SI Vault
 
A ROAR OF TRIUMPH FOR U.S. ENGINES
Kenneth Rudeen
October 21, 1963
Watched by admiring native beauties, American power in a bewildering variety of frames stole the show from foreign makes at Riverside as Dave MacDonald (left) won in a Cooper-Cobra
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
October 21, 1963

A Roar Of Triumph For U.s. Engines

Watched by admiring native beauties, American power in a bewildering variety of frames stole the show from foreign makes at Riverside as Dave MacDonald (left) won in a Cooper-Cobra

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

Qualifying behind both was an unprecedented number of American-powered cars of actual or potential merit. By a supreme effort of concentration, California's celebrated Dan Gurney broke 1:34 with a new, untried Ford-engined Genie built by San Francisco Car Importer Kjell Ovale. Mexico's Pedro Rodriguez wrestled with another new Ford-Genie.

The U.S. track-racing champion, A.J. Foyt, flirted with 1:34 in an Oldsmobile-engined Scarab. Track Driver Lloyd Ruby herded a Lotus-Ford. The racing dentist, Dick Thompson, had the entertaining task of taming a rather spooky Maserati powered by Ford. California's Skip Hudson drove a Chevy (chassis by Troutman and Barnes of California), as did the Indianapolis master, Rodger Ward. His car was a Chicago Cooper-Special.

To be sure, these possessors of American power had an eye out for the brilliant young Pennsylvanian, Roger Penske, who plucked the first prize last year with a special of his own design, utilizing a Cooper Grand Prix chassis and a Coventry Climax English engine. Refitted to avoid the controversy that raged about it then as a rules-beater, the car was Sunday's only real threat to the American V-8s.

MacDonald made his big American engine velocity look lovely. It was so easy. Hall's Chevy, the early leader, and a flock of other racers took sick and expired, and MacDonald was never even mildly menaced once he was in front. At the end he had whipped Penske's second-place car by a little more than a complete lap, and he was more than two laps ahead of Rodriguez, the third finisher, and three ahead of John Surtees, the fourth man. The American showing was excellent, though some good car doctors are going to have to heal those breakable new models.

1 2