The Hall of Fame Museum, located five miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis on the grounds of the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is recognized as one of the most highly visible museums in the world devoted to automobiles and auto racing. In 1987, the Speedway grounds were honored with the designation of National Historic Landmark.
The late Tony Hulman and Karl Kizer, the Museum's first director, established a museum in 1956 to display race vehicles and memorabilia, principally associated with the Indianapolis 500 race. The first Museum building was located at the southwest corner of the Speedway's property where the Speedway's Administration Building now stands. It was large enough only to display a few vintage race cars. Before long, it was obvious something more substantial was needed.
During 1975, Hulman built the larger, more modern Museum facility within the Speedway oval, its opening coinciding with the United States Bicentennial celebration in 1976. Constructed of pre-cast cement and Wyoming quartz, the Museum’s display space measures approximately 30,000 square feet. The building also houses two gift shops owned by the Speedway, the track's retail photography store, and other offices.
The Auto Racing Hall of Fame was established to perpetuate the names and memories of prominent personalities for their outstanding contributions to the sport of racing and to the development of the entire automotive industry. Organized in 1952 by the American Automobile Association, the Hall of Fame admitted inductees in 1952, 1953, and 1954. Operations were suspended until Tony Hulman revived the Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1962. He moved it from Detroit to Indianapolis, where it joined the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s offices at the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road.
Early each year, a committee of racing historians, representatives of the media, veteran members of the racing fraternity, and officials of the United States Auto Club select the year’s inductees. In May, the Auto Racing Hall of Fame honors these outstanding contributors to auto racing – including drivers, chief mechanics, automotive engineers and designers, team owners, journalists, historians, and racetrack officials. The Museum is home to a display of the names of the Hall of Fame members and are working on a project to present detailed information on each inductee both in the Museum and on this website. Watch for details to come!
As noted below, the Museum’s collection encompasses race cars from many series: IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula One, Sprint, Midget, motorcycle races, and drag racing. It also includes a variety of passenger automobiles, many of which were manufactured in Indiana by companies that once had ties to racing. These include spectacular examples of Duesenberg, Marmon, and Stutz marques, as well as Ferrari, Mercedes, and a variety of other European passenger car makers. The collection encompasses motorcycles, dragsters, and vehicles that have set world land speed records at various points in history, including Craig Breedlove’s Spirit of America Sonic I.
About one quarter of the Museum's estimated 135,000 annual visitors tour the Museum during May, the month of the annual Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
On Display Through March 2015:
Turbine-powered cars that appeared at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during The Turbine Era
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built on many things. In the beginning, it was a vision, followed by millions of paving bricks. But, it was the sights and sounds of the Speedway on race day that became the building blocks upon which the history of the Indianapolis 500 was really built.
For the track’s first 50 years, many of these sounds came in the form of breathtaking mechanical symphonies that came blasting from reciprocating engines like the mighty Miller, the awesome Offy, and the roaring Novi.
But in the 1960s, a new kind of racing sound threatened to take over The Brickyard: silence.
Whisper-quiet compared to their piston-powered predecessors, turbine cars, with their whirly fan blades and continuous combustion engines, were futuristic, technical marvels that racing fans around the world came to either love or loathe. “The cars of tomorrow” said some; an “unfair advantage” cried others.
However, the tale of turbine-powered racers at The Brickyard would eventually become more than a story about a new technological innovation – it would evolve into a complex and fascinating human drama involving perseverance, controversy, tragedy, near-triumph, and ultimately, disappointment. And it would feature some of the most famous names in the modern history of auto racing: Parnelli Jones, Andy Granatelli, Jim Clark, Colin Chapman, Dan Gurney, Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Joe Leonard, AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Denny Hulme, and Bruce McLaren, to name a few.
At first restricted and then no longer eligible for competition, turbine-powered Indy cars only competed in two Indianapolis 500s over a 17-year period and never finished inside the top five. Yet, not one who ever saw them run will ever forget them.
Our thanks go to the following individuals and organizations for providing vehicles and engines displayed in this historic exhibit:
- Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History
- Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust – Allison Branch
- Don and Joasia Devine
- Mountanos Investments, LLC – Mark, Linda, and Mariah Mountanos
- The John Zink Foundation
- Bruce Linsmeyer, Avon Aero Supply, Inc.
- Clive Chapman, Classic Team Lotus
- Milton Verret
Approximately 75 vehicles are on display at all times, and among the featured attractions are:
Indianapolis 500 Historic Race Cars
Our collection includes race cars that won 38 Indianapolis 500 races, of which about 30 are on display at any time. Those include:
- The Marmon "Wasp," which won the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911 with Ray Harroun at the wheel, and was featured on a postage stamp in the U.S. Postal Service's Transportation Series.
- The Duesenberg #12 is the only car ever to win both the Indianapolis 500 (1922) and the French Grand Prix at Le Mans (1921).
- Dave Evans' #8 Cummins Diesel Special, the first car to complete the Indy 500 without a pit stop in 1931.
- Four two-time winning cars:
- Boyle Maserati (driven by Wilbur Shaw in 1939 and 1940)
- Blue Crown Spark Plug Special (driven by Mauri Rose in 1947 and 1948)
- Fuel Injection Special (driven by Bill Vukovich in 1953 and 1954)
- Belond Special (driven by Sam Hanks in 1957 and Jimmy Bryan in 1958)
- The four cars driven to victory by A.J. Foyt Jr., including his 1977 race car that represents his record-setting fourth Indy 500 win.
In addition, we are currently displaying:
- Stoddard-Dayton which is an example of the type of vehicle that served as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, 1913, and 1914, driven by Carl Fisher (a founder of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) on each occasion. Donated by J.B. Nethercutt.
- 1912 Fiat, which finished in second place at the 1912 Indianapolis 500.
- 1922 Bentley, 4-cyclinder, which finished 13th in the 1922 Indianapolis 500.
- Novi, with a V-8 Supercharged Engine, driven by Duke Nalon and finished third at the Indianapolis 500 in 1948.
- The Panoz/Honda with which 23-year-old fourth-place-finishing “rookie” Danica Patrick led 19 laps of the 2005 Indianapolis 500, the first female driver ever to have led any lap of the Indianapolis 500 under a green flag - full racing racing conditions.
Other American Race Series
- 1911 Cole 30, built by Cole Motor Car Company in Indianapolis, Indiana.
- 1966 Ford Mark II-B, with a V-8 Ford engine, donated by Ford Motor Co.
- 1992 STP/Pontiac Grand Prix, the NASCAR Winston Cup Stock Car driven by Richard Petty. This car was donated to the Museum by STP, a division of First Brands Corp.
European Race Cars
- 1897 3-wheel Bollée, built by Leon Bollée. A similar car made its first race appearance in the September 14, 1896, Paris to Marseille race.
- 1907 Italia Grand Prix Race Car.
- The 1965 Le Mans-winning Ferrari 250 LM, driven by American Masten Gregory and Austrian Jochen Rindt.
- The 1954/55 Mercedes-Benz Formula One streamlined race car, donated by Mercedes-Benz.
- It's now on loan until September 2015. Check it out at the Revs Institue in Naples Florida. www.revsinstitue.org
- 1928 Bugatti 35-B with an 8 cylinder engine. This vehicle was raced in European Grand Prix races from 1929 through 1945, earning a 2nd at Monaco in 1929, a 4th in Belgium in 1931, a 2nd in Belgium in 1937, a 4th in Belgium in 1938, and a 4th in Brussels in 1945. Built in France, it has a two-seat cockpit with right hand-drive.
- 1914 Marmon Roadster, Model 48 (3 passenger), built by Nordyke and Marmon Co., in Indianapolis, Indiana.
- 1920 Stutz H “Bulldog” Touring car, manufactured by Stutz Motor Car Co., Indianapolis, Indiana.
- 1922 Davis, 4-door touring car, Series 72, assembled by George W. Davis Motor Car Company in Richmond, Indiana.
- A rare 1925 McFarlan TV6 passenger roadster, built in Connersville, Indiana. The McFarlan Company did extensive testing of its vehicles at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the early decades of the 20th Century.
- 1927 Duesenberg, Model A, built in Indianapolis, Indiana, which was Augie Duesenberg’s personal car.
- 1909 Indian Racer similar to one ridden by Cannonball Baker on August 14, 1909, at a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was owned by Cannonball Baker at the time of his death.
- 1923 Harley Davidson Model JD23 with sidecar and legendary “74” engine. Donated by Leon O. Riggs.
World Land-Speed Record Holders
- 1970 Harley-Davidson Streamliner, a motorcycle that set a 2-way average land speed record at Bonneville Salt Flats of 265.482 mph on October 16, 1970.
- Craig Breedlove’s 1965 Spirit of America Sonic I, which set a record 2-way average for the flying mile of 600.601 mph, a record that stood for five years.
- 1968 Autolite Lead Wedge, a battery-powered vehicle that set the record for its class in the flying mile, posting a 2-way average of 138.862 mph on November 19, 1968.
The Museum has an extensive trophy collection, including the famed Borg-Warner Trophy, which honors the winner of each Indianapolis 500. The Museum also displays auto racing trophies, honors and awards from around the world, including Grand Prix races run between World War I and World War II.