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Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

The 1965 Lotus-Ford: Resources at The Henry Ford

May 14, 2015 Archive Insight

The 1965 Lotus-Ford Type 38 established Formula One-style design at the Indianapolis 500.

Jim Clark changed the face of the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 when he won with a rear-engine car adapted from Formula One design. His lightweight Lotus-Ford race car broke dramatically from the heavy front-engine roadsters that dominated the race after World War II. Clark's victory capped a three-year effort by some of the biggest names in racing. Driver Dan Gurney realized the potential of F1 technology at Indy and set the project in motion. Designer Colin Chapman put his expertise and reputation behind the chassis. Ford Motor Company provided resources, support, and a superb racing engine. And Jimmy Clark endured two years of disappointment - losing through no fault of his own - before taking the checkered flag in 1965. So complete was their triumph that no front-engine car has won the Indianapolis 500 since.

The Henry Ford's Archive of American Innovation is proud to preserve significant artifacts, images, texts and interviews related to Clark's groundbreaking win. Below are links to key pieces in this collection.

Artifacts and Photographs:

  • Jim Clark and the 1965 Indianapolis 500 - an Expert Set of related artifacts and photographs at The Henry Ford
  • Dave Friedman Collection - more than 4,400 images, by noted racing photographer Dave Friedman, taken at the Indianapolis 500 in 1963, 1964 and 1965

    Articles and Books:

  • Goodwood Revival: On the Track - a blog post with photos and video of the Lotus-Ford at the 2013 Goodwood Revival, where it participated in a tribute to Jim Clark
  • Ford: The Dust and the Glory, a Racing History - Leo Levine's 1968 book on Ford Motor Company's motorsports efforts from 1901 to 1967, available in the Benson Ford Research Center


  • The 1965 Lotus-Ford - a short film on the Lotus-Ford and Jim Clark's 1965 victory at Indianapolis, made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the win
  • 1965 Indianapolis 500 and Jim Clark - fan-shot film of the 1965 Indianapolis 500 showing practice laps, qualifying, and the race itself
  • Interview with Dan Gurney - the racing legend discusses his collaboration with Colin Chapman and Jim Clark that led to the Lotus-Ford
  • Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010: Wood Brothers Interview - Delano and Leonard Wood share memories of crewing for the Lotus-Ford during the 1965 Indianapolis 500
  • Wood Brothers Favorite Vehicles - NASCAR team owners Eddie and Len Wood comment on the Lotus-Ford, which the Wood Brothers pit crew serviced at Indy in 1965
  • Sir Jackie Stewart Interview After Driving the Lotus-Ford 38/1 - the three-time Formula One world champion talks about Jim Clark and the Lotus-Ford
  • Dario Franchitti Drives Jim Clark Lotus-Ford 38/1 at Indianapolis - the three-time Indy 500 winner talks about Jim Clark's influence on his own career
  • Al Unser, Sr., Talks About Jimmy Clark's 1965 Lotus-Ford - the four-time Indy 500 winner comments on Clark's mold-breaking car
  • World's Greatest Indy Racing Car - staff members from The Henry Ford comment on the Lotus-Ford's importance
  • Special Edition Jim Clark Lotus-Ford 38/1 Recreated Firestone Indy Car Tires - Corky Coker, of Coker Tires, and Christian Overland, of The Henry Ford, unveil specially-made replicas of the Lotus-Ford's Firestone tires in 2011
  • Goodwood Festival of Speed: Lotus-Ford 38/1 - hear the roar of the car's 256-cubic inch Ford V-8 as it's fired up at Goodwood

    Matt Anderson is Curator of Transportation at The Henry Ford.

    Indy 500, race car drivers, race cars, by Matt Anderson, Henry Ford Museum, Driven to Win, racing

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