1948 Hoyt Ford Flathead Shreve Special

1948 Hoyt Ford Flathead Shreve Special 1948 Hoyt Ford Flathead Shreve Special 1948 Hoyt Ford Flathead Shreve Special Monoposto
Chassis #: IRC001
High bid of $90,000 at 2007 Vintage Motor Car Auction at Meadow Brook Hall. (did not sell)
When Thane Houser and his son Norm decided to enter the Indianapolis 500, they purchased an old Offenhauser-powered car from an Indianapolis garage owner. They installed a 273 cubic-inch V-8 Ford flathead. Robert Allison, a local Indianapolis realtor, aided the duo by adding sponsorship and much needed financial support. The car was ready for the 1947 Indianapolis Race but it failed to qualify. After the attempt at Indy, the car was sold to an Indianapolis policeman named Ed Shreve. Legendary race mechanic Art Hoyt converted it to a single-seat car, rebuilt the motor and added many upgrades including aluminum Grancor heads and four double-barrel Stromberg 81 carburetors. After these improvements, the car was dubbed the Shreve Special. The car was put into storage after several failed attempts to qualify at Indy.
1948 Hoyt Ford Flathead Shreve Special 1948 Hoyt Ford Flathead Shreve Special 1948 Hoyt Ford Flathead Shreve Special Monoposto
Chassis #: IRC001
High bid of $90,000 at 2007 Vintage Motor Car Auction at Meadow Brook Hall. (did not sell)
After World War II, the world was ready to return to racing. In America, all eye's turned to America's greatest motor race, the Indy 500. Fifty-eight cars showed up to fight for the checkered flag. Most of the group consisted of cars built in the 1930s or built utilizing technology from the 1930s.

Thane Houser and his son Norm, decided to enter the Indy 500 race. They purchased an old Offenhauser-powered car from an Indianapolis garage owner named Thorne. The Offenhauser engine was replaced with a Ford flathead V8 which displaced 273 cubic-inches. Robert Allison, a local Indianapolis realtor, added the duo by adding sponsorship and much needed financial support.

The car was ready for the 1947 Indianapolis Race but it failed to qualify. After the attempt at Indy, the car was sold to an Indianapolis policeman named Ed Shreve who brought the car to legendary race mechanic, Art Hoyt, who rebuilt the motor and added many upgrades including aluminum Grancor heads and intake manifold with four double-barrel Stromberg 81 carburetors, and race magneto. The two-seater configuration was replaced with a single-seat body. After these improvements, the car was dubbed the Shreve Special.

Shreve was able to secure sponsorship from Indianapolis Ford dealer and Indy 500 track announcer, George Hoster. One of Hoster's employee's, Mike Burch, was given the duties of driving the car during the race. He qualified the car and was ready for competition, but was disqualified due to failing his physical exam. The team scrambled to find a suitable replacement for Burch and found one with Billy Earl. Unfortunately, Earl was unable to ascertain the speeds of Burch and failed to qualify the car.

After the attempts at Indy, the car was put into storage where it remained until the 1990s when it was purchased by an Indy car collector. The car was restored to its original condition and title a 1948 Hoyt Shreve Special.

Since that time it has passed through ownership, appeared at Meadow Brook in 2004, and raced at the 2005 Indy 500 vintage event.

This car has a wheelbase that measures 100-inches, hydraulic hand-operated drum brakes, and a three-speed manual gearbox. The engine measures 273 cubic-inches and is capable of producing over 300 horsepower. The front axle is solid with leaf springs while in the rear there is a four-link suspension with transverse leaf springs.

At auction this car was estimated to sell for $100,000 - $140,000. Bidding reached $90,000 but was unable to satisfy the reserve. The car was left unsold.


By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2011

Indianapolis Vehicles



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