In 1929, a new set of rules was created for cars racing in the Indianapolis 500. Speedway owner Eddie Rickenbacker had experience in building automobiles for the street. He wanted more of them in the race. Purely coincidentally, the economy crashed after the new rules, which favored production-based race cars, took effect.
More than anyone who never won the race during those years, Russell Snow-berger personified the Stock-Block Era at Indy. He is the only man to drive a Hupmobile in the race. Driving relief for his fellow Philadelphian Jimmy Gleason, Snowberger led the race with 100 miles left before falling out. He raced a Packard and Studebakers, coming home in the top 10 twice. Unlike most team owners during the Depression, Snowberger consistently made money.
Smart guy, and unquestionably, a significant figure in the development of prewar American race cars, and just plain cars. This whole era is covered minutely in the massive biography written by Snowberger's son, John, a ranking historian of Indy's stock years. This is probably the biggest single-volume book we've ever reviewed, with 792 pages, a hard cover, and nearly 600 photos, plus countless perfectly preserved clippings and articles. Until now, Depression-era oval race cars, and the guys who built them, have merited scant attention, a matter remedied with this lovely, limited-edition volume.
The Wankel Rotary Engine: A History
John B. Hege
McFarland & Company, Inc.
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