Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"Sprint & Indy Car Legend" Wally Meskowski Dies - January 3, 1980

January 3, 1980
Wally Meskowski
(Photo; laberezina.com)
Home: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
A colorful and formidable competitor, Meskowski is best remembered as a constructor, mechanic and car owner with the ability to extract the highest levels of performance from car and driver alike. Despite a reputation for volatility that was not entirely deserved, Meskowski consistently attracted the most competitive drivers, and was instrumental in their development, among them A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford, and Bill Vukovich, Jr. 

In late 1959, Meskowski was engaged to build a new dirt Champ car for the Bowes Seal Fast team of legendary chief mechanic George Bignotti and co-owner Bob Bowes II, for the 1960 USAC season. Completed in early 1960, the new car was a masterful blend of art and engineering, with a beautiful, streamlined body that was strongly reminiscent of the dual-purpose cars of the early 1950s, which competed on both dirt ovals and the venerable “Brickyard”, prior to the rise of the specialized Indy roadster.

Wally died on January 3, 1980 as the ultimate result of injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident while traveling with the Armstrong Moulds team. Returning home from Texas World Speedway, the motor home in which he was a passenger was struck broadside by a tractor-trailer. Wally survived for about 10 months then died in Indianapolis.

1960 Meskowski Race Car.

(Photo credit; Henry Ford Musuem)
 Between 1960 and 1963 the great A.J. Foyt won 13 of the 26 races he drove in this car. A proven, 255 cubic inch Offenhauser inline four-cylinder engine provided the power, and was the standard engine choice for USAC race cars for many years. Originally designed for powerboat applications, the “Offy” boasted advanced engineering features that included fuel injection, dual overhead camshafts, and deep-breathing cylinder heads with four valves per cylinder. Utilizing a “bulletproof” short-block, and nearly square bore and stroke dimensions, the Offenhauser was capable of delivering a staggering 1.77 horsepower per cubic inch, and in turbocharged form powered Indianapolis cars well into the 1980s. This venerable power plant was mated to a Meyer-Drake two-speed transmission, and a proven Halibrand Championship rear end assembly.

No comments:

Post a Comment