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1949 Olsen ‘Special' Indy 500 Racer
- The Ex-Duke Dinsmore, Jackie Holmes Indy car
- Ex-Goodwood Festival of Speed
- Subject of full engine rebuild by RM Wilson
This classic front-engined, Offenhauser-powered Indy 500 Speedway car was the subject of a fascinating feature entitled The Norman Conquest which appeared in Classic & Sportscar when test driven by Wilie Green. According to the article the chassis 'is pure Maserati 8CTF’ and that given a long fast circuit like Silverstone “the Olsen would destroy any pre-1960 single seater”. The article also mentions the Turtle Drilling Special, another famous indy car racer that regularly appears at historic events in the UK.
Built by privateer Norm Olsen around the iconic all-American racing engine, the 4-cylinder 4.2 litre Offenhauser doc, the car qualified for the 1949 Indianapolis 500 with an average speed of 127.7 mph, driven by Duke Dinsmore, and completed 174 laps of the race before a radius rod failure sidelined the car. The following year it was more successful, in the hands of Jackie Holmes who’s qualifying lap of 129.6 mph was the 30th fastest lap time that year, and it might have have achieved a podium finish had it not spun off in the wet and then rejoined the race.
Discovered in Jamaica in the 1960s by a British enthusiast the car was restored in the UK and competed in the late 90s at Silverstone and Goodwood, driven by David Clarke.In more recent years it has formed part of a large private collection and has been subject to a comprehensive engine rebuild by Bob Wilson of RM Wilson. Please visit this link to watch a short film of the car, presented by Bob:
The history file contains copies of its American Fia papers; archive photos and invoices for recent expenditure.