The Bohnalite Special

In 1934, Dearborn’s own Don ‘Sully’ Sullivan, laid out the Bohnalite Special. The Indy racer was built on ’32 rails along with the stock suspension components and featuring split front wishbones (much in same manor that thousands of hot rodders would do for decades and decades afterwards). It marked the second year for the presence of the Ford flathead V-8 at Indy. In 1933 the Warnock Special was entered and rumored to have the involvement of Sully as well.

The Bohn racer featured Bohn’s own Bohnalite aluminum racing cylinder heads and .030” over pistons giving an 8-1/2 to 1 compression ratio. The intake manifold was designed by Sully which had two Stromberg 97’s mounted sideways, lining up the fuel bowls with the centrifugal force on the turns.

The car qualified with a speed of 109.252 mph. Unfortunately on the 11th lap Chet Miller and the riding mechanic, Eddie Tynan left the track flying over the wall due to an encounter with an oil slick.

Some 66 years later, Jack Roush decided to recreate the Bohnalite Special for the Great Race, a yearly road rally race sponsored by the History Channel. The effort turned out a beautiful version of this great racer, stunningly faithful to the original in many ways.