Marmon Wasp - Not Race Configuration

This is an interesting shot of Ray Harroun's Marmon Wasp which won the first Indianapolis 500. Note that this is not in the configuration used in winning the race. The hubcaps covering the wood-spoke wheels are not in place and the fin required to make the number (32) more visible is not yet affixed to the tail. Also, note that there is no rearview mirror. The picture was taken at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway because you can see the brick surface under the wheels. Although this photo was published in the May 31, 1911 Indianapolis Star I have to wonder if it was a file photo taken the previous year.
Ray Harroun and his Marmon Wasp have become iconic figures in auto racing, especially at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The story of his triumph is legendary and part of the tale is his work to design the winning the car, the Marmon Wasp and how he is credited with introducing the first rearview mirror. For some great photos and information on the Marmon Wasp, check out
Harroun was no stranger to success in driving cars. He won a variety of races, including seven other contests at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, such as the Wheeler-Schebler Trophy, the biggest of the pre-Indy 500 contests at the Speedway. Harroun also won races at Atlanta Speedway, New Orleans and, of all places, Churchill Downs. In addition to auto racing, Harroun also worked in early aviation and even served as a flight instructor at one point in his career. Retiring at age 79, Harroun's working life was focused on mechanical engineering. Born in 1879, Harroun died in January 1968 just days after his 89th birthday.

Marmon Wasp.jpg85.67 KB