If you are planning to go to the practices at Indianapolis Motor Speedway or the 500-Mile Race itself or even the big Mecum Auction at the State Fairgrounds in Indy, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit to the Speedway’s Hall of Fame collection. There is nothing like this museum anywhere else.Karl Kaiser, a motorhead of the highest order, started by assembling a racing car museum for Anton Hulman, Jr., who purchased Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1945. Old cars were the hobby of both men and it was long before car collecting became an industry. Kaiser was able to pick and chose cars and motorcycles that truly reflected the history of automobiles and motorsports.
The museum itself began in the ’50s with a collection of “dinosaur” style racing cars from just after the start of the 20th Century. To these beginnings were added race cars and pace cars and more. There is a grouping of Gatsby Era classic passenger cars made in the Hoosier State. There is “Big Oly”—a BaJa desert racer built from an early open Bronco. You can see Ferraris that raced at LeMans and a Pontiac stock car that Richard Petty drove.
Naturally, the cars that competed in the Indy 500 are the Hall of Fame’s special attraction. These cars are HISTORY and there are dozens and dozens of race winners from the 1911 Marmon Wasp (first car to use a rearview mirror) to modern machines that look more like rockets than roundy-round racers. The cars are surrounded by well-lit shelves built into the walls that contain trophies. Toys and all sorts of memorabilia related to the “greatest spectacle on earth.”
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame is open 9 am-5 pm (ET) March-October with extended hours during racing season in May. If you’re in town for any reason, don’t miss it. For more information, phone: (317) 492-6784. [youtube id=”Te0wXNzmTFY” width=”633″ height=”356″]