|. . . The climax of pre-war Indy car design was the marvelous 8CTF Maserati GP car imported by Mike Boyle, which in the hands of Wilbur Shaw won Indianapolis in 1939 and 1940 and nearly took the win in 1941. It pains this Miller freak to admit it, but suspension-wise the Masers were a generation ahead of most American competition when they first appeared here. Yes, Miller and a couple of others were right with them in their thinking, maybe even ahead, but such dreams achieved little practical application until after the war.
Shaw's mount was one of three Maserati 8CTFs, and its two sisters came to Milwaukee. Rugged, pugnacious cars, as achingly beautiful and voluptuous as Macchi fighters or Sophia Loren. One was the pride of Joel Finn, and the other of Bob Rubin (who also happens to have one of the better Millers under restoration at home). Both circulated in fine style to demonstrate the historical point.
On the pit wall watching the show was a brawny 85-year-old named Emil Andres, who in his day won the Milwaukee 100--and many other races--and nursed Rubin's Maserati home to fourth place at Indianapolis in 1946. The car was then owned by Lucy O'Reilly Schell, mother of the redoubtable Harry Schell of Vanwall fame, and suffered on the occasion from a cracked intake manifold.
Emil was asked if he would like to drive the Maserati. The rough old man clamped his glasses on his nose, turned his cap backwards, looked to his right for oncoming traffic and, when it was clear, put the hammer down. A few hot laps later, he came in with a grin on his face and, to the delight of Bob Rubin and restorer Chris Leydon, exclaimed, "Hell, if the thing had run this good at Indy, I'd have won the goddam race!"