Ex-Jim Clark,1967 Vollstedt-Ford Indianapolis Single-Seat Racer  Engine no. LM1.9.227/060

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Lot 251
Ex-Jim Clark, 1967 Vollstedt-Ford Indianapolis Single-Seat Racer
Engine no. LM1.9.227/060

US$ 130,000 - 150,000
£ 92,000 - 110,000
Ex-Jim Clark
1967 Vollstedt-Ford Indianapolis Single-Seat Racer
Engine no. LM1.9.227/060
Rolla Vollstedt is one of the most respected American race car designers and constructors of the 1960s. He began racing somewhat illegally in the streets of Oregon in 1937 in a 1937 Buick Coupe while he was working at a local speed shop, but it wasn’t until he returned from military service after WWII in 1947 that he bought a race car to compete at speedway.

He was one of the innovators on the US racing scene, and is regarded as the first constructor to place an Offenhauser engine in the rear of an Indianapolis race car, and then placing a wing on the rear of the car to improve traction. Inspired by Jack Brabham’s rear-engine Cooper which raced at Indianapolis in 1961, Vollstedt, in true American style, placed an Offy in his new car instead of a Coventry Climax engine. The setup proved successful, it ran at 152.9mph in practice for the 1963 Indy 500.

He also employed the first woman, Janet Guthrie, to race in the Indianapolis 500. In 1981, he was the last owner to have an Offenhauser car drive a qualification lap at the event. He was also the last team owner to enter an Offenhauser powered car at the 500 in 1983.

The car offered here was built in 1967 by Vollstedt Enterprises and was sponsored by Bryant Heating and Cooling.

Rolla Vollstedt described the construction of the car in his book From Track Roadsters to Indy Cars: The Rolla Vollstedt Story:

We had sold the pair of 1966 monocoque cars to the Jim Robbins company; hence it was necessary to build two new cars for 1967. These 1967 cars profited from our experience in 1966—by making them one inch wider we made the engine much more accessible for installation, removal and maintenance. We also changed the front suspension from in-board-mounted coil over shock absorbers to exterior shocks that went from the front bulkhead out to the outer end of the lower A-arms. California Metal Shaping again shaped the outer skins of the monocoque off the same wooden bucks of the previous year with the exception of adding one inch so the tub would end up one inch wider overall.”

The Vollstedt was powered by a dual overhead cam engine supplied by Ford. Motor Trend reported that the engines were made available to race car constructors for $15,000 even though they cost Ford $50,000 each to produce. The engine produced about 500 horsepower depending upon what type of fuel was used.

After securing Jim Clark as the pilot, the Vollstedt raced in the 1967 "Rex Mays 300" race, a round of the USAC Championship, held in Los Angeles.

Securing Jim Clark was a coup for Rolla Vollstedt who pulled together a sponsorship package to get the driver he wanted. Jim Clark won two world drivers championships (in 1963 and 1965), appeared at Indy five times and won in 1965, and during his career had won more Grand Prix races than anyone else.

In the 300-mile event on the historic road course, Clark led the back in his Vollsted-Ford despite having earlier been dismissed as driving a car that was ‘insufficient’ to challenge the like of A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti and Dan Gurney. Alas, the lead was not to be held to the finish line as the Vollstedt was eventually knocked out due to a missed ship that over revved the engine and tagged a valve. After the race, Jim Clark described the Vollstedt as “A good motorcar, in fact a very good motorcar.”

Sadly, Jim Clark was killed soon after this race, at the Hockenheim Circuit in Germany, on April 6, 1968.

The car is believed to have competed in the 1968 Indianapolis driven by Knepper.

Larry Dickson then drove the car in the 1969 Indianapolis race and the records of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation Hall of Fame indicate it did not compete at Indianapolis again, although previous owners claim it was raced in 1970 there, driven by Cannon.

The car started in 31st position in 1969 after qualifying at 163.014mph. Following completion of 180 laps the Vollstedt finished 9th at an average speed of 136.967 mph.

Total prize money won was US$17,426.04.

Additionally, the Vollstedt had a brief appearance in the 1969 movie Winning starring Paul Newman and Joan Woodward and featuring real life racing luminaries such as Dan Gurney, Bobby Unser, and Tony Hulman.

The Vollstedt has been restored and last raced at the Australian Grand Prix support races in Adelaide, South Australia in 1987. It has been displayed at the York Motor Museum ever since.

Saleroom notices

  • While Jim Clark posted a DNF in the 1967 Rex Mays '300' at Riverside Raceway, his team-mate George Follmer, America's future Can Am Champion, finished 6th in this actual chassis. The engine is a 160 cubic inch Foyt-Ford 4-cam V8. As such, this should be correctly described as the ex-George Follmer car, not the ex-Jimmy Clark car.
Ex-Jim Clark,1967 Vollstedt-Ford Indianapolis Single-Seat Racer  Engine no. LM1.9.227/060
Ex-Jim Clark,1967 Vollstedt-Ford Indianapolis Single-Seat Racer  Engine no. LM1.9.227/060
Ex-Jim Clark,1967 Vollstedt-Ford Indianapolis Single-Seat Racer  Engine no. LM1.9.227/060
Ex-Jim Clark,1967 Vollstedt-Ford Indianapolis Single-Seat Racer  Engine no. LM1.9.227/060
Ex-Jim Clark,1967 Vollstedt-Ford Indianapolis Single-Seat Racer  Engine no. LM1.9.227/060
Ex-Jim Clark,1967 Vollstedt-Ford Indianapolis Single-Seat Racer  Engine no. LM1.9.227/060
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