BURBANK, Calif. _ The 1948 Bob Estes Special Indianapolis 500 car will be up for bids at the Rick Cole Auctions Monterey sale Aug. 18-20. With a Mercury Flathead V8 and Ardun OHV cylinder heads, the racer has been freshly restored and is being sold by the family of its original sponsor, Bob Estes, the well-known Mercury dealer, businessman, and highly successful racing-team owner from Inglewood, Calif. The car’s history includes three Indianapolis 500 qualifying attempts and a back story including Hollywood icon Clark Gable.
The 1948 Bob Estes Special was Estes’ first championship car, appropriately motivated by a stock-block Mercury V-8 racing engine. Built and raced in partnership with Conrad “Connie” Weidel, this car was driven by California driver Manuel “Manny” Ayulo. Returning to Indianapolis in 1950, the Bob Estes Special was re-equipped with an all-out 268 cubic-inch Mercury V-8 engine topped with exotic Ardun overhead-valve “hemi” cylinder heads. In 1951, the Bob Estes team returned to Indianapolis with a two-car team, including his original Bob Estes Special, the car offered here, which was now powered by the very first 4-cam stock-block Ford/Mercury engine ever to run at Indy, engineered by Joe Davies. In addition to its three Indy qualifying attempts, the Bob Estes Special ran at Pikes Peak during 1950 and 1951.
Viewing of the auction cars is Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to midnight at the Manion Hotel in Downtown Monterey.
For information on viewing, bidding, or consigning a vehicle for the 2016 Rick Cole Monterey Auction, go to