My Car Quest

May 24, 2024

The Most Stately Offenhauser Engine – The George Tilp Offy – Once Owned By Phil Hill

by Mike

In the 1950s what would you do if you had a lot of money and you wanted to own and drive race winning cars? First you would buy the best car you could find, then you would get the best drivers like Phil Hill, Dan Gurney and Richie Ginther to drive those cars. And one more thing – you would go to Meyer and Drake and have them make a special, extra fast Offenhauser engine. It was already the best racing engine in the US – but you would want it even better.

George Tilp did all of this and now this special engine (Offy S/N 165) once installed in an Aston Martin DB2 and a Ferrari Mondial is for sale.

This unique Offenhauser engine was later owned by Phil Hill.

Offenhauser Engine No. 165

Offenhauser Engine S/N 165 – photo by Mike Gulett

George Tilp

Phil Hill Receipt to Ron Kellogg

Phil Hill Receipt click to enlarge

George Tilp was a corporate executive, a race car driver and race team owner who helped advance the careers of several notable race car drivers. George Tilp wanted a special Offenhauser engine to be used in his Aston Martin DB2 and later it was installed in his Ferrari Mondial. In the early 1950s Tilp commissioned Meyer and Drake to build this unique engine.

Phil Hill was one of the drivers that George Tilp sponsored in his early career. This may explain why Phil Hill became the owner of this unique Offenhauser engine. In 1985 Phil Hill sold this engine to his friend, and current owner, Ron Kellogg.

Phil Hill wrote Luigi Chinetti’s obituary for “Road & Track” magazine where he wrote,

…he sold the cars to men who could afford to put promising drivers in Ferraris, men like Allen Guiberson and George Tilp, who sponsored beginners like Richie Ginther, Dan Gurney, and myself.

Offenhauser Engine No. 165

Offenhauser Engine No. 165

Offenhauser Engine No. 165

Offenhauser Engine S/N 165

From the book, “Offenhauser” by Gordon Eliot White,

The C6R-Offy effort made a lasting impression on George Tilp (the gentleman at the helm of a company in New Jersey producing Ronson cigarette lighters). He responded with one of the most unique Offy projects Leo Goossen ever had the pleasure of engineering. A sports car racer and owner for several years, Tilp purchased his 180 Sports Offy S/N 165 from Meyer & Drake in 1954. His idea was to construct and race the most technically sophisticated Offy ever run in professional road racing competition. Tilp’s Mondial Ferrari would be the Offy’s new home.

Offenhauser Engine In A Ferrari Mondial

Offenhauser Engine In Tilp’s Ferrari Mondial

Notice the one-of-a-kind crankcase front cover/ injector-pump drive housing; crankcase side-cover plate/injector pump mounting bracketry; bellhousing/clutch/starter adaptor housing; intake plenum and related plumbing; and purpose built exhaust header (for the Ferrari Mondial chassis). This is arguably the most stately Offy Leo Goossen ever designed.

Tilp’s Ferrari/Offy was a money-no-object foray into satisfying his curiosity. Through unique circumstances, Tilp observed the factory Mercedes 300 SL sports racing cars in competition and being tended to in their garage. From this exposure, he concluded that adapting the Bosch mechanical fuel injection system (the world’s most technically sophisticated at the time) from the 300 SL engine to an Offy, would render it superior to the competition.

Offy No. 165 in an Aston Martin DB2

Offy S/N 165 in an Aston Martin DB2

Offenhauser Engines

Offenhauser was an American engine design that dominated American open wheel racing for more than 50 years. The “Offy”, was developed by Fred Offenhauser and Harry A. Miller in the company owned by Miller until he went bankrupt in 1933. Offenhauser bought the business and with the help of Leo Goossen they developed the Miller engine into the Offenhauser engine. The twin-cam 4-cylinder Offys could produce 420 hp – a major component in the success of this seminal engine design. Offys were also known for their excellent reliability – important for a race engine.

Meyer and Drake took over the business in 1946. The Meyer and Drake Offenhauser engines dominated the Indy 500 and midget racing in the United States for decades. An Offy powered car won the Indy 500 twenty-seven times from 1934 through the end of the 1970s.

Mounted on a beautiful stand this unique Offenhauser engine will be special in any display of race car history and it would look great in the living room, museum or a special garage!

A beautiful sculpture with an amazing pedigree.

This is the only one and no more will be made.


Offenhauser Engine S/N 165

Some of the documents

Offenhauser Engine No. 165


My Car Quest provides no warranty about the content or accuracy of the content published here. My Car Quest shall not be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages resulting from use of the information published here. Descriptions and content of advertisements are the sole liability and responsibility of the individual seller.

For Sale - The Most Stately Offenhauser Engine - The George Tilp Offy -  Once Owned By Phil Hill
Article Name
For Sale - The Most Stately Offenhauser Engine - The George Tilp Offy - Once Owned By Phil Hill
Once owned by Phil Hill and made by Meyer and Drake for George Tilp, this Offenhauser engine is something special.


  1. I looked all over for a Price?

  2. Offers invited that elite!

  3. Thomas Ollinger says

    It’s worth it just for that “state of the art” intake. It doesn’t look at all efficient by today’s standards.

  4. Mark Williamson says

    These engines will have a special class at Amelia Island in a couple of months.

  5. Great looking motor.
    It doesn’t just have to work, but needs to look great too.
    Intriguing though, that in the two cars (Aston and Ferrari), the intakes and exhausts are swapped.
    I wonder if the valve sizes were so close that it was possible to simple swap the cams and fits alternate manifolds.

  6. Rod Dahlgren says

    The exhaust note of an Offy a speed is something very special. You cannot call yourself an aficionado of automobile antiquities if you have never heard an Offy on the track. Required reading is the book by Gordon White “Offenhauser”

  7. gene martin says

    If you have to ask the price….you cannot afford it.

  8. I’ve read a good deal about the Bugatti Veyron and the subsequent Chiron, and I have to say I’m no longer impressed with them, at all. Offenhauser had it all over current engines! The Offy was making 3 hp per cubic inch when Detroit was struggling to get 1 hp per cubic inch in the muscle-car era, and the Offy was the first hemi, that idea being stolen by Chrysler. Now we see Bugatti come out with the massively complex and ridiculously expensive W16 engine with the goal of 1001 hp with enough heat produced by it to nearly burn down it’s test facility and requiring 12 radiators in the car when Offy was doing that with an inline 270 cu 4 cylinder back in the day with nowhere near the excess heat produced and NO radiators! Credit where credit is due. Bugatti produced a 16.4 liter engine, 1000.789 cubic inches to produce 1001 hp and Offy did that with a 270 cu engine and 4 cylinders! Who really did the amazing engineering here? Bugatti did 1001 hp with sheer displacement, Offy did it with pure technological excellence. Put an Offy in that Veyron and save yourselves a hell of a lot of money without 12 radiators!

  9. No mention that it was a big failure on the track ?

  10. Jack McGhee says

    Just give me a cash price! Jack McGhee

Speak Your Mind