Joe Boyer takes the checkered flag at the 1924 Indianapolis 500.


Joe Boyer, 1924 Indianapolis 500 champ, was born in Detroit on May 12, 1890. The son of the head of the Burroughs Adding Machine Company, Joe grew up as part of the local country club set to be a well-known sportsman and bon vivant.

Early on, Joe became interested in auto racing and is believed to have been a discreet fnancial supporter of both the Chevrolet and Duesenberg racing teams.

Although Joe got into race car driving a number of years earlier, the high point of his racing career came on May 31, 1924 at the Indianapolis 500.  Joe and Duesenberg racing teammate, L. L. Corum, were each behind the wheel of Duesenberg Specials.  Each car was equipped with a centrifugal supercharger fitted to a straight-eight with dual overhead cams.  The engine had been newly developed by Fred and Augie Duesenberg to meet Indy specifcations that had dropped maximum engine displacement to 122 cubic inches.

Joe blew by everyone in the opening lap but supercharger trouble had him gliding into the pits within a few more laps.  Teammate Corum, who was running fourth, pulled in for a pit stop after 110 laps.  Fred and Augie decided to change drivers.  As Boyer climbed into the cockpit, Fred told him, “Put that ship out front or burn it up!”

Once underway, Joe made up ground fast and, on lap 177, flew into the lead and stayed there until he got the checkered flag 24 laps later.  Joe Boyer was the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 with a supercharged car.

Tragically, after his great triumph at Indianapolis, Joe was killed just a few months later, on September 2, 1924, in a crash at the Altoona Speedway in Tyrone, Pennsylvania.

Poster, copy, and photos compliments of Daniel Hughes.

  1. I love Dean’s Garage and have been subscribing and enjoying for years. You have even published stories about my XP-987 GT 2-Rotor Prototype and my collection of GM Styling/Olsmobile monochrome prints from the Seventies.
    But a White on Black Website for Dean? Please not!
    We are mostly design aware folk who subscribe and the just thought of reading any white on black text gives me a headache. If i have missed a clickable button to reverse the graphic set up back to normal, please accept my profound apologies – but where is it? TOM

  2. Dan Hughes

    Thanks for the article. Joe and Corum were the first double winners on the Indy Trophy.

  3. Robert Cumberford


    Tom Falconer is dead right. This is wonderfully well-organized now, but reading this reminds me of the bad old days with computers, before color, before elegant typefaces. My first “serious” computer, after the Commodore CBM, had an amber-on-black screen. It was dreadful. So is this, unfortunately.

    That magic button Falconer asks for would be a blessing. But I have to say, the content is so good that I’d put up with it as long as my eyesight holds — if necessary.

  4. Patricia Boyer Doddato

    Thank you for the information on my relative, joe boyer.

  5. Joe Boyer

    I did the colonizing on my great Uncle’s one photo. It came out nice, and sure got around. His father Benjamin Boyer is my Great Grandfather. I’ve kept up the love of fast cars, inventions, and treasure hunting.

  6. Joe Boyer

    Joe Boyer was my Great Uncle. I was named after him. I cropped and colorized the one photo on here. I also colorized the larger photo it came from. I recently contacted a descendent of Joe Boyer’s sons nanny.
    He sent me family photos of Joe and his son’s. He had peddle cars made after his race car. My father had a cousin John Boyer in Altoona, PA. My Dad sent him a photo to look at and he never returned it. Henry Ford and Benjamin Boyer, Joe Boyer’s father had farms next to each other and were best friends. Edsel Ford and my Grandfather were best friends. I’m trying to track a copy of that photo. It has Henry Ford with a handle bar mustach standing next to my great grandfather Benjamin. In front of them is a side by side baby stroller. Edsel Ford and my Grandfather are in the stroller. The Boyer Haunted Shacks were machine shops. They made parts for model A’s and custom parts for model A’s. I wonder if Ford will give me an F-150?

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