Harry Miller was an innovative genius, particularly
in Indianapolis style racing in the 1920s and 1930s.
A Miller-engined Duesenberg won at Indianapolis.
A Miller front-wheel drive car came 2nd.
The Indi' engine limit was raised to 5.99 litres,
Frank Lockhart built the Sampson Special
with a V16 engine derived from two 8-cylinder
Miller engines with separate crankshafts and ancilliary systems
driving a central shaft [Hou65].
Miller produced a front-engined, four wheel drive car, the
special (see below).
A more conventional Miller-Hartz won the race.
Miller produced 3.8L, 4-cyl, front-engined rear wheel drive cars
with disc brakes.
He also produced a rear-engined, 6-cylinder,
four wheel drive car for Gulf-Oil.
There were three of the latter in 1939
but they seemed to be dogged by bad luck, achieving little success.
George Bailey was killed in one in 1940
when the side-mounted fuel tanks caught fire in a crash [Nye74].
The tanks were carried inside new side frames in 1941
by which time the modified car strongly resembled an Auto-Union.
A Miller V16 of 5 litres (303 in3),
actually two 2.5 litre 8-cylinder engines twinned
and driving a central shaft.|
Such a device powered the Sampson Special
at Indianapolis in 1930 although other
engines were fitted at different times.|
The Miller FWD Special, chassis number FWD2, of 1932
was sponsored by the
maker of four wheel drive trucks.
Fittingly, this race car has four wheel drive.
It now has a 1935 4.2 litre V8 engine.
Note the de Dion suspension.|
Fitted with a 4.2 litre (255 in3) 4-cylinder engine,
it led the 1934 Indianapolis 500 for a while, finishing 9th.
The engine drives through a gearbox and then through further gears
which take the drive sideways to a centre differential
where shafts take it to the front and rear differentials.
The latter resemble Miller's front drive units of 1925.
Four wheel drive returned to Indianapolis in
Thanks to Rod Genn for pictures and
to Mike Read for research.
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