Ryan’s ‘Unknown Roadster’ was quickly identified as the stylish Ross Page Offy Special entry, ran by Fred Agabashian. The car was good looking, but encountered an oil line failure and only ran 58 laps.
Did you know that there were a number of other very interesting Indy 500 entries for that 1948 race, including a 6-wheeled racer called the ‘Pat Clancy Special’, entered by Billy Devore? Pat Clancy owned a trucking company that worked routes up the Smokey mountains of Tennessee. Of course his semis had twin rear axles to give more traction in many conditions like the challenging hilly roads… And that gave one of Clancy’s drivers an interesting proposition: If the truck’s multiple rear drive wheels provided dependable grip for the long haulers, why won’t they do the same on the banks of the grueling Indianapolis 500? Maybe that extra traction helped, as the odd car finished in a very respectable 12th place.
How about campaigning a 1939 Mercedes-Benz W154 Grand Prix car? Yes, Don Lee owned the Nazi-era racer (chassis #9) discovered in Czechoslovakia after the war, which was likely the same one driven to victory by Manfred von Brauchitsch in the 1938 French Grand Prix. Ten years and a World War later, the 1948 Indy race was this GP Benz’s second attempt at the Brick Yard, where oil pressure issues took the highly-complicated car out after 108 laps.
Watch the film below and see if you spot all three of these unique race cars at the 1948 Indianapolis 500.