The Hudson Motor Car Company has a long history with racing being apart nearly every year. As early as 1917 Hudson race cars were being used in competition and would continue to build their legacy during the 1920's and 1930s. In 1931 a Hudson eight-cylinder engine would be placed in the Marr Special and raced in the Indianapolis 500. Chet Miller drove the Marr Special to a very impressive 10th place finish amongst very tough competition. The car and driver returned the following year and qualified for competition with a fast-time of 111 mph. The car would not finish the race due to engine problems.
This 1934 Hudson Indy Car has seating for two, which was not uncommon at the time. The passengers seat was usually filled with the riding mechanic. Until the invention of the rear-view mirror, the mechanic served double duties, as they watched rear traffic and kept the driver informed about the traffic.
The Great Depression affected industries on a global scale. The automobile industry was not shielded from this catastrophe; many prominent and well established businesses were forced to close their doors forever. The racing industry was the same; people were unwilling or unable to participate as either an entrant or a spectator as they had done prior to The Great Depression. To re-stimulate racing, Indy created the 'Junk Formula', which was aimed at attracting low cost racers and home-grown specials to participate. The rules were more relaxed and the response was spectacular. IN 1933, a total of 42 cars lined up for top honors. This caused other problems, or at least fueled problems that were already existent, mainly safety concerns. From 1931 through 1935, there were 15 fatalities. The problems were many, such as faster racing speeds, track conditions, and an increase in drivers. To help alleviate this problem, some of the bricks in parts of the track were removed and the area was repaved with tarmac.
The supercharged 91 cubic-inch Millers and Duesenberg's of the 1920s had dominated the Indy racing scene. They were powerful, advanced and well refined. The race cars were now able to achieve speeds topping 124 mph. To bring competition back to Indy, and to reduce the speeds, the Junk Formula was established. This helped bring back many production passenger car producers, as many of the racing specials were built atop of passenger car chassis.
In 1934 there were 33 American driver's who participated in the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Bill Cummings led for 57 laps, having started from the 10th position, and finished in first place. He was followed closely by Mauri Rose who had led for 68 laps and finished in second. Of the 33 starters, only 13 would finish the race as the rest of the field retired due to crashes or mechanical problems.Also photographed at :