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1935 Pirrung Special

1935 Pirrung Special

1935 Pirrung Special

One of the very first cars to use the fabled Offenhauser engine was this 1935 Indy special. It has been claimed that the engine was one of the first to have the ‘Offenhauser Engineering Co’ badge on its side.

Myron Stevens and Roscoe Dunning were the principle fabricators of this car and designed it for Gil Pirrung. Inspired by the Miller front wheel drive, Pirrung had Leo Goosen and Wilbur shaw design a front wheel drive system. The gear change mechanism went over the top of the engine and was changed with a shiftnob on the dashboard.

The car was finished in time for the 1935 Indy 500 and raced alongside a second Pirrung Special #8 for Doc MacKenzie. The #14 car was driven by Wilbur Shaw with riding mechanic Myron Stevens. They finished 2nd overall behind Kelly Petillo who was the first to win an Indy with an Offenhauser engine.

From its second place finish, it ran in Indy with little success in 1936 and 1937. In 1938, the second seat was removed to accommodate the one man formula. After hitting the wall in the 1939 Indy, the car was permanently retired.

The Pirrung Special #14 was rebuilt in time for the Indianapolis feature at the 2007 Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca. It was restored by Phil Riley an Co in Corte Madera, California for driver Linda Mountanos. She raced the weekend with riding mechanic and made a great debut for the car after 68 years.

Thanks to Phil Reily and company for their help with this feature.

Story by Richard Owen

In Detail

type Racing Car
engine Offy Inline-4
position Front Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
displacement 3605 cc / 220 in³
power 205.1 kw / 275 bhp @ 5200 rpm
specific output 76.28 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 310.73 bhp per tonne
body / frame Aluminum over Steel Frame
driven wheels FWD
wheel type Wires
front tires 6.00×18
rear brakes Inboard Drums
front wheels F 14.0 x 45.7 cm / 5.5 x 18 in
rear wheels R 14.0 x 45.7 cm / 5.5 x 18 in
r suspension Rigid Axel w/Quarter Elliptic Leaf Springs
curb weight 885 kg / 1950 lbs
designers Leo Goosen, Wilbur Shaw