One of the absolute best automotive books published in the last 20 years is Gordon Eliot White’s history of Offenhauser. From the first page through to the 200th, each and every paragraph is filled with worthwhile, insightful information that shows not only the years of thorough research the author performed to gather all the right facts and history but that it was truly a labor of love to produce. And it shows clearly.
From engineering genius Harry Miller, and Fred Offenhauser, Lou Goossen as well as Louie Meyer and Dale Drake, all the players responsible for creating such an effective – and beautiful – racing engine are discussed in depth, giving you a solid foundation as to how the creation of the Offenhauser engine came about.
To intensify your interest there are many pages of rare photographs, engineering drawings and illustrations that showcase how the engines were designed, developed and built. Views inside the Miller, Offenhauser and other factories exhibit the construction of racing cars and the fabrication of their parts, most of which were engines.
One of the most interesting chapters is the one called “Offy, Meyer & Drake Sports Car Specials” which profiles the many different racing cars that relied on Offy power to compete competitively. And, of course, there’s plenty of information on the many single-seat roadsters that raced at Indianapolis with that big four-cylinder beauty under their hoods. And, yes, there’s lots of sprint car information, too, while charts, lists and numerous sidebars add greatly to book’s broad reaching appeal.
First published by Motorbooks International back in 1996 and no longer listed on their stock list, we found several copies for sale at Amazon.com. The hardcover version goes for $180 new and $36 used, while the softcover version can be had for $90 new or $50 used. Either way if you want to know more about this incredible engine, perhaps the most significant racing engine ever made, you owe it to yourself to read this insightful book. Trust me, once you start reading you’ll find yourself with a newfound appreciation for this great American powerplant, and especially for the people who created it.