Nestled in a nondescript building at an industrial section of Lincoln, Nebraska lies one of the world’s most impressive automotive collections. If not for the race car out front, you’d have no idea of what awaits you inside.
Before I dive into this story, I have a confession: I grew up in Lincoln. One of the customers of my father’s tool business was a company called Speedway Motors. It was a place to buy parts that would turn street cars into racers and hot rods. 70+ years later, Speedway Motors is a multi-million dollar company, and the man who started it all, “Speedy” Bill Smith, is the patriarch and visionary behind the Museum of American Speed.
The museum covers more than 150,000 square feet, arranged on three floors of the building. It’s an amazing maze of vintage race cars, motors, and accessories, some dating back more than 100 years. The displays are a crazy quilt of American racers. Outlaws, midgets, dirt trackers, Indy cars, and good old American muscle.
Many of the cars are displayed in recreations of their original garages. They give us impressive insight into what a race shop might have looked like decades ago, down to the individual hand tools and spare parts.
There’s some real history here. This car ran in the 1941 Indianapolis 500, with Joie Chitwood behind the wheel. The car bounced around so much on the bricks of the Speedway that it was almost impossible for Chitwood to keep his right foot on the gas pedal.
To keep himself planted in the seat and keep his foot on the floor, Chitwood took a seatbelt out of an old airplane and mounted it into this car. It was the first seatbelt ever seen at Indy.
By: Bob Cullinan
Title: Museum of American Speed
Sourced From: sportscardigest.com/museum-of-american-speed/
Published Date: Wed, 01 Jun 2022 12:39:34 +0000