|Paris resident and website vistor Redouane
Assari sent me the above photo and the description below.
The new mystery car is a 375 Ferrari
4.5 Litre Formula 1 modified. Certainly one of the four entered at the
1952 Indy 500: One entered by the Scuderia for Alberto Ascari (DNF).
The 3 other are American entries: Kennedy Tank (driver: Johnny Mauro),
Howard Keck Special (Bobby Ball and Bill Vukovich), Grant Piston
Special (Danny Oakes). These three did not qualify.
The top of the bonnet of the Ascari car
was cut for the race after the mounting "in extremis" of a battery of three
40 IF4C Weber carburetors in place of the normal 46 DCF3.
The mystery car could be this one (photo).
Why the name of the driver on the flank of the car is Johnnie Parsons,
who took the start of the race at the wheel of a Kurtis-Offy, is another
mystery for me.
Here are more responses, these from the
"Racing History" newsgroup:
The picture Mr. Assari sent you is the
Grant Piston Ring car, Chassis No. 2.
The man in the dark suit is Gerry Grant
of Grant Piston Ring. The other man with the fedora is Grant's partner,
John Bartlett. Because of the crowd, I would reckon that the pic was taken
during the first weekend of qualifying because Johnnie (note spelling)
Parsons is in the car. During the second weekend, Parsons bailed.
He drove the Jim Robbins Offy for Frankie
del Roy and finished 10th in the race. The Grant Piston Ring Ferrari
did not qualify.
Michael T. Lynch
I am new to this site so I hope this
works. The blue mystery car is the Johnny Mauro 4.5 liter, V12 Ferrari
built in 1952 for Indy. Ascari qualified a similar car after air scoop
and carb modifications and ran in the 500, dropping out early with a failed
rear wheel bearing and wheel.
Johnnie Parsons was unable to get another
one of the Ferraris (Grant Piston Ring Spl) to speed. I don't remember
if the Mauro car was a third car or it may have been the Grant car.
Mauro tried to qualify the Ferrari for
the 100 miler held at Denver later in 52 and rolled it into the infield.
He subsequently ran it at Pikes Peak for several years. Don't know
what ultimately happened to the car. Hope this helps. I saw
the Denver race which was won by Bill Vukovich in the Agajanian 98.
My guess was that this was Mauro in the
Ferrari, but I thought I would try the Ferrari GP experts over at Atlas
F1 to make sure. Shortly after the photo was posted, Michael Ferner came
back with the following information on the car pictured.
(The photo was taken) September 6, 1954,
Pikes Peak hill climb, Championship car class, round 8 of the AAA National
Championship, car #33, Johnny Mauro, Mauro-Ferrari, finished 17th of 18
starters, 16'12.0". He drove the car also there at September 1, 1952, finishing
10th out of 20 starters, 16'29.15". It was one of the four Tipo 375s brought
to the USofA in 1952, to compete at Indianapolis. One was entered by Scuderia
Ferrari, the three others sold, to Howard Keck, Gerry Grant (I believe
chassis #5) and Johnny Mauro. None of them qualified.
Bonjour from Paris!
An interesting information about our
Mystery Ferrari (by Mr. Phil Hill in the Ferrari North-America site)
"I was Kirk Douglas the first time I
drove a Ferrari Grand Prix car. We were filming the final scenes for the
movie, The Racers, and I was standing-in for Douglas by driving a 1951
4.5 liter Ferrari that had once run in the Indianapolis 500 as the Grant
Piston Ring Special. I recall thinking what a brute the car was, and how
you¹d have to race it on a huge circuit to ever appreciate that it
was the type of Ferrari that gave the company its first Grand Prix victory
against the all-conquering Alfa Romeo Alfettas".
375 Indy (More)
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Mauro's Ferrari 375 Indy