Video: The bonkers Miller-Ford V8 IndyCar did 130mph in 1935

25th August 2020
Ben Miles

Imagine, if you will, a racing car in 1935. If you grew up in Europe you’re probably thinking of an Alfa Romeo, or an Auto Union or Mercedes. But if you lived in the US in the 1930s, you would be thinking of something like the Miller-Ford V8.

Powered by a side-valve V8 engine, this car raced at the Indy 500 in 1935 with exactly zero success. A brilliant design with a powerful 150PS engine, four of them qualified, at around 113mph, for the race. None would finish. And, after the race was over, Ford confiscated the lot and stored them in a back room of Ford’s highland park for two years.

Some time in 1937 they were bought by some friends of the company, and most had Offenhauser V8s installed instead of the Ford units. The cars would race again, one finishing sixth at Indy in 1938 before the same car came third in 1939. Post WW2 the cars raced again at Indianapolis in 1947, now fitted with a wide variety of V8s. One of them finished 12th.

So that must make this one of the most long-lived racing cars in Indianapolis history. It might not be successful, but when we held a celebration of 100 years of the Indy 500 at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard in 2011, the Miller car had to be there, now restored to having a Ford engine.

If you like this, and of course you do, then we’ve got some awesome racing and demos on your way at October’s one-off Goodwood SpeedWeek presented by Mastercard. But what is SpeedWeek? Well, you can find out here.

  • SpeedWeek

  • Video

  • FOS

  • FOS 2011

  • 2011

  • IndyCar

  • Indy 500

  • 1935 Indy 500

  • Indianapolis

  • Ford

  • Hillclimb Action


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