In 1960, race car driver Tony Bettenhausen drove the A.J. Watson Dowgard Special in his final Indianapolis 500. He qualified the roadster 18th with a speed of 145.21 miles per hour. On lap 125, his race ended after his Offenhauser engine expired.
Bettenhausen died in a crash during a testing session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway two weeks before the 1961 Indy 500. He won the Champ Car season titles in 1951 and 1958. In the 1940's he won many races in midget competition.
His sons Gary and Tony Jr. both competed in the Indy 500 for several years. The racing career of a third son, Merle, ended after he was severely injured in his first Champ Car race at Michigan International Speedway.
A.J. Watson was the car builder and mechanic. His cars won the 500 five times.
Dowgard was the brand name of an antifreeze sold by the Dow Chemical Company.
In 1959 and 60, the Firestone tires used in the Indy 500 were half-treaded and half-slick, with the slick side mounted on the inside (left) half of the tire. In 1961, Firestone produced a full-slick tire for the Indy 500.
It is not known if the car seen here is the original or a replica. It is seen here on display at the 2014 Gopher State Timing Association Car Show at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.