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From the Motor Sport Archive
The 50th Indianapolis 500-mile race will be remembered for two major upheavals, other than the lap one crash. Firstly, it is the end of an era, the era of the big hairy roadsters with brave middle-aged men driving them. Secondly, it is the start, regulations permitting, of the participation of scientific European road-racing teams, with their comparatively young, high-skilled drivers.
This year the front row of the grid consisted of three British chassis, a Brabham and two Lotuses, with Clark sandwiched between Andretti and Snider. The two American drivers had both been tyre testing at the track for some months and their cars were set as perfectly as could be possible, while Clark was complaining that his car was handling "like a pig," which probably accounts for his two spins during the race.
Of the 33 starters, only one was front-engined, and he was the 33rd qualifier. Twenty-four cars were using the 4-cam Ford V8 engines, while the other nine were on Offenhausers. The Offenhausers were again split into three : three engines were 4.2-litre, twin-cam 4-cylinders, three were 2.8-litre, Roots-supercharged, 4-cylinder engines, and three were 2.8-litre, exhaust-driven turbocharged 4-cylinder engines.