This 1932 Miller, four-wheel drive, finished in 4th place at the 1936 Indy 500, driven by Mauri Rose. It also won the first Mt. Equinox Hill Climb on May 22nd of 1950. The record time was 6 minutes, 59.4 seconds with an average speed of 54.2 miles-per hour.
It is powered by a 255 Miller Offenhauser engine rated at 300 horsepower and mated to a 3-speed manual transmission.
The front wheel drive system was revolutionary. The cars built by Harry Miller were often works of genius. Cars built by Miller won the Indy 500 nine times (plus three additional victories with his engines in other chassis). They accounted for 83 percent of the Brickyard's fields between 1923 and 1928.
Sensing the oncoming Great Depression and the difficulties it would add to the racing world, Miller sold his assents to a group of investors, who re-named the business Schofield-Miller.
After running low on funds, he revived his old company and began work on a series of new projects, including an overhead cam head for Model A Ford blocks. Other projects including a V16 engine, and a replacement high-performance drivetrain for the Cord L29. The internal dimensions of the V16 engine would later be used to create the 4-cylinder '255' engine. This would lead to the epic Offenhauser engine that would dominate the American racing scene until the Seventies.
In 1931, Miller earned another victory at Indianapolis with the '230' straight-8 cars. After this accomplishment, Miller and friend Harry Hartz traveled to Clintonville, Wisconsin, to visit the FWD Company, builders of commercial 4WD machines. After the trip, Miller began work on building two 4WD racer cars in Los Angeles. One was per the agreement formed with the FWD Company. The other example, Miller hoped to sell.
Power for the 4WD cars came from a new 308 cubic-inch V8 with dual overhead cams designed by Leo Goossen. They were given a 3-speed gearbox and power was sent to the wheels laterally to the car's passenger side via a gear-set, and then into a lockable differential. The front wheels were located by a DeDion tube with quarter-elliptic leaf springs at all four corners.
One of the completed cars represented the FWD Company at the 1932 Indy Speedway. The other example was entered by Miller himself. The FWD Company car was driven by Bob McDonough, who ran well for a while before he was forced to drop out due to an oiling problem. Miller's car was driven by Gus Schrader. It started in 28th position and quickly raced into the 3rd spot. Unfortunately, it slid into the wall after its tires became coated with oil.
The following year, the FWD Company's car qualified 2nd, but again was forced to retire prematurely. For 1934, the V8 engine was replaced by a Miller-designed '255' 4-cylinder unit. It led the race for 60 laps and would finish in 9th place due to lengthy pit stops.
In 1935, the car was driven by Mauri Rose and again DNF'd. In 1936, Rose finished 4th. In 1937 it threw a rod.
By the mid-1930s, Miller had lost much of his financial funds. His FWD car was sold to a Los Angeles businessman who had it sent to Europe where it was entered in the 1934 Tripoli Grand Prix where it was driven by Peter De Paolo. The car finished in 7th position. This race marked the first time a 4WD was used in Grand Prix competition.
The car was later entered by DePaolo in the Grand Prix at Avus, Germany. While running in 7th place, the engine exploded and pieces of the engine flew very close to Adolf Hitler's viewing area. A nearby general saw a fragment fly past the Fuhrer's head.
After the race, the car returned to the United States where the chassis was later lost. The engine, however, was repaired by Overton Phillips, and fitted to a Type 35 chassis.