1931 Brisko-Dreyer Sprint CarSOLD

RM Auctions - Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction - August 16-18

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Estimate: $25,000-$35,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $55,000

268 cu. in. dual overhead camshaft inline four-cylinder engine, live axle suspension with semi-elliptical leaf springs, rear-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 92 ”

Racing in the thirties was a full time job and successful practitioners of big time racing had to be far more than merely drivers. They had to find sponsorships, manage travel schedules, maintain, set up and tune their cars and – in many cases – built their cars. Some drivers were better at these diverse demands than others. Frank Lockhart was gifted at everything he did whether assembling his cars or driving them. Lockhart ’ s engineering skills were innate, intuitive and considered by many to be at level of a genius. Not surprisingly, Louis Meyer followed his Indy-winning driving career with another building engines at Meyer & Welch and then Meyer & Drake following Fred Offenhauser ’ s departure in 1946.

One of the best multi-dimensional talents from this era was Frank Brisko. Born in Chicago in 1900, Griffith Borgeson in “ The Last Great Miller ” characterized him as “ a gifted and creative mechanic, machinist and practical engineer. Much of what he drove was built with his own hands. ” He started out racing in IMCA before moving up to Triple A competition and making his first appearance in the Indianapolis 500 in 1929. Brisko ’ s racing history indicates he was more intrigued by the mechanical challenges than he was by the driving, although, with two top 10 finishes at Indy, he was a driver to be reckoned with.

In 1933 Brisko teamed up with Allis Chalmers to put on a show at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds in Milwaukee, driving an Allis Chalmers tractor equipped with then-new and revolutionary pneumatic tires for five miles at a “ record ” average speed of 35.4 miles. That, by any standard, demonstrated Brisko ’ s combination of talents as a promoter and a driver.

When things blew up at Harry Miller ’ s in 1933, Brisko, working for the FWD Company on repowering the Miller V- 8 powered four wheel drive Miller, acquired drawings and patterns from Dick Loynes and built what Brisko claimed was the first 255 cubic inch Miller. David Uihlein remembers the Marchese brothers doing the major machine work for this engine project. In the vacuum that followed Miller ’ s bankruptcy, Brisko built on his 255 experience to build his own engines and one or two were identified as such in the Indianapolis 500 entry lists from 1936-1941 and again in 1946. Based upon the Miller design, they differed principally in having split crankcases instead of Miller ’ s favored barrel style. In contrast with Frank Brisko ’ s combination of driving and mechanical talents, Floyd “ Pop ” Dreyer became more of a specialist.

A champion and record-setting motorcycle racer, Dreyer ’ s mechanical skills and sympathies were developed early, but by 1923 accidents forced his retirement from competition. Fortunately for American racing history, he would become even more successful and famous for his design, tuning and fabrication skills than for his fleeting career as a champion motorcyclist. Following the end of his motorcycle racing career Dreyer moved to Indianapolis where he worked with Herman Rigling at Duesenberg. He later moved to Stutz where he worked with Myron Stevens on Frank Lockhart ’ s Land Speed Record car. Learning from these and other legendary mechanics and fabricators, Dreyer discovered he had valuable skills as a fabricator and welder which were much in demand among the many Indiana race car shops and independent teams. He developed particular skill as an aluminum fabricator. In the winter of 1927 he built his first complete race car body out of steel for Jack Gallivan. It was of such quality that others gravitated to Dreyer ’ s shop – a shed outside his home – and kept him busy for the next several years. He soon progressed to building complete cars, becoming well known for his sprint cars and midgets.

David Uihlein ’ s Brisko is a 268 cubic inch engine in a Floyd Dreyer 92 ” wheelbase sprint car chassis that was built for half-mile and mile tracks. Frank used a Miller 151 Marine four-cylinder gear tower as a basis to build this engine to his own design. It has dual updraft Winfield carburetors which Brisko favored. Once, when Brisko visited the Uihlein museum, he immediately identified it as an engine built for Wild Bill Cummings in 1934. Interestingly, the clutch housing incorporates a cast receptable intended to mount a Bosch onboard starter, which indicates the engine ’ s potential use in a Speedway or Vanderbilt cup race car of the 1930s. Surely, within this engine ’ s interesting and long life lies quite a story.

While the Brisko was previously restored, it has not run in some time and remains largely as a display vehicle having been featured in Mr. Uihlein ’ s museum for some time. We would recommend a thorough inspection to determine the car ’ s overall needs to prepare for active track use once again. We are pleased to offer the product of the experience, skill, imagination and creativity of two genuine American racing talents, restored and preserved in America ’ s foremost collection of historic American racing machinery. The 1935 Brisko-Dreyer Sprint Car is an excellent representation that will someday once again display its strength on oval tracks where its gutsy 268 cubic inch Brisko four will provide plenty of urge.

Please note that this vehicle is a race car and therefore offered on a Bill of Sale

Reference Number 10080

as of 6/1/2007

Car 1931 Brisko-Dreyer Sprint Car
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