I guess it’s just a week for old car movies, eh? I’ll confess, as much as I love The Devil on Wheels (1947), and The Big Wheel (1949), I had never heard of Danger on Wheels that preceded both these films in its pre-war release of 1940. This one is an automotive hodge-podge of stunt driving, dirt track competition, and paved speedway oval racing. Not the best car movie in the world, but still worth a watch (if not just to hear western movie sidekick Andy Devine’s comical voice).
Synopsis says: “During a test a race car using an experimental oil-fueled engine blows up, killing the driver. Lucky Taylor, a stunt driver, is initially blamed for the accident, but is later cleared. He thinks the engine design has a real chance to win races, but the racing association has banned it since the accident. He devises a scheme to have a car equipped with the engine entered into a race, without race officials–or the engine designer’s sassy daughter–finding out about it.”
In the film they keep mentioning this experimental ‘oil-burning’ engine, which must be another way of saying ‘diesel’? In reality, a Cummins diesel race car ran at Indy all the way back in 1931, but the oil burners were never very competitive until the aerodynamically-tested and turbo-charged 1952 entry from Cummins made a serious go of it. It was also the last year they were allowed to run the Indy 500. I wrote more on that car here.