Compared to the Penskes, Ganassis and Patricks of American Single Seater racing, Lesovsky dips below the radar. Though its founder Lujie tasted success as a mechanic with Belanger Motors in 1951, Lesovsky fell short of winning the Indianapolis 500 a as full-factory effort, despite over ten years of collaborative efforts.
Their single greatest success came in 1959 when American Johnny Thomson snatched pole position from race favourites Rodger Ward and Jim Rathmman. The fairytale was not meant to be, but third place for Thomson and Lesovsky marked a truly giant-killing performance.
Three years later, Elmer George – father of former-Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony – commissioned Lesovsky to build a car for his second crack at the Indy 500. The 1962 race would prove to be his most successful.
This, the Sarkes Tarzian Special (in deference to the team’s sponsor), incorporated a design philosophy that swept the brickyard for more than three decades. Using the powerhouse four-cylinder 325bhp Offenhauser engine, both the driveline and engine were offset and mounted horizontally to optimise power delivery and weight distribution in the ‘Roadster’ on Indy’s high-banked ovals.