Steve’s IndyCar Finds – 1994 Indianapolis 500 – 20 years later
A spy story
1994 was the year that Team Penske surprised the racing world and came to Indianapolis with “Mercedesaurus Rex”, a Ilmor engineered, Mercedes badged pushrod engine that was built specifically to skirt the rules the USAC had set up to encourage production based engines to enter the Indianapolis 500. Author Jade Guruss, who worked for Ilmor engineering, spent over a year interviewing the principals before sitting down to write this Beast, a true story that reads like a spy novel. Click here –> to pre-order beast from Amazon now; it is currently on sale.
Get all the particulars
If you are interested in all the daily details and great pictures of the 1994 “Greatest Spectacle In Racing” the Hungness 1994 Indianapolis 500 Yearbook is the place to start. These yearbooks were published between 1973 and 1997 and are my Indy 500 bibles.
A winners watch?
I regularly comb ebay for unique IndyCar and Indianapolis 500 related items and this is the first time that I have ever seen a Team Penske Mercedes winners watch. It look like quite a high quality collectible, and at least at the moment, the price is certainly right. (It is a $0.99 when I posted this)
THIS is activation…
1994 was a year that IndyCar racing seemed to be everywhere you looked. This ad from Marlboro congratulating Al Unser, Jr for his Indianapolis 500 win is a perfect example.
But… 1994 wasn’t all about Penske and their Mercedes power plant. There were some other great stories as well.
1994 was also the year that John Andretti became the first driver to attempt the modern “double”. After finishing 10th in the Indianapolis 500 he took a helicopters and private jets to just make the start of the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. This Bryant Racing team press kit was something that was quite common until the advent of the internet made them obsolete. They make great collectibles and I still enjoy reading the 20 year old press releases.
Mario Andretti ran his last Indianapolis 500 in 1994 and the entire year was dubbed the “Arrivederci Mario” tour. Mario’s retirement brought forth many collectibles but this wine set featuring Andretti Wine, etched wine glasses and a pewter Mario helmet stopper is one of the more unique piece of memorabilia I’ve seen.
Looking to make a statement at the 20th Anniversary of Mario’s last 500. This vintage “Arrivederci Mario” t-shirt would be an immediate attention grabber.