Brawner-Ford 'Hawk' racing car

Brawner-Ford 'Hawk' racing car

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After earning his reputation as one of American open wheel racing’s best designers and mechanics during the front engine roadster era of Indy cars, Clint Brawner developed his first rear engine racer, the Brawner Hawk, in 1965. Several iterations of Brawner’s Hawks competed between 1965 and 1969. These speedsters not only were on the cutting edge of engine design and aerodynamics, but they also launched the career of racing legend Mario Andretti with five years of success behind the wheel of Hawks. Andretti drove a Hawk to a third place finish in the Indianapolis 500 with Rookie of the Year honors and continued to claim the 1965 USAC National Championship. The following year Andretti drove a Brawner Hawk to his second consecutive USAC National Championship. When Brawner’s Hawks were retired from competition at the end of the 1969 season, Andretti had driven a Hawk to his first Indianapolis 500 victory and a third USAC National Championship. At the 1969 Indianapolis 500, the STP Hawk No. 2 was designated as Andretti’s backup car, but when faulty hubs led him to crash his four-wheel-drive Lotus Super Wedge, his crew prepared the car that would be dubbed “The Cinderella Car” to race. Andretti took an early lead but soon fell back because the car was running hot. He drove on to lead 116 out of 200 laps, including the all-important last lap, and took the checkered flag. Andretti finished out the season driving the Hawk No. 2 and claimed the third of his four USAC National Championships. The STP Hawk No. 2 represents Mario Andretti’s only official Indy 500 win, STP CEO Andy Granatelli’s first Indy 500 win, and the mechanical tradition of innovation and excellence of the car’s creator, Clint Brawner. Most of the Indy cars had sleek, cigar-shaped bodies while the Brawner Hawk had a larger body with a flat bottom and the oil tank in front with the oil tubes running down the sides along the bottom, all of which created downforce. The STP Hawk No. 2 is one of the most iconic and significant cars in auto racing history. It represents cutting edge aerodynamics, innovative rear engine design, and the mechanical legacy of Clint Brawner.
Currently on loan
Object Name
automobile, racing
automobile, racing car
race car
date made
Ford Motor Company
Clint Brawner
Garrett Corp.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 37 in x 73 in x 160 in; 93.98 cm x 185.42 cm x 406.4 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of STP Corporation
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Work and Industry: Transportation, Road
Sports & Leisure
Road Transportation
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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After talking to someone at the museum in Indianapolis it is true the one on display there is a replica, the one at the Smithsonian is known to be the original. However because that museum is so massive they rotate exhibits so you’re not guaranteed to be able to see the car. As of now in the last few years it is in one of their storage facilities
"Hello, I'm just curious about the 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner car. I see here on this page that under location is says "currently not on view ". I was just wondering does this that you do have the car but it's currently not on display because I was reading something else and it says that the Indianapolis Speedway has a REPLCIA CAR. So is the original alive and well?!?"
The original 1969 Indy 500 winning Brawner Hawk was donated to the Smithsonian by Andy Granatelli. At some point it went on display at the Eastern Motor Racing Museum south of Harrisburg, PA. I love that car and headed out to see it at the museum more than 10 years ago. I called them to make sure it was still there before I took the trip. Two weeks later when I got there it was gone. The curator told me that the Smithsonian would regularly check on the car to see if there was any change in its condition. They noted a shift in its color and wanted to have the museum invest in better temperature and humidity controls, and improved lighting. The little museum could not afford it so the car was sent back to the Smithsonian. I contacted Mario Andretti through his PR person to see if he knew what was going to happen with the car. He was never even aware it was at the little museum! He had thought it was still at the Smithsonian in storage. Got a couple of nice autographed pics from him for cluing him in. The car at Indianapolis is a replica. So the last time the car was in public it was alive and well!

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