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Harry Miller

Harry Miller was an innovative genius, particularly in Indianapolis style racing in the 1920s and 1930s.
1922:  A Miller-engined Duesenberg won at Indianapolis.
1925:  A Miller front-wheel drive car came 2nd.
1930:  The Indi' engine limit was raised to 5.99 litres, unsupercharged, 2-valves/cylinder.
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].
1932:  Miller produced a front-engined, four wheel drive car, the FWD special (see below). A more conventional Miller-Hartz won the race.
1938:  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.
- 4wd.sofcom.com/ClassicCars/Miller.html

A Miller V16 of 5 litres (303 in3), actually two 2.5 litre 8-cylinder engines twinned and driving a central shaft.
ngine 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 FWD company, 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 1964.

Thanks to Rod Genn for pictures and to Mike Read for research.

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