Jun 23 2011

In the Indy Formula One Garage: The Belond Salih/Offy that won the 1957 and 1958 Indy 500 Races

One day prior to the 2011 Indy 500 Race, the Black Beast and other race cars that participated in this year's pre-race ceremonies were stored in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Formula One Garage. Among these racers was the Belond Salih/Offy that won the 1957 race with Sam Hanks and the 1958 race with Jimmy Bryan:


The racer was described in a recent Indy Hall of Fame Museum brochure "The Ultimate Indianapolis Winning Car Collection":


Sam Hanks


Average speed- 135.601

One of the most popular "500" wins ever came in 1957 when 42-year-old Sam Hanks won with an experimental car entered by George Salih, a plant foreman for Meyer & Dale Engineering, manufacuturers of the Offenhuaser. Salih, who had never intented to be a car owner, sought to take the "roadster" concept a step further by laying the typical "upright" Offy virtually over on its side for an even lower center of gravity. With no financial support materializing (other than from sponsor Sandy Belond), Salih proceeded to build a car after work each night in the garage next to his home in Whittier, California. Hanks won at a record 135.601 mph and immediately announced his retirement. With prospective owners now standing in line, Salih announced the car was no longer for sale.


Jimmy Bryan


Average speed- 133.791

With Sam Hanks having announced his retirement in victory lane on race day 1957, car owner/builder George Salih turned to three-time National Champion Jimmy Bryan to take over the car for 1958, even taking the trouble to have three loops stitched into the upholstery in which Bryan could store his legendary cigars. The popular "Arizona Cowboy" started 7th with Salih's "laydown" Offy, and was leading at the end of the first lap, having managed to avoid a huge turn-three accident. He led seven times for 139 laps, including the last 75 in a row, winning at 133.791 mph.

Owner: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation

A YouTube film of the 1957 and 1958 Indy 500 Races. Warning: There is a horrific 17-car crash during the 1958 Race:

The Belond Salih/Offy was driven by 1983 Indy 500 winner Tom Sneva during the second parade lap of the 2011 Indy 500 pre-race ceremonies.

Links to related posts on VanderbiltCupRaces.com:

Archives: In the Indy Formula One Garage

Archives: Indy 500 Races



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