Shelby’s crew is shown working on the turbine Indycar at the Torrance facility. Designer Ken Wallis is seated in the car, while the man at the far left is Richard Burtz, one of the team’s engineers, and the man with glasses squatting next to Wallis is Einar Jonsson.
Photo: Dave Norton
During the sixties, Carroll Shelby tried almost anything having to do with cars and racing. A little-known episode was his effort at Indianapolis. The Shelby Indycar was one of the famous, or infamous if you will, turbine-powered cars. Here’s how it came about.
Turbines had been tried at Indy before, but in 1967, Andy Granatelli mounted a serious effort. He entered the “Studebaker STP Special” with Parnelli Jones driving. Parnelli took the lead during the first lap, but the race was soon stopped due to rain. The next day, he led for 171 laps until a drivetrain gear failed. Shortly thereafter, the United States Auto Club (USAC) limited the size of turbines for future events. Granatelli brought a lawsuit against USAC stating that the action was “arbitrary and discriminatory.” After a costly legal battle, the court found for USAC.
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