Eylard Theodore "Ted" Horn (1893 - 1948)

Send This Page To A Friend
Eylard Theodore
Ted Horn
Ted Horn
In his day, Eylard Theodore 'Ted' Horn was reckoned to be one of the America's greatest-ever racing drivers. But as you would expect, it was hard to find anyone outside of the USA to agree with the verdict or, indeed, who had actually heard of someone called Ted Horn.

At the age of 21, Ted began racing on the Californian dirt tracks, and within a couple of years was kicking up the cinders all over the United States. He visited Indianapolis as a spectator in 1934, returned as a competitor in 1935 at the wheel of a works-sponsored Ford V8 - and dropped out of that race.

Battling in the Indy 500 against Lou Meyer



In 1936, driving a Miller-powered car, he battled for first place in the Indy '500' with Lou Meyer; Meyer won, but Horn was well up with the leaders when the flag fell. The following year, Horn briefly took second position on the 130th lap of the Indianapolis event when Wilbur Shaw, who was leading, made a brief pit stop; but the race ended as a close-run thing between Shaw and Ralph Hepburn, who made record time and finished a fraction over two seconds behind.

The 1939 race saw Horn finish in fourth position, behind Wilbur Shaw's Maserati, Ted Snyder and Cliff Bergere; he was always among the first finishers at Indy, taking third place in 1941. His run of Miller-powered Indianapolis cars finished in 1941, when racing ended until the conclusion of hostilities during World War 2.

When he appeared on the starting line for the first 'post-war '500', in 1946, Ted Horn was at the wheel of Wilbur Shaw's old Maserati, which had won the race in 1939 and 1940. The car had been rebuilt after a major crash in 1941, in which Shaw had been seriously injured while leading the field at Indianapolis.

The Shaw Maserati started in the No. 7 position in the 1946 race, and Shaw, who had become President of the Indianapolis Speedway in the interim, remarked that he would have gladly traded his official position as starter and pace-car driver for Horn's place behind the wheel of his old car. However, Horn was soon forced to make a pit stop with magneto trouble and, despite rapid work by his mechanic, Cotton Henning, was held up for five laps.

America's Champion of 1946



However, once the car was mobile again, Horn moved steadily up through the field, finishing in third position behind George Robson and Jimmy Jackson. This placing was just one of the racing successes that contributed to the 750-point-plus score that assured Ted Horn of the title of America's champion racing driver for the 1946 motor-racing season. The following year, the Indianapolis 500 was i=opardised by a driver's boycott from members of the American Society of Professional Automobile Racing, but Horn did not belong to ASPAR, and his presence at the qualifying trials was a major factor in the resolution of the dispute.

Horn started in the premier position with the Maserati, and stood a very good chance of winning; this went out of the window when he turned the tricky oil-control valve on his car the wrong way and filled the crankcase with oil. The pit stop that was necessary to drain the sump of excess lubricant cost him the race, but he still finished third.

Once again, he gained enough points during 1947 to secure the American championship. He repeated the feat the following year, in which he also took fourth place at Indy but; towards the end of the season, Ted Horn entered a meeting at Duquoin, Illinois, and was driving with his customary speed and precision when a stub-axle sheared, the car crashed and he received fatal injuries. He was named to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1991, and was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1993.

Year
Car
Start
Qual
Rank
Finish
Laps
Led
Retired
Chassis
Engine
1934
53
DNQ
-
-
-
-
-
-
Duesenberg
Duesenberg
1935
43
26
113.213
27
16
145
0
Steering
Miller
Ford
1936
22
11
116.564
8
2
200
16
Running
Wetteroth
Miller
1937
3
32
118.608
17
3
200
0
Running
Wetteroth
Miller
1938
2
6
121.327
12
4
200
0
Running
Wetteroth
Miller
1939
4
4
127.723
6
4
200
4
Running
Miller
Miller
1940
3
4
125.545
4
4
199
0
Flagged
Miller
Miller
1941
4
28
124.297
8
3
200
0
Running
Adams
Sparks
1946
29
7
123.980
11
3
200
0
Running
Maserati
Maserati
1947
1
1
126.564
3
3
200
0
Running
Maserati
Maserati
1948
1
5
126.565
9
4
200
74
Running
Maserati
Maserati
Latest Classic Car Classifieds

You may also like...