2016 Miller Racing Special Re-Creation ‘The Craftsman’
- A unique tribute to Harry Miller
- Built by Lamb Engineering
- An amazingly detailed work of art
- 4.3-litre Ford V8 ‘flat head’ engine
- Completed circa 2018
- At least 4,000 hours of work
We are very proud to present this unique tribute to the Indianapolis racers built by the great Harry Miller in the 1920s/1930s. This is the work of Lamb Engineering in South Newton, Salisbury, a company well known in the motorcycle world for producing world class custom machines. For the last four years the Lamb team has been devoted to building its ‘Harry Miller Indy Tribute Car’, known as ‘The Craftsman’, to honour Miller and his associates Leo Goossen and Fred Offenhauser.
Harry Miller was born in 1875 and worked for the Yale Automobile Company and then as a race mechanic at Oldsmobile before setting up shop as a carburettor manufacturer in Los Angeles. Self-taught and described as ‘a genius rather than an engineer’, he was soon involved in racing again, relying on his draftsman Leo Goossen and shop foreman Fred Offenhauser to bring his advanced concepts to reality. Firstly came the Miller straight-eight engine, a state-of-the-art design featuring twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. It was installed in a Duesenberg chassis and brought Miller his first Indianapolis 500 victory in 1922 with Jimmy Murphy driving. Following Duesenberg’s lead, Miller adopted supercharging and progressed to building complete cars, some with front-wheel drive transmission. Between 1923 and 1928, Miller cars accounted for over 80% of the Indianapolis 500 entries. By 1939, cars powered by Miller engines had won at the ‘The Brickyard’ on 12 occasions, which included seven consecutive victories between 1927 and 1934.
Harry Miller had gone bankrupt in 1933 and his company was purchased by Fred Offenhauser. A partnership was then formed with automobile entrepreneur Preston Tucker, setting up Miller & Tucker Inc in 1935 to build racing cars. The firms first commission was from the Ford Motor Company, which wanted to showcase its new ‘flat head’ V8 engine on the racetrack. Five cars were built for the Indy 500 and all retired with steering box failure caused by the boxes being mounted too close to the exhaust, a fault that surely would have been cured if there had there been more time for development. These Ford-powered Millers had proved competitive in qualifying and later ran successfully in the hands of privateers.
Although inspired by Miller’s Ford V8 racers, this car is by no means meant to be a replica, as Lamb Engineering wanted to combine modern design with old-school thinking. For example: the rear dampers are friction plates from a Honda but fitted with small hydraulic cylinders to make adjustments, while the speedometer was designed by Mike Wilkins for Lamb using Nixie tubes, which were used in aircrafts in the 1950s and ’60s. All the bodywork is aluminium alloy (of 1.5mm thickness) and the front axle, brakes, hubs, etc have all been made in-house. Miller was well known for its front-wheel and four-wheel drive racing cars, and although this car is rear-wheel driven, Lamb designed a geared Watts linkage for the front axle as a nod towards Miller’s FWD designs. The steel chassis has a 108″ wheelbase and rolls on 18″ Bentley wheels, while the rear axle is from a Volvo. Powering this wonderful creation is a 4.3-litre Ford V8 ‘flat head’ engine built around an over-bored original 24-stud block and incorporating various performance components including a stroked crankshaft, high-lift camshaft, gas-flowed ports, etc. The gearbox is a five-speed manual.
Built with no expense spared rather than to a fixed budget, the Miller project consumed at least 4,000 hours and Lamb Engineering can be proud of their achievement in showing off old-world craftsmanship at its very best. Finished a couple of years ago and road registered, this unique vehicle never fails to pull an appreciative crowd wherever it goes.
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the above information but errors may occur. Please check with a salesperson.