Restored and recreated funny cars and dragsters are some of our most favorite things to look at. Seeing things put back the way they were or scratch built in the style of the era of the car really makes for wonderful history and a very authentic feel. The historic Indy car crowd may be the most rabid of all on these fronts as there are more and more of those machines being restored or recreated on a yearly basis. Some cars like the Pat Clancey Special are given new life because they are awesome oddities that remind us of an era at Indy when anyone’s “better idea” was able to be tried out on a world stage. There was nothing spec about any of the cars and all of them represented the best efforts of their builders, owners, and mechanics.
The Offenhauser powered Pat Clancey Special competed at the Indy 500 twice in the late 1940s, garnering a best finish of 12th place. The car was also raced on dirt at places like Milwaukee (paved now but not back then) and other speedways of the day. The car’s owner and commissioner was Pat Clancey, a trucking company owner from the South who saw how well his twin screw rigs worked in the traction department and thought that adding a second axle (both are powered) would be the hot ticket to success and stardom. Frank Kurtis built the car and at the time it was coming together, legendary Indy Car guy AJ Watson was working at the shop as a kid. No doubt that Kurtis must have been more than amused when he got off the phone with Clancey and took the order for the double axle car. To a degree, it did work. A 12th place finish at an Indy 500 during that era is legit.
Sadly, somewhere between the end of its racing career in the early 1950s until present, the original car was completely destroyed and lost to history. Enter a far more mature AJ Watson. He recreated the car in nearly perfect detail down to the last nut and bolt. He added the correct carbs, swapped the Offy engine over to gasoline for driving use, and to this day it looks as good as it did rolling out of his shop. While this is not a winning car, we think it is one of the neatest Indy entries ever. The fact that a trucking company owner had not only the interest to compete but the interest to improve on the design of Kurtis’s popular cars speaks to the era where this car originated. It was show up, shut up, and race back then. We wish we could have been there!
SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS OF THE PAT CLANCEY SPECIAL AND THE RACINGJUNK LINK TO BUY IT –
RACINGJUNK LINK: THE RECREATION OF THE PAT CLANCEY SPECIAL SIX WHEEL INDY CAR