My Car Quest

February 22, 2024

The Epperly Race Car No. 99 And The Indy 500

I was recently going through some of my old articles and this one (originally published in July 2016) stood out because of the Comments. The readers who posted these comments know more about this Indy 500 race car than I do and some have family connections. The Comments are more interesting than the article.

Mike Gulett, Editor

by Mike Gulett –

The Epperly, No. 99, was built by Quin Epperly in California and was originally owned by Norman C. Demler of New York.


The first driver was George Amick who nearly won the Indy 500 in 1958 coming in a close second place. George Amick was awarded rookie of the year at Indy that year. Unfortunately he was killed at Daytona in 1959.

It has an Offenhauser 255 cid engine.

Offenhauser engine

In 1959 Paul Goldsmith came in fifth at Indy in No. 99 and again he drove this car in 1960 to third place. In 1961 the Epperly blew a piston and was a DNF coming in 22nd place.


In 1962 a series of accidents in time trials eliminated the car from the race.


In 1966 a General Electric turbine was added and No. 99 was one of the first turbine powered cars to race at Indy. Driven by Al Miller and Bill Cheesboug the car was very fast but was declared unsafe because of the brakes.


This car was restored in 1998 by Quinn Epperly, the original builder, and Phil Reilly & Company. These pictures were taken at the Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance in May 2011.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.


The Epperly Race Car No. 99 And The Indy 500
Article Name
The Epperly Race Car No. 99 And The Indy 500
This Offenhauser powered Epperly race car nearly won the Indy 500 in 1958.


  1. Jeffrey T. Sleeper says

    I was conducting a search of Norman C. Demler which led me to this website.
    In my late father’s collection of things that were passed down to me, I found a file of several professionally taken photos. Each has been stamped “official Indianapolis speedway photos”. They are photos of the “Epperly #99. Several professional photos taken at the track include in-cockpit portraits with Jim Hurtubise, Paul Goldsmith all with hand written notes/ dates 1960, 61 etc…1966 on the back of photos. Several photos of the engine and a few photos taken after a crash as #99 is getting hoisted out of the infield.
    I also found a hand written letter form Mr. Demler sent from Niagra Falls New York, to my dad in Burbank CA requesting parts for the car to be shipped air freight to Indy speedway Garage #9 . My father was Mfr. rep for a high pressure hose company which supplied to Lockheed , Boeing, but some of the high pressure hoses and fittings evidently went into this engine. This the hand written letter is dated May 22,1959. Several other correspondence and purchase orders too. My dad saved all this stuff…
    It was fun getting led to this sight.
    If anyone here may know of anything more I would certainly appreciate any information you might have.
    Thank you..

  2. Roger Camann says

    I am from Niagara Falls and worked for Demler at his Cider Mill on River Road. His crew chief at Indy was Doug who was his foreman at the Cider Mill. A fellow named Chris who drove truck for Demler at the mill was on the car crew at Indy. I was in California in 1962, did odd jobs for Demler in Hollywood as he was getting the car prepared for the 62 Indy race. His famous mechanic was in California and he shipped the car all the way to California just to have this mechanic work on it for him. Demler and I would chase parts in So Cal in his 58 Cadillac Eldorado. Hurtubise family owned gas
    stations in Tonawanda, N.Y. and I remember him getting burned in a track accident and having the doctors forming his hand so that it would fit a steering wheel so he could continue driving. I was 16 in 1958 and almost had the chance to go to the Indy race, but didn’t get there. Was able to go in 93 and see Fitipaldi win in front of 350,000 fans, it was thrilling but havn’t been back. The race has changed greatly since the early years, mostly foreign drivers now and big teams like Penski, Andretti etc.

    • The Person you mention as Chris Is My Uncle Chris Licht he was A tire Changer For The crew from Demler

      • Glenn Harris says

        I happened to find this old post while researching the “99 Demler Special” Indy car. My mother’s cousin, June Demler, was the wife of Norman Demler. While cleaning out June’s house after her passing, I found a pile of crew shirts one of which has “Chris” over the left front pocket and “Licht” on the back right shoulder and “Jack Adams Aircraft Sales SPL 99” across the back. Should you see this, you are welcome to have the shirt.

  3. Edward Matula says

    In 1958 I was a 17 year old kid just getting into hot rods racing and automotive design. Norm Demler owned a cider mill in my home town of North Tonawanda NY. Being an explorer scout, Norm invited our troop to his cider mill to let us see the car. I still remember the thrill that I had when he let me and several other scouts sit behind the wheel of this now historic car. I also have memories of watching Jim Hurtubise and his brother racing go carts around the gas pump islands at his families gas station.

  4. michael britton says

    My name is Mike Britton. My uncle is George Amick and I would love to come view his car. Can you tell me where it is?

  5. Mark Carr says

    My uncle was Syd Carr from Tacoma,Washington….he owned an Offy powered midget that ran on the West coast for many years. George Amick drove his car at one time and I remember my dad saying how smooth George drove and how he always took care of the equipment. I also remember how sad my dad and my uncle were when they heard that George was killed.

  6. Paul McGinley says

    Growing up in Indianapolis we looked forward to seeing the new cars every May. But the cars that came back year after year were our old friends. This was one of my favorites with a tremendous finishing record.

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