Lot 55

2019   |   Scottsdale Auctions 2019

1963 Watson Indianapolis Roadster

SOLD $224,000


$80,000 - $120,000| Without Reserve





Car Highlights

Participant at the 1964 Indianapolis 500
Restored and Owned by a Marque Expert for 41 Years
2011 Engine Rebuild by an Offenhauser Expert
Presented at the 2007 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, 2009 and 2011
Goodwood Festival of Speed, and 2014 La Jolla Concours d’Elegance
Documented with 1964 USAC Technical Data Sheet, Dyno Sheet, Period Photos and Articles, and Correspondence

Technical Specs

168 CID DOHC Offenhauser Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
Hilborn Mechanical Fuel Injection
260 BHP at 6,300 RPM
2-Speed Manual Gearbox
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
Front and Rear Torsion-Bar Suspension with Tubular Shock Absorbers

Saleroom Addendum

Please note that this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale. Please also note that this vehicle's engine number is 238.

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From 1956 to 1964, California-based A.J. Watson’s roadsters won the Indianapolis 500 six times. While Watson’s original car was based on the Kurtis, by the early 1960s, he produced a narrower and lighter design, of which 23 examples were built.

Chassis 22 was sold new to Robert Wilke’s Leader Card Racers team. The car did not qualify in its debut at the 1963 Indianapolis 500 despite the efforts of driver Len Sutton, who 10 days later drove it to a sixth-place finish at the Milwaukee 100. For the 1964 season, the Watson was repainted as the Diet- Rite Cola Special, and in this livery the roadster qualified to start in 29th place at the Indianapolis 500 with Chuck Stevenson driving. A multi-car accident on the second lap forced the Watson from the race. The car continued competing at US circuits through the end of 1966.

After being modified by two subsequent owners, the Watson was acquired in 1970 by marque authority Bob McConnell and rebuilt to the Diet-Rite Special configuration. Purchased from Mr. McConnell by the consignor in March 2011, the roadster received a complete engine rebuild by Offy expert Stewart Van Dyne, and then participated in the Historic Indy/Champ Car Showcase at the California Speedway from 2011 to 2013. This rare and historic Indianapolis 500 Roadster is ideal for concours display or enjoyment at vintage racing events.