1972 Swede Savage Original Worn Patrick-Michner Race Suit #3
This is very rare chance to acquire a race suit once belonging to icon of North American racing.
This suit was worn in 1972 by Swede Savage during the USAC Indy Car season. It has been photo matched as one being used at various tracks during pre season and race qualifying. Driving for the jointly owned Patrick-Michner Racing Team, Savage drove Offenhauser powered Eagle cars for the first of the season. It was this car he put onto the third row of the grid at the Indy 500. For the second half of the season the team used a Brabham BT32.
The white Hinchman Products suit has Savage’s full name to the left chest there are three stripes (blue, yellow and red) to the right side of the torso. The left arm has a hinchman and the American flag patches. The Right arm has a bell racing product patch applied. The upper rear of the suit has a large Goodyear (tire supplier) lettering and winged boot logo.
This suit is being made available for the first time from the Savage family. Swede’s suits were packed away in storage after he passed away and have only recently been re-discovered. Swede was the last driver to die due to an accident on race day at the Indianapolis 500. Swede’s wife, Sheryl, was pregnant at the time and Angela Savage was born as Swede’s posthumous daughter four months after the crash. Angela has decided after all these years to let a few items go to a good homes. Each suit comes with a signed COA from Hall of Fame Collection and Angela Savage.
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Swede Savage only won a single race during his short professional career. Even so, due to his surfer boy good looks and hard charging driver style; he was revered by many including his competitors and was destined to be a star of the future. He has achieved cult status around hardcore fans American of racing. For those not familiar with Swede, a full bio of his career can be read below.
David Earl Savage, Jr. nicknamed “Swede” was raised in San Bernardino, California. He was interested in racing from an early age, trying his hand at quarter midgets and karting, before turning his attention to motorcycles. He won multiple motorcycle races and championships. In 1967, he finished 11 th in the Daytona 200 road race and was also invited to perform in the Evel Knievel Stunt Show at Ascot Park in Los Angeles.
In 1966, Savage was invited by his mentor and friend, Dan Gurney, to Riverside International Raceway, where, Gurney testing for Ford. Gurney introduced him to a Ford public relations executive, who felt that Savage would be a great addition to their stable. This brought an opportunity to become a development driver and to run a limited schedule in the NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) series in 1967. Savage made his stock car debut at North Carolina’s Hickory Speedway with the legendary Holman-Moody team. In three races, he had two top ten finishes and was running third and fourth in two other races before mechanical failures caused his retirement.
In 1968, Savage split his time between NASCAR and running both USRRC and Can-Am with Dan Gurney’s All American Racers, where he had promising results. The next few seasons saw Savage display his skills in a number of different racing arenas.
In 1969, only five years after his high school graduation, Savage had his first and only run at the Daytona 500, driving a Mercury Cyclone for the Wood brothers. That same season, he made his USAC Championship Car series debut, taking the Olsonite-Eagle to a top-five finish at the Brainerd International Raceway road course. Savage also entered one race in the SCCA Trans-Am series, grabbing second place at Lime Rock Park.
Dan Gurney, with backing from Plymouth, signed Savage to run the full 1970 season in Trans-Am. Reliability issues caused a number of DNF’s for the team, but Swede earned three pole position in the intensely competitive series, besting legendary drivers such as Mark Donohue, Parnelli Jones and George Follmer. When he did manage to make it to the checkers, it was always in the top-five. The high point came at Road America where Savage took the car to a hard-fought second place. The season also saw Savage’s finest racing moment when he won the USAC Championship Car season finale, the Bobby Ball 150, at Phoenix. With a big race win under his belt, Savage was beginning to make his name and endeared himself to many fans.
In 1971, with a ride in Formula 5000 at the Questor Grand Prix, Savage had a throttle jam itself wide-open, sending him hard into the wall. The resulting near-fatal head injuries would put him out of racing for five months.
Returning to the cockpit for 1972, Savage signed with Patrick-Michner Racing Teamfor a full season in the USAC Championship Car series. This would give the young driver the opportunity to compete in his first Indianapolis 500. The first season with Patrick was unfruitful, with Savage failing to finish in all but one race. His Indianapolis 500 debut was equally inauspicious. Undaunted, he returned to the main Patrick STP organization for 1973, teamed alongside Gordon Johncock. He collected a pair of top-fives in the double-header at Trenton as the team began preparations for Indianapolis.
The 1973 Indianapolis 500, turned out to be one of the darkest chapters of motor racing history that many would prefer to forget. From the outset, practice was plagued with rain and high winds, Art Pollard crashed hard in a practice session on Pole Day, sustaining fatal injuries. When qualifications began for the 500, Savage was the first to break the track record with a four lap average of 196.582 mph.
When qualifications had concluded, he ended up with the fourth starting spot. A Monday race day downpour delayed the start for more than four hours. At the drop of the green, a horrifying scene unfolded as eleven cars crashed, and Salt Walther’s machine climbed the catch fence. The fuel tank of Walther’s car split open, spraying burning fuel into the front stretch grandstands. While the injured spectators and drivers were being attended to, the rains began to fall again, delaying the race until the next morning. Again, the skies opened up and again, another day was lost. The rains continued on Wednesday morning, but the clouds finally broke and the cars roared off for the start shortly after 2:00 pm.
Bobby Unser took the early lead. When Unser had an unusually long pit stop, Savage found himself leading the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in his career. He darted into the pit lane on lap 57, he headed back onto the race. In the blink of an eye, everything changed. Some say that the rear wing broke, others speculate that there was oil on the track. Whatever the case may be, Savage’s car inexplicably veered off of turn 4 and slammed into the inside retaining wall nearly head on. The car exploded into pieces as a fireball erupted. Burned, battered and bruised, the good-natured Savage still managed to crack a few jokes with the rescue workers that transported him to the hospital. The rains hit the Speedway once again, ending the race after 332 miles. Savage’s teammate ,Gordon Johncock, was declared the winner. Despite multiple injuries, Savage was in good spirits and the prognosis seemed cautiously hopeful for a full recovery.
However, he succumbed thirty-three days after the accident to complications from severe damage to his lungs from the fumes he had inhaled. He was just 26 years old.