Monday, February 19, 2007

Stoned Race Cars

You may or may not remember when I said this a long time ago in the My Town Indy post.

"I love Indiana limestone. It is cool. My father and his father and his father and a bunch of former Zoomie fathers all were cutters down in southern Indiana."

Well, I figured I'd show you some pictures I took way back in June of 2003 down in Bedford, Lawrence County, Indiana. Lawrence County was, and probably still is, considered the limestone capital of the world. Many famous buildings all over the U.S. were built with Indiana limestone....too many to list here now.

These are life sized limestone carvings of famous Indy and dirt track racing machines from way back in the olden times. In case you didn't realize, these works of art are very cool. I just thought I'd tell you in case you were unaware. These carvings were sitting outside of the Auto and Race Car Museum which was located in the Stone City Mall, Bedford, Indiana.

This is the 1953 Indy 500 winning sled of Bill Vukovich.












This is one of Mel Kenyon's dirt track racers from back in the day.

I bet that cross behind the cockpit makes some people mad, but not me.

I figure religion is a personal and private thing, and if you wanna put a crucifix on your racer, that's OK by me.







This is a dramatic side view of a vintage flat bed tractor trailer unit with its precious cargo of limestone art.

Feel the drama!












This is a reasonable limestone facsimile of the car Rufus Parnelli Jones drove at Indy.

Only the coolest real racers know Parnelli's real name is Rufus.

I knew it only because somebody told me a few years ago. Otherwise, I'd be wallowing in my own ignorance right about now....



Here we see a rock hard version of the venerable Novi racing unit which used to scare lots of people at Indy because it was loud and obnoxious and difficult to drive.

The Novi was a powerful V-8 engine designed to dominate and horrify other Indy 500 competitors. I heard that the Novi was actually two 4 cylinder Offenhauser engines bolted or welded or glued together. Apparently, the Novi designers and builders made too many wrong mistakes at Indy, because the Novi seemed to always grenade or crash at very inconvenient times during the race, and it never won at Indy. Some say the Novi was cursed or haunted or snake bit. I don't know about all of that, though.

This Novi sculpture isn't near as frightening as the real ones, unless you tried to pick it up by yourself.

You'd better get a helper if you want to lift this rig properly! You might hurt your back otherwise!

This is a close-up view of the vintage stone hauling rig. You can almost smell the diesel fuel and the rust and the rotted and mildewed vinyl seats!

It is so old, my dad may have driven it!








I have been to this area of Indiana since I took these photos. All of the limestone racers you see above are now missing. I heard that the Auto and Race Car Museum, which owned these works of art, went out of business or fell on hard times, or something. Maybe they just lost interest in keeping cool and large and bulky limestone art hanging around, and they had better things to do. Maybe George W. Bush had something to do with it.

Who could honestly say for sure? Certainly not me. I guess I could Google it, or something.

Yes. Maybe I should do that sometime.



February 24, 2007

Update.....
kinda

I Googled like a mad dog for more info on these sculptures and the Auto and Race Car Museum. I couldn't find any more scoop. However, in the course of my employment, I made a trip to Bedford and inquired about the museum and the limestone cars. I was told that the museum owner had died and the museum closed. The folks I talked to had no idea of the whereabouts of the sculptures.

I noticed a gleaming new Lowe's Home Improvement store in place of the Stone City Mall and the museum.

That's progress.

Sorta.

3 comments:

  1. interesting post.....would love to know where those cars are.....i spent 2 years hauling northwest ohio limestone out of the quarry driving various Euclids....some as old as the 1920's....new detroit diesels or cummins in them of course. that job should have killed me - it's a dangerous business mining limestone. wasnt far from hornish's home town :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hav the # 98 car. My name is John Evans son of the museum owner my ph # 812-340-8877

    ReplyDelete
  3. walter zoomie call me 1-812-340-8877

    ReplyDelete

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