The 1960s were a time of change for much of American society. Racing was not spared the winds of change. Innovations, often through simple trial and error, found their way onto race tracks around the country.
Such is the case of the 1964 Hurst Floor Shift Special, which has been called the strangest car to ever compete in the Indy 500. Resembling a torpedo with a sidecar, Smokey Yunick’s car was among the first to pay serious attention to aerodynamics. It was powered by the four-cylinder Offenhauser engine, which sat in the center of the fuselage. The driver hung out in his own pod on the left side of the car. After practice laps at more than 150 mph, driver Bobby Johns was taking some final qualification runs on what would have been his first Indy 500 when he spun out and hit the retaining wall, which deemed it too unsafe to drive. It never raced again. It ended up in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum and is on loan to LeMay: America’s Car Museum.