1917 Miller Golden Submarine

Harry Miller's enclosed race car was many things - it was aerodynamic, safer than open cars, and mercilessly mocked by the press. It was built for Barney Oldfield after the death of his friend Bob Burman in 1916 driving an open cockpit car. The streamlined racer cost Oldfield $15,000 but would earn him many victories.

The Golden Submarine had a 104-inch wheelbase and was powered by a 289 cubic-inch, SOHC, water-cooled, cross-flow four-cylinder engine delivering 136 horsepower.

The inaugural race for the Golden Submarine was the 1917 Chicago War Derby where Oldfield qualified at 107.4 mph. He was leading the race before he was forced to retire after ten miles due to engine issues. Nine days later, Oldfield beat his arch-nemesis, Ralph de Palma and his Packard, in three dirt match races. Throughout 1917, Oldfield had made 35 starts in the Sub and had won 17 times. During the process, he set every international dirt-track speed record.

Although the 'Sub' had been built for safety, it was not built to float. While racing in Atlanta, it lost a wheel and plunged into a lake, nearly claiming Oldfield's life. Later in the season, a fuel tank was punctured and a fire destroyed the body. Although the body and chassis were badly charred, Oldfield removed the body from mid-cowl to rear and re-enlisted the chassis services.

The cars nor the engines have survived - only replica(s).


by Daniel Vaughan | May 2020
Vehicle Profiles
1917 Miller Golden Submarine vehicle information

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The summer of 2007 saw the unveiling of Charles Glick's latest Great Race creation; the 1917 Golden Submarine.....[continue reading]

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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Miller
1922Ford (1,147,028)Dodge (152,673)Chevrolet (138,932)
1921Ford (1,275,618)Chevrolet (130,855)Buick (82,930)
1920Ford (806,040)Chevrolet (146,243)Dodge (141,000)
1919Ford (820,445)Chevrolet (129,118)Buick (119,310)
1918Ford (435,898)Buick (126,222)Willys Knight (88,753)
1917Ford (622,351)Willys Knight (130,988)Buick (115,267)
1916Ford (734,811)Willys Knight (140,111)Buick (124,834)
1915Ford (501,492)Willys Knight (91,904)Dodge (45,000)
1914Ford (308,162)Overland (48,461)Studebaker (35,374)
1913Ford (168,220)Overland (37,422)Studebaker (31,994)
1912Ford (78,440)Overland (28,572)Buick (19,812)

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