Winner of the first running of the Indy 500, Ray Harroun earned the victory behind the wheel of his Marmon “Wasp” with a time of 6 hours, 42 minutes, 8 seconds and an average speed of 74.6 mph. An engineer for Marmon, Harroun designed the vehicle—based on the marque’s 6-cylinder Model 32—with a cowled cockpit and a pointed tail section for aerodynamic enhancement. The stinger-like backside along with the yellow and black color selection gave rise to its nickname.
The most innovative element, however, was Harroun’s integration of a car’s first rearview mirror, a component that eliminated the need for a riding mechanic to act as spotter. Harroun and the car would return in 1961 to take a commemorative lap for the race’s 50th anniversary. And in 2011, the car would gain further glory as the subject of a stamp from the U.S. Postal Service.