One of the finest examples of the classic, uncomplicated oval-track Offenhauser-powered roadster' type chassis designed and built by A.J. Watson, owned by John Zink and sponsored by Leader Card Inc., was constructed during the winter of 1956-57. A front-row qualifier and early leader of the 1957 Indianapolis 500 in the hands of Troy Ruttman, this car's greatest success came during the second running of the 500-mile race conducted on the steeply banked concrete oval section of the circuit at Monza, Italy, in 1958.
The Race of Two Worlds brought American Indy Cars and European Formula I machines together in a match race. This race did not count toward either the USAC National Championship or the World Formula I title, but it was a highly anticipated event, never-the-less.
The American cars, including Jim Rathmann's Zink Leader Card Special, were all equipped with a 4.2-liter, 4-cylinder double-overhead cam Offenhauser engines and two-speed gearboxes. Firestone was the tire of choice, due to the fact that they were specifically designed to support the lateral forces of the ovals.
The format of the race was the same as the previous years: three 'heats', with one-hour breaks for maintenance and repair of the cars between each heat. The 1958 Monza, however belonged to Jim Rathmann and Jim Rathmann alone. He won all three heats, finishing with an astonishing average speed of 166.72 mph. Unfortunately, the Automobile Club of Milan lost money on the race, and the 'Race of Two Worlds' would never be run again.
This car is on loan from the Indianapolis Motors Speedway Museum.
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