These days its all about Dallara chassis powered by Chevy or Honda, but over the course of a century there have been plenty of foreign automakers that have won the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. McLaren won it twice in the 1970s, Mercedes and Peugoet won during the race's pre-WWI infancy, and in between them Boyle Racing won it two years in a row with a Maserati chassis and engine.
The car was the Maserati 8CTF "Boyle Special," and its first win came 75 years ago. So to mark the occasion (as well as Maserati's 100th anniversary), the car was brought back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a revival lap. Unfortunately Wilbur Shaw, who won the Indy 500 three times (twice in the Maserati) and went on to be president of the speedway, died in a plane crash the day before his 52nd birthday in 1954. So in his place fellow three-time winner Johnny Rutherford took the wheel of the 8CTF in front of the gathered crowds.
The celebration also marked the 8CTF's entry as the first import automobile to be registered with the Library of Congress, meeting the criteria set down by the Secretary of the Interior to be immortalized as an historically significant automobile.
Marks the first European car entered into the U.S. Library of Congress
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, May 25th - Reminiscent of its renowned win at the very same track, the Maserati 8CTF "Boyle Special" 8CTF (serial number 3032) relived its final victory lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway exactly 75 years later. On the brink of Maserati's 100th anniversary, the 8CTF was honoured at the Indy 500 in commemoration of its declared win in 1939. Behind the wheel of the vintage automobile was Johnny Rutherford, three-time Indy 500 winner, muchlike the celebrated Wilbur Shaw that historically claimed his two-time victory for Maserati in 1939 and 1940 respectively.
The legendary Maserati 8CTF was immortalised by the Historical Vehicle Association (HVA) today as the first foreign manufactured automobile to be permanently archived into the United States Library of Congress, a new effort to authenticate historically significant automobiles. Recorded under the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Heritage Documentation, the documentation will remain part of the HVA National Historic Vehicle Register and Historic American Engineering Record (HAER).
"As we are celebrating our first 100 years, Maserati is proudly charting its course for the next century," states Harald Wester, Chief Executive Officer of Maserati S.p.A. "We are deeply appreciative of this act that demonstrates the long significant bond between Maserati and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, furthering the link between our brand and the United States."
The fateful 8CTF project was conceived by Ernesto Maserati at the beginning of 1938 with the strong support of the Italian industrialist Orsi family behind it. Characterised by its fixed head and 8-cylinder engine, the "Boyle Special" allowed for powerful, faster acceleration and remarkable reliability; traits which we still attribute to Maserati today. The 8CTF was Maserati's answer to the dominance of other European manufacturers on the race circuit of the 30's era. The fact that only a few years later, a triumphant Maserati captured back-to-back victories in 'The World's Most Famous Race,' remains at the heart of Maserati's legend today.
"Witnessing the vintage Maserati 8CTF run with such rich automotive context of the Indianapolis 500 during its milestone anniversary is remarkable," says Peter Grady, President and CEO of Maserati North America, Inc. At the century mark, Maserati is in the strongest position of its lifetime with two brand new sport-saloons, all-time high sales record and an exciting industrial plan.