Wilbur Shaw drove the “Boyle Special” Maserati 8CTF to back-to-back victories in the 1939 and 1940 Indianapolis 500s.
Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
One was born in Shelbyville, Indiana, in 1902 and the other in a cramped workshop in Bologna, northern Italy, 35 years later. Yet, when the two came together, they astounded the world by winning the Indianapolis 500 twice, in 1939 and 1940.
Wilbur Shaw built his first car when he was 18 years old and, by 1924, he had won America’s National Light-Car Championship in his RED Special. After that, he raced on just about every half-mile track in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. In 1927, he was invited to drive the rebuilt Miller in which Jimmy Murphy crashed and died in 1924. Unnerved by the Jinx Special, as the car had been renamed by its rather cynical sponsor Fritz Holiday, Wilbur, not yet 22, finished 4th in his rookie year.
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