Auburn Spring

Auburn Auction Park
11 - 12 May 2018
Lot 5059

1956 Sumar Special


$120,000 - $140,000 USD | Not Sold

United States | Auburn, Indiana



Identification No.
  • Well-documented example
  • Meticulously restored; fabrication work by Steve Moal and Jackie Howerton
  • Driven by the likes of Pat O’Conner, Bobby Grimm, and Len Sutton
  • 1957 Trenton, New Jersey, winner, Pat O’Conner
  • Once owned by Chapman Root, heir to the Coca-Cola bottle design fortune
  • AACA certified class 24-A
Addendum: Please note this vehicle is being sold on BOS only

Chapman S. Root, heir to the Coca-Cola bottle design fortune, and his friend Donald E. Smith founded Sumar Racing in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1952. The name Sumar comes from the wives of the two men, Susan Root and Mary Smith. Their well-known racing cars, the Sumar Specials, were a major force in IndyCar racing. Through 1960, the blue-and-white machines often paced the pack at sanctioned events such as Milwaukee, Langhorne, Phoenix, DuQuoin, Las Vegas, Sacramento, and even Monza, Italy.

This Sumar Special was completed in 1956. It was built on a chassis by legendary builder Edward Kuzma and is powered by a strong running example of the legendary 255-cu. in. Offenhauser engine. It is known to have been driven by Pat O’Connor in his 29 September 1957 win at the Trenton 100 in Trenton, New Jersey. This win would turn out to be O’Connor’s last before tragically losing his life the following year at the Indianapolis 500. Following O’Connor’s death, the car’s number was changed from O’Connor’s frequently used #12 to #48 and driven by several other high-profile drivers, including Len Sutton, Bobby Grim, and Gene Hartley, among others. The car finished its career carrying #92.

The car was recently restored to an impeccable standard with fabrication work by Steve Moal and Jackie Howerton. It bears the original Sumar Special livery of striking blue with white accents. Period-correct Halibrand wheels complete the classic look. With the other three Sumar Specials housed in the Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences, it is unlikely that another example will be offered for sale soon, making this an unrepeatable opportunity. It is offered with extensive documentation, period photographs, and is ready to take part in any number of historic racing events.