurtis build two left hand drive Offenhauser powered 500G’s,all the other ’57 Kurtis Indy cars were right hand drive so far as I have been able to determine the #16 was driven by Al Keller and the #19 seen here by Jack Turner. Al Keller started the ’57 Indy 500 from 8th on the grid but crashed on lap 75 and was classified 27th, while Jack Turner started 19th and classified 11th last car on the lead lap.

Kurtis Offy 500G, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea,

The ’57 Bardahl Kurtis Offy was by no means the only left hooker Indy car the manufacturer built, regular readers will remember that the Ross Page Special I looked at a couple of weeks ago was also a left hand drive machine, but the question remains as to why so few left hookers were built at all when almost all the other vehicles that participated in the Indy 500 at the time featured either a central driving position or a right side driving position ? If you have any references for an answer please do not hesitate to chime in below.

Kurtis Offy 500G, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea,

For the 1958 Indy 500 Al Keller, perhaps best known as the first driver of a foreign car, Jaguar, to win a NASCAR sanctioned race, Linden, in 1954, took over the car seen in today’s photographs taken by Geoffrey Horton at the Concours on the Avenue in Carmel By The Sea a couple of years ago. Renumbered #52 Al qualified 21st completed all 200 laps and was classified 11th as had the cars previous driver Jack Turner in 1957.

Kurtis Offy 500G, Concours on the Avenue, Carmel by the Sea,

For 1959 Bardahl returned to the 500 with a conventional right hand drive Kurtis for Paul Russo who finished 9th. Through the 1960’s Bardahl entered Kurtis, Watson and Eagle cars with a best result of 3rd for Bobby Unser who drove a Bardahl entered Lola in the 1969 Indy 500 which appears to have concluded the teams participation in “The greatest spectacle in racing”.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sharing his photographs which I have used in all of this months Indy 500 blogs, and to E.B. at The Nostalgia Forum for confirming today’s featured car was driven by Al Keller in the 1958 Indy 500.

Finally congratulations to Tony Kanaan for winning the 2013 edition of the Indy 500.

Thanks for joining me on this “Bardahl” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Company Car – Ferrari 360 Spider

GALPOT regulars may remember me posting a blog on the Ferrari 360 Spider last year, I have revisited this model, built in 2000, in honour of the original owner of this car, Ross Brawn team principle of Mercedes AMG Formula One team who’s driver Nico Rosberg won his and the teams first victory in China last weekend.

Ferrari 360 Spider, Haynes IMM

Ross, from Manchester England, became interested in engineering at the Belle Vue Stadium, Britain’s first oval track dating back to 1926, where he attended a variety of short track events.

After a spell with the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in Harwell Oxfordshire where he studied instrumentation, Ross joined the race car manufacturer March Engineering where he worked as a milling machine operator and later as a race mechanic.

In 1978 Ross joined Williams as a machinist progressing through the Williams R&D and aerodynamics departments.
After spells with the Haas Lola and Arrow’s Grand Prix teams Ross moved to the Jaguar Sports Car team and was credited as the lead designer of the Jaguar XJR 14 which won the 1991 World Sports Car Championship.

Later in 1991 Ross became technical director at Benetton where he was joined by rising star Micheal Schumacher with whom he designed strategies to win the 1994 & 1995 World Drivers Championship and 1995 World Constructors Championships.

Towards the end of 1996 Ross joined Micheal at Ferrari, along with Benetton’s designer Rory Bryne to form a ‘Dream Team’ that won World Constructors Championships from 1999 to 2005 and the World Drivers Championships for Micheal Schumacher from 2000 – 2004.

After taking a sabbatical in 2007 Ross Brawn joined the under performing Honda team and spent the 2008 season developing the teams 2009 challenger only for Honda to withdraw from Grand Prix racing at the end of 2008 amidst global economic chaos.

Incredibly Ross managed to put together a deal to save the Honda team with a management buyout and secured a deal to use Mercedes engines for his newly rebranded Brawn GP team. The new car was a cracker right out of the box winning no less than six of it’s first seven races in the hands of Jenson Button who won the 2009 World Drivers title and with two additional wins from Rubens Barrichello Brawn secured the 2009 constructors title.

The following year Daimler Benz bought into Brawn GP and the team was rebranded again to Mercedes GP. The team, with Ross Brawn remaining as team principle, managed to tempt Micheal Schumacher out of a three years of retirement to join Nico Rosberg. After two years of relative under performance Mercedes finally won it’s first race the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend.

The victory was the first for a Mercedes vehicle since the 1955 Italian GP won by Juan Manuel Fangio.
Ross Brawn’s Ferrari 360 Spider can be seen at the Haynes International Motor Museum.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Company Car’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !