The Dean Van Lines Kuzma roadster
During a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame this past weekend, the author was fortunate enough to photograph the 1955 Dean Van Lines Kuzma roadster.
This car was built new for car owner Al Dean crew chief Clint Brawner and driver Jimmy Bryan for the 1955 Indianapolis 500-mile race. Bryan led the race twice for 31 laps before the fuel pump on the Offenhauser engine’s failed on lap 90.
During the 1956, ‘500,’ a tire blew around lap 100 and Jimmy spun into the south infield. Jimmy returned to the pits and he and crew returned to the car, put on a new tire and restarted the car to rejoin the race. Bryan and the Kuzam were still running at the finished 15 laps behind the winner pat Flaherty and finished 19th.
During the winter of 1956-7 Eddie Kuzma narrowed the chassis and built and new body for the car. Bryan qualified the ‘Dean Van Lines Special’ for 15th starting spot on the third day of time trials. During the 1957 ‘500.’ Bryan ran in the top 5 last half of the race and finished third but never challenged winner Sam Hanks. This is the livery and configuration the car has been restored to represent.
For the 1958 ‘500’ a young rookie from Houston Texas named Foyt drove the Dean van Lines Kuzma but finished 16th when he spun out in turn one on lap 148 after a radiator hose broke and dumped water under his tires.
During practice on May 23 1959, Earl Motter spun and backed the car into the south short chute wall and severely damaged the tail which ended its racing career.