A Tribute to the Indy 500’s Most Famous 26th-Place Finisher

Rear-engine 1938 Gulf Miller Tribute model up for auction

By The Editors
March 16, 2016 9:00 am

Finishing first, we’re told, isn’t everything.

Sometimes just competing counts — especially if you look good doing it.

Such was the case at the 1939 Indianapolis 500, when driver George Bailey made it around the track 47 times before his rear engine-powered Gulf Miller blew a valve. Despite finishing 26th, Bailey became the first driver to qualify for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing without the power under the hood.

Now, a 1938 Gulf Miller Tribute model that was created as a testament to Bailey’s beautiful failures is up for bid through the Motostalgia Amelia Island Auction. The event took place last weekend, but the handcrafted piece is still available and currently has a high bid of $50k with projected final bids as high as $95k. The aluminum replica model was built over the course of 4,000 hours and boasts a ZF transmission and Jaguar six-cylinder with a stack-style top exhaust feed.

The 1946 commemorative model has just 25 miles on the odometer and offers Indy fans a unique way to “preserve the racing story of a time when one man decided to put the engine at the wrong end of the car, an idea ahead of its time, but no less brilliant.”

Gentleman, start your rear engine.

Images from Motostalgia

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