- Wilbur Shaw Aluminum Cars -


Another popular area of Indianapolis 500 Memorabilia collecting are the Wilbur Shaw aluminum toy race cars sold by souvenir stands at the Speedway. The cast aluminum cars are reproductions of Shaw's 1939 & 1940 winning Maserati which began production in 1947. The cars measure 8 1/2" long by 3 1/2" wide at the outside of the Firestone tires (yes, these actually had Firestone stamped on the tires just like the real tires).

They do have boxes which are a plain white box with no markings of any sort and were made of thin carboard. The Little Bill Toy Company of Chicago Illinois did use a box and it will be discussed later.

At least *9 different types of Wilbur Shaw car are known to exist.

Plain, which has no markings except Indianapolis Motor Speedway stamped along the frame rails. The seat and lettering are all painted red as are all Shaw cars except those noted.

Note the hole drilled into the bottom near the front where are spring could be attached and placed around the rear axel so the car could be self propelled.

Signature, which is the same as the plain car except Wilbur Shaw's signature is stamped on both sides of the the cowl.

The Little Bill Toy Company of Chicago also sold Wilbur Shaw Signature cars as seen on the box below. Several years ago, a white painted Shaw car, like the one seen below, with the Little Bill Toy Company box was sold at auction.

Signature cars were advertised for sale in the Indianapolis Motor Speedways photo catalog for 1947.


Clabber Girl, which is the same as the plain car except Clabber Girl Spl. is stamped above the frame rail. Tony Hulman owned the Calbber Girl Baking Poweder Company and used the Shaw cars to promote it. This version was more than *likely given to friends, employees, VIP's, etc. by the Hulman family.


Note the card from Tony Hulman which went with Clabber Girl Spl. versions of the Shaw car.
There is also a version which has a sticker in place of the stamped Clabber Girl. It is not certain if this version was produced at the time of other cars or at a later time period.


Clabber Girl Signature, which is a Signature car with Clabber Girl stamped as above. We do not have a picture of this version and are going on the memory of a 35 year collector of Shaw and toy cars who had this version at one time.

Painted, which are found with and with out the Shaw signature. The known colors are: red, yellow, white, *blue and *black. A marroun version has been seen, but it is not sure if is was an actual color produced at the time.


Note that for obvious reasons, the seat and lettering are in yellow on the red version.

Pace Car, which are Signature cars which feature the Nash Pace Car from 1947 or the Chevrolet Pace Car of 1948. The Nash slogan was "Nash Sets The Pace" which is seen engraved on the unpainted version at left with "Nash" in red on the nose and "sets the pace", also in red, along the left side of the hood. The painted version (dull gray and tan) has "Nash Sets The Pace" in red painted on the hood. There is also an unpainted version of this car as seen below. For 1948, Chevrolet used a red painted version with a blue lettered decal which states: "Chevrolet leads again!" ""The Pace Maker"" "500 Mile Race Indianapolis Motor Speedway May 31, 1948".


Plastic, which is a plastic version of the Plain version. It is not clear when these were produced nor in what quantitys.

90th Anniversary, which are an exact scale Stainless Steal reproduction made especially for the 90th Running of the Indianapolis 500 May 28, 2006 and are made by the Greenlight company. These are the same as the Plain original version except stamped on both sides above the frame rail is "90th Running Indianapolis 500" in black. On the bottom is the date "May 28, 2006" and unlike the original version, this one has a small sticker at the rear of the car which states "Made in China".

There are also green and blue color versions which were made in a limited number of 250 each. The seat is painted silver and the lettering is in black. These were not sold at the Speedway and had to be bought off the internet.

There is also a Clabber Girl version which has "Clabber Girl Spl." stamped in place of "90th Running". It is unclear if this version is like the original Clabber Girl Spl. version which was used for promotion. They are not listed on the Greenlight website as being for sale and the one shown above was found on ebay in March of 2007.

The boxes are much sturdier and have a lot of information on them. When purchased at the Speedway gift shop, they came wrapped in white tissue papper.



As to a value or rarity, the Pace Car versions would rank number one, with a *Signature Clabber Girl next followed by the Painted versions, Signature and Plain. Condition is also a factor. Those cars which were heavily played with or have been altered command less value than those in unaltered excellent condition. It is common to find cars with a name, year or both engraved into the car, usually on the hood or nose (see the yellow car above). This is a personal issue when it comes to value as some may feel this decreases the value while others feel it adds character to the car and it's authenticity. Painted (and Clabber Girl) cars are tougher to find so it is generally felt this doesn't detract too much from the value as much as it would on a Plain or Signature version. Value is increased if one has the plain white box and especially so if it is the Little Bill Toy Company box which demands a premium. Clabber Girl Spl. versions which have the card also demand a premium. For the Stainless Steal versions, the Clabber Girl Spl. followed by the color versions then the Plain version.



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