1957 Belond Special

1957 Belond Special 1957 Belond Special 1957 Belond Special
Monoposto
The success of the Salih Belond Exhaust Special is a testament to three men - Howard Gilbert (the racing mechanic), George Salih (a foreman at Meyer & Drake, which supplied the Offenhauser engine) and Sam Hanks (a driver who had yet to win his first Indy 500). Gilbert and Salih decided to build a 'layover' chassis with the engine inclined at 18 degrees, decreasing the frontal area and lowering the center of gravity. The Salih Belond Specials became the first car to visit victory lane twice with different drivers, first in 1957 with Sam Hanks and again in 1958 with three-time champion Jimmy Bryan. In 1959 Bryan retired the car with a broken engine after just one lap.

Sam Hanks all but planned the amazing finish to his racing career at the Indianapolis 500. He wanted to win and retire in style after his victory. Hanks had always been respected in the racing community, particularly as an expert in testing car handling for other drivers, with added speed for these drivers as a result. But, in 1957, it would be Hanks pulling ahead of the field at lap 133 and keeping the lead for good. It was the largest purse, both for Hanks but also for the field, in the Speedway's history.

George Salih's low-slung Belond led to a number of designers and owners entering their own low riding designs in to the 1958 race. Nothing could beat the original, though and Jimmy Bryan would once again ride the yellow Belond to victory in the 1958 Indy 500, making the Belond Special the only car in the history of Indianapolis to win at the Brickyard with different drivers.


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