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Testor Harrison Indy - which real car?


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#1 don.siegel

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 06:40 AM

DS1.jpg
 
You all know this car, right? A Harrison Indy, by Testor... but a friend here just asked which car this was based on, and I couldn't really tell him. Did a quick search, on the Net, and in my books, concentrating on the '65 and '66 Indy races (it was announced at the end of 1966), but couldn't find anything that corresponded. I seem to remember a Bryant Special, but couldn't find anything. 
 
Anybody have any ideas? I'm sure you guys are better at finding this than me! 
 
Thanks, 

Don




#2 Steve Deiters

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:34 AM

I've never seen this body before. I do remember the one RTR from Testor with the ducktail spoiler on the back.
 
The body shown is based on one of the original Jerry Eisert Indy car chassis that he built. The date is '64 or '65. If you Google his name that is lots of stuff on the internet about this most talented of fabricators who passed away in 2006. This car was driven in the era by a lot of yet to make it big young guns of the time like Al Unser, Johnny Rutherford, etc. I think at one point it was even modified and driven by Mario Andretti at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb when it was mostly dirt. Wild stuff.
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#3 Jens Scale Racing

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:41 AM

Don,

 

This car ran in 1966 at Indy, last place with ten other cars, all crashed in the first lap, #96 gold car, silver bottom on both sides.

 

Nice pic in the wonderful book of Rick Popely (Indianapolis 500 Chronicle), see page 187 pic and page 191 results.

 

Driver: Ronnie Duman, entrant: J. Frank Harrison, with a Eisert chassis and a Ford motor.

 

Regards,

 

Dieter


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#4 don.siegel

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 08:51 AM

Thanks, guys. 
 
Dieter, I did see the Harrison car listed in the '66 results, which was the only Harrison reference I could find, but looking for pictures with Duman as driver, it was only the ducktail type bodies that came up... 
 
I don't have that book unfortunately, but with these clues I should be able to find better pictures and answer Claude! 
 
Don
 
PS: Doesn't seem to be quite the same car, unless Testor took a lot of poetic license! 
 
Eisert 1965-1967 "Harrison Special"
 
Could it be the '64 model? 
 
1964 Eisert Indy Car

#5 TSR

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 09:48 AM

I already wrote something about these two cars in the past, but here it is again.

Both "Harrison" were in fact Eisert cars, built by Jerry Eisert in California. Both cars still exist and are seen here and there in vintage Indy cars events.
 
Jerry Eisert, the longtime owner of Eisert Racing Enterprises, died Feb. 23, 2006 at his San Marcos home. He was 74.

Eisert 1965-1967 "Harrison Special"
 
J. Frank Harrison was an early convert to the benefits of the little European "funny cars" and, with mechanic Jerry Eisert, had first shaken the USAC tree when Lloyd Ruby took pole at the April 1963 Trenton race in his 2.7-litre Lotus 18-Climax FPF. For the 1965 season, Harrison commissioned a brand new design from Eisert to be fitted with a stock-block Chevy V8.

Prior to the monocoque cars, Jerry Eisert built two open wheel spaceframe cars, the first of which did not appear on the USAC trail but did win a race at Riverside in 1964 driven by Rick Muther and won Pikes Peak in 1965, driven by Al Unser. The second spaceframe car was the first USAC car and is covered below.

1964 Eisert Indy 500 race car - Chassis #001
 
In 1964, J. Frank Harrison commissioned his chief mechanic Jerry Eisert to build a brand-new Indy car. Based on the very successful Formula One Lotus 18 and Lotus 24 designs, the 1964 Eisert was Jerry's very first car. It was called the "Harrison Special" and listed as the "Harrison-Chevy" in period Indy photos. It was raced in 1965 as #96 by Canadian Billy Foster. Skip Hudson failed his rookie test at the 1965 Indy 500 in the car. Al Unser then took over driving duties but was not fast enough to qualify the new car for Indy in 1965. Foster later finished 11th at the Phoenix 150 on March 28th, and 7th at the Trenton 100 on April 25 in this car. Johnny Rutherford also ran the car at the Milwaukee 100 on June 6, 1965, finishing 15th with the car reported to have been on fire! In 1966 the car made a second appearance at the Indy 500 as the #69 Arciero Brothers car with driver Ronnie Bucknum but failed to qualify. #001 returned to Indy with Otto Becker in 1968 as the #46 "Lotus Chevrolet Special"
 
An interesting footnote is that this was the first car to ever run at Indy with Koni shocks.
 
#001 was featured on the cover of the May 1965 issue of Sports Car Graphic magazine, with a six-page feature article inside that included a cutaway drawing.
 
eisertcar.jpg
 
Per author Dick Wallen, Al Unser also drove this car on the dirt track at the Hoosier Hundred.
 
Completely restored to 1966 Indy livery - "Arciero Brothers". Amazingly, it still retains its original 1964 Corvette small block race engine destroked to 302 cid with approximately 450 HP. Enderle Fuel Injection (set up for methanol or gas), Joe Hunt magneto, dry sump. Even the original Mickey Thompson valve covers fitted by Eisert with his hand-stamped valve lash and timing instructions are still there! The transmission is a Colotti Type 37 four-speed with reverse, the same type used by Jim Hall in the early Chaparral Can-Am Cars. Brakes: four wheel Girling aluminum BR racing calipers
with vented rotors.
 
This historic Indy car ran at in the vintage Indy car event during the 2009 Indy 500, and raced at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2009.
 
7565577324_871677024e.jpg

(above photo from Road America- "The Hawk With Brian Redman" 2012) Photo by M.G. Brown
testor_harrison.jpg

The 1965 car
 
The 1965 car was Eisert's first monocoque, to be driven by young Al Unser at Indy. While driving the Eisert, Al Unser became the first man to try a wing on an Indy car and also one of the first to try a rear-engined car on a dirt track (at the Hoosier 100). A '65 Eisert may also have raced at Pikes Peak.

A new car "sleeker" was built for 1966 and took over the #96 number for the 1966 Indy "500". It is reasonable to assume that the second car that appeared at Fuji in 1966, the #93 Jerry Grant car, was the 1965 car.
 
That one was the second Testor car with the ducktail.


Philippe de Lespinay


#6 Steve Deiters

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:02 AM

Don,
 
The second photo, which appears to be from Goodwood, is the '64 car. It never qualified for the field at the Speedway.
 
Below is a picture of the "ducktail" car as it appeared at IRP. The Indy version, which was taken out in the first lap crash of '66:
 
Eisert-'66-'67Car-IRP-800x.jpg
 
The photo below shows the car with a Chevy engine configuration and the spoiler that appeared at Indy. They switched from Chevy to Ford four-cam after the first weekend of qualifications in '66. Not enough ponies. I think this chassis first appeared in '65, but didn't make the field. It had a Chevy engine which they cooked in practice from "tilting the can" (nitro) too much.
 
Harrison special with ducktail spoiler-5.8.13.jpg

#7 TSR

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:49 AM

Jerry Eisert is the fellow in the center of the group. He later worked for Dan Gurney in the engine department, then retired.

 

The second Testor car is much rarer than the first, in fact I have personally only seen ONE example over the past 45 years with the original box:

 

t134.jpg

 

t134_4.jpg

 

The body was issued in clear form by Pactra in 1967, a sister company to Testor by then.


Philippe de Lespinay


#8 Steve Deiters

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:24 AM

PdL,
 
I always wondered why the Harrison cars were the subject of a RTR by Testors when in the scope of things they were not particularly outstanding real cars of the day, with all due respect to Jerry Eisert's legendary workmanship and the awards he received for it. 

Can you shed any light on it from that angle? Just curious.
 
Steve D.

#9 TSR

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:59 AM

Steve,

When one looks at the listing of cars modeled by slot car manufacturers in the day, some come by the bucketful. So many Lotus 30, Chaparral 2, Cheetah, McLaren-Elva, Corvette, Cobra models... and so few of OTHER models.

I think that Testor was simply looking for something different, or somehow someone in charge at Testor did just like I did at Heller: chose the models I liked and I needed no one else approval, even that of the company president! That's how things happened in the day, there were really no "committees" of generally mechanically ignorant to decide on what to make...

We are the better for the earlier, as the Eisert cars, while not brilliant, allow some variety in the mix of vintage slot cars.

Philippe de Lespinay


#10 ravajack

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 12:46 PM

Another "Harrison Special" here:

 

209psvq.jpg

 

From the book "Vintage American Road Racing Cars, 1950-1970" by Harold W. Pace & Mark R. Brinker.

 


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#11 TSR

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 01:40 PM

Lloyd Ruby is quoted as saying that this was the scariest car he had ever driven. The lack of down force made the nose AND the tail lift, making driving a very hazardous business. Ruby had Texan cojones, so that did not stop him from winning that relatively minor event, basically by occupying most of the track at all times...  :)


Philippe de Lespinay


#12 Tex

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 01:58 PM

 basically by occupying most of the track at all times...  :)

 

LOL   Kinda like modern day F-1.... "Oh, yes, I made one move to block. What? No, that next move was to get back on the racing line; it's not my fault he chose the same racing line I did".


Richard L. Hofer

Remember, two wrongs don't make a right... but three lefts do! Only you're a block over and a block behind.

#13 TSR

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 02:27 PM

Yes, with the only difference that Ruby was not choosing his racing lines, merely accepting them...  :D

Nowadays those overpaid monkeys can put their technowonders wherever they want to the inch.


Philippe de Lespinay


#14 Patrick Vaughn

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Posted 22 June 2015 - 03:02 PM

Here’s the Harrison ducktail 1966 Indy "500" Pactra body that a customer sent me to paint up like the Testors RTR. I would prefer to do more of a scale model approach … but he wants have the slot car of his youth. Can’t blame him really.

 

 

wCoOdq.jpg

 

fhgBKv.jpg 







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