Archive of two photo albums documenting Dean Van Lines racing team at the Indianapolis 500, 1955-1956
Indianapolis: O'Dell and Shields Studios, 1955-1956. Two vintage photo albums documenting Dean Van Lines Indy car team before, during, and after the Indianapolis 500 in 1955 and 1956, with legendary driver Jimmy Bryan at the helm. Several photographs stamped on the verso by the O'Dell and Shields Studios of Indianapolis, longtime contract photographers for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Dean, a California moving company magnate and noted championship car owner, began his association with Bryan in 1954, when the driver would score his first significant win, the AAA National Championship. The pair would win an astonishing 17 national championship races over the course of the next four years.
The 1955 album contains 12 photographs, capturing the moments before the 500, with several views of the team performing last-minute modifications to the Kuzma-Offenhauser, better known as the Dean Van Lines #2 Special, custom-built by Eddie Kuzma for the 1955 race. Also included in the album are several action shots of the race itself, along with a single photograph of Bryan posing behind the wheel of Dean's #7 Champ car.
The second album, containing 20 photographs, documents the Dean Van Lines team at the 500 the following year, with Bryan again behind the wheel. A blown tire around lap 100 would spin the Special into the south infield, effectively ending the team's shot at winning the race, a moment evocatively captured in the album. Dean and Bryan would take the roadster pictured in both albums to the short-lived Race of Two Worlds in Italy in 1957, an event featuring Indy drivers racing against European Formula One drivers.
Bryan would go on to win the 500 in 1958 for George Salih, only a few years before Bryan's death at 34, in a crash on the Langhorne Speedway in 1960.
A fascinating collection of photographs, providing an unusually intimate look behind the scenes at two pivotal figures in US motorsport history.
Albums 11.25 x 8.5 inches, photographs 8 x 11 inches. Albums and contents generally Very Good plus.
See all items in: Americana, Auto Racing, Automobile, Photographs, Transportation