Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 15-17, 2019
1997 G-Force-Oldsmobile GF01
We’re starting here with Arie Luyendyk’s 1997 Indy 500-winning car. I have an unpopular opinion (influenced heavily by nostalgia) that the 1996-1998 Indy 500s were the greatest. I was up there for Fan Fest (or whatever it was called) as a kid and fell in love this era of open wheel cars. Between Arie and Buddy Lazier, I’m not sure who had a more profound impact on my love for the 500.
G-Force was founded in 1991 by Chip Ganassi and Ken Anderson, and they began building cars for the Indy Racing League in 1997. The car above was the very first GF01 constructed. And it was a beast. Powered by a 4.0-liter Oldsmobile Aurora V8, this GF01 took pole and the win at Indy in 1997 (other GF01s swept the podium). The competition history for this ex-Treadway Racing chassis includes:
- 1997 Indianapolis 500 – 1st (with Luyendyk)
- 1997 Texas 500 – 1st (with Luyendyk)
- 1998 Las Vegas 500 – 1st (with Luyendyk)
- 1999 Las Vegas 500 – 1st (with Sam Schmidt)
The car was restored by Treadway Racing in its ’97 500 racing livery and is just missing onboard telemetry and an ECU to make it functional. Indy 500-winning cars don’t change hands often, which makes this pretty special. Oh, by the way, the second-place car from ’97 is also offered at this sale. Click here for more info.
1995 Lola-Menard T95/00
In 1995, the Indy 500 was still part of the CART season. We’ve actually featured another Lola T95/00 with Indy history, but it was Cosworth-powered. This car is “Menard”-powered, which mostly means it features a turbocharged 3.6-liter Buick V6 built by-and-for Team Menard.
This Menard-entry in 1996 ended up winning the pole with Scott Brayton behind the wheel. Unfortunately, he was killed testing a back-up car in practice a few days after securing pole. Menard pulled Danny Ongais out of a nine-year retirement to run the car. He was 53-years-old on race day. This car’s competition history includes:
- 1996 Indianapolis 500 – 7th (with Danny Ongais)
Both of Brayton’s pole-winning cars (1995 and 1996) are being offered at this sale. I chose this one because of its amazing Glidden/Menards livery (and Campbell Hausfeld, a company local to me)… although the other Quaker State/Menards car is quite attractive (and a photo of a similar-liveried car hung on my bedroom wall as a kid). Click here for more info.
Here’s something a little older. Fred Gerhardt’s Fresno, California-built open-wheelers were all over the USAC circuit in the late 1960s. They were a competitive chassis that ran many races between about 1965 and 1971. Somehow, it is said that Gerhardt only built 11 examples. I think the “in 1967” part of that sentence was missing from the catalog.
This example is powered by a rear-mounted Ford 4.2-liter DOHC V8. It was purchased new by Walter Weir, who entered the car in the ’67 500 for F1 driver Lorenzo Bandini, who died at Monaco a few weeks before Indy. Thus, the competition history for this car includes:
- 1967 Indianapolis 500 – 28th, DNF (with Al Miller)
- 1968 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, (driver unknown)
- 1969 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, (driver unknown)
- 1971 Indianapolis 500 – DNQ, (with Bill Puterbaugh)