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 National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame

Fred Offenhauser

Inducted into the Hall of fame in 1999

 

You will find the name Fred Offenhauser listed in three national Halls of Fame for good reason. The man whose name appeared on auto racing’s most successful engines was much more than a great machinist, he was also a tremendous businessman.
     Hired by Harry Miller at the age of 15, Fred was placed in charge of the Miller engine department the following year. He was 28 when he became Miller’s shop superintendent.

     The Miller racing engines, which Fred helped develop, dominated the big car and Indianapolis 500 Mile races. When Miller went broke in 1933 Fred Offenhauser purchased the patterns and many of the machines from Miller’s shop.
     With backing of Earl Gilmore, Fred built the 1st 97 cu. in. Offy engine for midget racing and it won the first time out with Curly Mills driving. Offenhauser produced five of the engines in 1934 and the rest is history. Combined with the Frank Kurtis chassis the combination would dominate midget racing into the 70s.
     Fred Offenhauser sold the business in 1946 to 3-time Indy winner Louis Meyer and his partner, Dale Drake, who continued to produce both the big car powerplant and the midget engine with the Offenhauser name.
     Fred died in 1973. He and his wife Ethel had no children.

 

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