The Union Boss and the Most Successful Race Car in History

"Umbrella Mike" Boyle was the scourge of Chicago in the first half of the twentieth century. The notoriously corrupt leader of one of Chicago's most powerful unions associated with mobsters and corrupt politicians, and could freeze the city in gridlock on a whim. But at the height of the depression, Umbrella Mike changed the face of auto racing, and created one of the most dominant teams in motor sports. The "Boyle Special" was one of the most successful cars ever to run.

This is original content based on research by The History Guy. Images in the Public Domain are carefully selected and provide illustration. As very few images of the actual event are available in the Public Domain, images of similar objects and events are used for illustration.

Special thanks to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum:
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, @IMSMuseum

Video Courtesy the Firestone Archives

You can purchase the bow tie worn in this episode at The Tie Bar:

All events are portrayed in historical context and for educational purposes. No images or content are primarily intended to shock and disgust. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Non censuram.

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The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered is the place to find short snippets of forgotten history from five to fifteen minutes long. If you like history too, this is the channel for you.

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Script by JCG

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  • Several viewers are questioning the claim of "most successful race car in history." Part of the point, actually, was to spark a discussion, as that sort of discussion makes history fun. Realize, though, that the Boyle Special was a single car- not a car model, but just one car. What single race car had a better record?

    The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered4 сарын өмнө
    • @Sue Trunnell you got your wish

      Michael CollinsMichael Collins6 өдрийн өмнө
    • Need to do a video on the history of Wonder Bread and it's Indy 500 connection

      Jess AllenJess Allen3 сарын өмнө
    • @caribman10 wow, what an original insult! Never heard that before. You think that up on your own or did your mommy help? I apologize if you don't like humor. Maybe you should remove that stick and stop being so serious. You apparently either crave attention or are just extremely uptight and petty

      Peter GoezinyaPeter Goezinya3 сарын өмнө
    • If it was Boyle's car, who would consider passing it?

      Colin KeppleColin Kepple3 сарын өмнө
    • @htmonaro1969 Not on a percentage basis. 100% win rate is impossible to top.

      Andrew RollasonAndrew Rollason3 сарын өмнө
  • Please do more on this series, I know all those names but didn’t know the mob connection

    James FranklinJames Franklin8 өдрийн өмнө
  • Thank you for such fantastic content!!!!! One of my favorite channels on MNthe!!!!! Your history stories are told so well its like I was there!!!!

    Chuck TChuck T2 сарын өмнө
  • Uh... U kinda look better with a burr.just saying

    Jerry DillonJerry Dillon3 сарын өмнө
  • Sounds like he was a hero of Johnny "Doc" the head of the current IBEW in Philly. Under investigation by the FBI.

    David WilbyDavid Wilby3 сарын өмнө
  • I had a feeling that you and Mr. Donald wpuld love to interact. Talk about two heads full of historical knowledge. Yipes.

    pbandj37pbandj373 сарын өмнө
  • An alliance between unions and the mob? Who says Left and Right can't work together? Corruption is the great bipartisan cause.

    jlillerjliller3 сарын өмнө
  • I wonder if Umbrella Mike was part of the inspiration for the Batman villain The Penguin?

    Osiris MalkovichOsiris Malkovich3 сарын өмнө
  • IBEW LOCAL #0068 .......

    paleolithictechpaleolithictech3 сарын өмнө
  • Boyle and Henning??? As in, "Hennings" Motor News????

    Dwight st. johnDwight st. john3 сарын өмнө
  • I would enjoy the continuing history of the car .... where it is today?

    orion bennettorion bennett3 сарын өмнө
  • Chicago politics has not changed, still ran by thugs.

    TheJHMAN1TheJHMAN13 сарын өмнө
  • Wilbur Shaw looks very like actor Robert Shaw. On another note, Chicago, like many port cities, is corrupt probably because it is a fabulous gold mine of transit due to its location. It started as a shipping hub with the I&M canal, then added railroads, trucking, trans-shipment and aviation, billions in goods passing through, providing tax revenue and opportunities to anyone with even a little hustle. It’s a port city on steroids. And yes, it’s still very corrupt. Recently, a Democratic party official was indicted for graft-related offenses. For years, he’s been the guy who picked judges in Cook County. Unsurprisingly, his wife became Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. Just an example.

    Bob24Bob243 сарын өмнө
  • I don't know if you done a podcast on meat packing in Chicago or even the riot there around the turn of last century, but it might be of interest to your subscribers. I wrote a paper on some aspects of labour relations in meat packing before WWII in the US, Argentina and Australia. I submitted it to the leading Labor History journal in Australia, Labour History, last year. When researching it, I found several fascinating events, although these were also hinted at in Upton Sinclair's book, The Jungle (1903). Just a suggestion.

    htmonaro1969htmonaro19693 сарын өмнө
    • Grandfather worked in New York and Chicago meat plants around the turn of the century. Homesteaded in Canada in 1905 onwards and spent most of his life in a rural setting. No wonder.

      Dwight st. johnDwight st. john3 сарын өмнө
  • 2:45 we also ask how so many of our politicians can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars while only making $175k/year

    Brandon LinkBrandon Link3 сарын өмнө
  • Very timely since we currently have a mafia boss in the oval office.

    Brian MooreBrian Moore4 сарын өмнө
  • Just out of curiosity was he and Tony Boyle related?former labor leader UMW.💰💰💰💰💰💰💰

    vern wallenvern wallen4 сарын өмнө
  • If you were a fan of early racing, in other areas not just Indianapolis. You may want to look at the history of Long Island Vanderbilt motor Parkway. It was originally built as a private race track for the Vanderbilts. The path of it still exist today as motor Parkway. We are commuters use it to go to work each day.

    Neil KurzmanNeil Kurzman4 сарын өмнө
  • I am surprised. That he did not just go to Europe. AND. Steel. 1. William.s

    Designs BillyDesigns Billy4 сарын өмнө
  • You lost some weight, looking good.

    ht40ht404 сарын өмнө
  • Hmmm...Chicago a city with a crooked past, and still even now. Wasn't Barack Hussein Obama (Soetoro) from Chicago?? Wasn't Michelle Obama from Chicago...Of course they both were. Crooked city, crooked people.

    George WhiteheadGeorge Whitehead4 сарын өмнө
  • Wow... That's pretty wild!

    Captain CobbCaptain Cobb4 сарын өмнө
  • Unions have always been nothing but Democrat protected criminals.

    Mr. PigMr. Pig4 сарын өмнө
  • "The Quad City Times reported" I was like oh crap that's my local newspaper. still printing

    cazperzcazperz4 сарын өмнө
  • Try doing the History of the Lotus 49

    Peter BrazierPeter Brazier4 сарын өмнө
  • Illinois politics is still a cesspool. Especially Gov. Pritzker and his Chicago cronies.

    John SmithJohn Smith4 сарын өмнө
  • I am the electrician doing the boyle racing shop renovation. It will be a brewery and a small museum displaying the car. THG always comes through with great content.

    Kenny Babbitt JrKenny Babbitt Jr4 сарын өмнө
  • Indy is an awesome place to visit. The sense of history is palpable everywhere around the facility.

    Robert DevonRobert Devon4 сарын өмнө
  • A friend of mine, who recently passed, did the restoration of the car hauler truck. Robbie Sheets, Sheets Body Shop, Parkersburg, IN. Photos on body shop FB page

    Darrel JorgensenDarrel Jorgensen4 сарын өмнө
  • Wow another IBEW criminal. President of philly IBEW local 98 is going to court in June after FBI raided his house & office. He got arrested last month for threatening a union contractor after his nephew demanded to get a 40 hour pay check while AWALL. A union rep bobby pretty boy henon gets paid $60,000 from local 98 while working what used to be a full tkme job as city representative for northeast philly. O yea FBI is taking henon to court.

    izzy garboizzy garbo4 сарын өмнө
  • The most successful pair of cars in Speedway history would have to be the front drive Blue Crown Spark Plug Specials. 1 & 2 in 1947 and 1948. 1 in 1949 with the second car out with a broken magneto strap. 2 in 1950. Impressive 4 year run for the two cars. Bill Holland was my dad's favorite driver when he was a kid.

    ProJoe BiochemProJoe Biochem4 сарын өмнө
  • The Bathurst 1000, as it is currently known, raced up and down Mount Panarama at Bathurst in New South Wales, has a special place in Australian Motor Sport history. It has, over the years, attracted many drivers and teams from around the world, including America. For almost 2 decades, one man, Peter Brock (Brockie), driving Holdens (mostly) dominated 'The Mountain', earning him the nickname 'King of the Mountain'. Perhaps these 2 legends of Australian Motor Sport might make an interesting subject for a future episode of The History Guy?

    John NeederJohn Needer4 сарын өмнө
  • Union pirates, boy I tell ya

    Mr.NaughtyPantsMr.NaughtyPants4 сарын өмнө
  • Which single race car had the Worst record in history? A story in perseverance.

    itsdonaldoitsdonaldo4 сарын өмнө
  • Excellent video young sir

    HighLiner15HighLiner154 сарын өмнө
  • The story of a real piece of shit

    delinquentdesigndelinquentdesign4 сарын өмнө
  • Another arch-capitalist (admirable) feigning care of worker's concerns solely for personal gain (bad, aka all communism ever). Love the story, despise the corruption.

    Bryan GuzikBryan Guzik4 сарын өмнө
  • I love your channel and your way of presenting any topic in an interesting light, you could probably make watching grass grow interesting. I have to have to say, I miss your old intro.

    Brother LynchBrother Lynch4 сарын өмнө
  • Great post, HG! I wish I could say "the good ole days." 1. Timothy 6:10 every time.

    Gary McAleerGary McAleer4 сарын өмнө
  • I lost my appetite for unions in the late 80s. The company I worked for had a union strike. I had to cross the picket line every day for weeks. The guys on strike were jerks to us, even though they were making good money at the time.

    Rick in TexasRick in Texas4 сарын өмнө
  • I like your new glasses.

    Bobby WintersBobby Winters4 сарын өмнө
  • He got a presidential pardon? seems like some things have never changed.

    Bad XergeBad Xerge4 сарын өмнө
  • Corrupt guys named "Mike" in Illinois politics - some things never change.

    Montana HoserMontana Hoser4 сарын өмнө
  • If Donald Davidson said it, I believe it. Nice of the H.G. to reference Davidson in this video.

    Richard MourdockRichard Mourdock4 сарын өмнө
  • Illinois hasn't changed a bit from Boyle's time.

    ifga16ifga164 сарын өмнө
  • I've always felt the two most infamous but prevalent Indiana pastimes were driving too fast and interstate crime. I've always been a student of history, and the more I learn about my home state, the more I feel like that sentiment is right. Boring place, gotta make life interesting somehow.

    CSelHCSelH4 сарын өмнө
  • Mr. History Guy, if you have interest in a story about a racing fan of the Indy 500 who became known as “Mr. First in Line”, check out Lawrence “Larry” Bisceglia. He was the first spectator in line to enter the Speedway for the month of May for some 30 years or more. I don’t want to give it all away but he became so popular he hobnobbed with all the greats of the 500 and in the 60’s Ford gave him a new van/motorhome conversion as a PR move! No other spectator had a sponsor! Oh, and do Brock Yates as well. He sadly passed from Alzheimer’s but his son Brock Jr. carries his legacy forward. PS: Props to a fellow St. Louisan, I’m a Chesterfield son living in Kansas since 2002.

    Bryan CohnBryan Cohn4 сарын өмнө
  • I love your channel. I do NOT love your new opening scene.

    J QualmannJ Qualmann4 сарын өмнө
  • Unions and Gangsters both tend to employ thugs.

    freesk8freesk84 сарын өмнө
  • What a life, he attempted all of it without harsh worry about the outcome. You don't see that type of attitude towards life anymore, even the people that stand out today seem water down compared to the people of the past

    Kevin GuthrieKevin Guthrie4 сарын өмнө
    • Risk management. A Presidential PARDON? and then just kept going. He obviously was deep in the "correct" lawyers and connected people who wanted him right where he was!! The first "teflon" guy before teflon was invented.

      Dwight st. johnDwight st. john3 сарын өмнө
  • Now we can't even trust the [Includes Paid Promotion] bubble . . . where's the "paid promotion"? I was on the edge of my seat.

    Blue BoatsBlue Boats4 сарын өмнө
    • The Tie Bar gives me bowties in exchange for credit in the video description.

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered4 сарын өмнө
  • I can organize a group of photographers around the nation (and possibly the world) to capture footage of some of your locations (ie., Lucky Luciano's casino in Malibu, which still exist on PCH today). That way you're not forced to rely on still pics and archival shots which are cool from a historical standpoint, when available, but on a long(er) story some "live" video footage could add some visual appeal and appear less static. Aerial/drone footage is also an option (think an orbit of the Indy track), etc. Cheers, and with or without the live video footage, your videos are great. Keep them coming.

    AG PhotographyAG Photography4 сарын өмнө
  • Please consider making an episode about those nazi racers you mentioned here. This is the first I’ve heard of them and I’d be very interested to hear more.

    B FrankB Frank4 сарын өмнө
  • Nice new opening graphics!

    Rusty SRusty S4 сарын өмнө
  • wilbur Shaw Shelby County Indiana native

    BowRider PicturesBowRider Pictures4 сарын өмнө
  • We prefer 'gangland-adjacent.'😄

    Robert McGovernRobert McGovern4 сарын өмнө
  • ...only served a 5 month sentence, on account of Woodrow Wilson setting him free... See ANY single issue with this? A progressive president setting a criminal free, just because he is a union boss? Do I have any "union boss" electrical products in my house? Should I be concerned? steve

    Steve SkousonSteve Skouson4 сарын өмнө
  • Union’s has done nothing to help the real Laborers. Just about the money 💰.

    Robert AbellRobert Abell4 сарын өмнө
  • Love these stories. :)

    Deconverted ManDeconverted Man4 сарын өмнө
  • ibew yesterday today and tomorrow

    Andrew FischerAndrew Fischer4 сарын өмнө
  • I want to say that the bobble head in the background:)

    Kaiser Wilhelm IIIKaiser Wilhelm III4 сарын өмнө
  • It's just astounds me how people think how powerful a person is is something to look forward to look up to. 99% of the time how powerful a person is is directly to how terrible of a person they are. History tells us this and nobody listens.

    Buck Fiden!Buck Fiden!4 сарын өмнө
  • "Most Successful Race Car in History" Mercedes -AMG F1 has entered the chat... Can-Am McLaren has entered the chat... McLaren MP4 has entered the chat... Porsche 917 has entered the chat... Audi R8 Le Mans has entered the chat... Lancia Delta Integrale WRC has entered the chat... AND multiple eras of Lotus and Ferrari are waiting to enter the chat...

    Scott L.Scott L.4 сарын өмнө
    • Yeah, I was expecting this to be more about Offenhauser...

      rockets4kidsrockets4kids4 сарын өмнө
  • Glad to see Doug DeMuro’s father is doing well. Keep up the vids!

    Boss Boom BoxBoss Boom Box4 сарын өмнө
  • ...The Governor of Illinois was indicted for.... has been the the most repeated statement in political history....

    Tim WatsonTim Watson4 сарын өмнө
  • Interesting story 🤓

    A GooglerA Googler4 сарын өмнө
  • I worked at a Jack in the box in the early 70’s while in high school,I had to join up or look somewhere else.

    Dale SorensenDale Sorensen4 сарын өмнө
    • ?? What state/province/canton was THAT??

      Dwight st. johnDwight st. john3 сарын өмнө
  • Great story. Thanks history guy

    Cliff MennengerCliff Mennenger4 сарын өмнө
  • Amazing that somebody can go through life causing so much trouble for people and get away with it! What a bastard!

    Mad MattMad Matt4 сарын өмнө
  • I was a member of the IBEW in the 1960s and they controlled all work in the trade. We had to sign in at the local and they decided if and where you were going to work. A $5 bill `accidentally` left in your membership card would `accidentally` slip into an open drawer on the desk. No $5 - no job and they didn't even buy an umbrella.

    RJ MunRJ Mun4 сарын өмнө
  • I've seen this car, at the 2019 Hoosier 100 at the Indy Fairgrounds. Beautiful machine. I didn't know there was such a colorful history behind its owner.

    Locker RacingLocker Racing4 сарын өмнө
  • I really wish you would pick an intro and stick to it. Most of them are so random. It's like you purchased a pack or something and just use a different one each video even though most of them don't fit your brand.

    TJ MarxTJ Marx4 сарын өмнө
    • @TJ Marx I agree, but it ain't my channel, and I do like most of the content.

      LizJLizJ4 сарын өмнө
    • @LizJ my mistake. I wish he would stop.

      TJ MarxTJ Marx4 сарын өмнө
    • @TJ Marx Sorry, I wasn't clear. Yes, he does a different intro every time and he uses Viddyoze to create them.

      LizJLizJ4 сарын өмнө
    • @LizJ Untrue, there's a different random intro sequence every video

      TJ MarxTJ Marx4 сарын өмнө
    • THG has and does, using a program called Viddyoze.

      LizJLizJ4 сарын өмнө
  • Romero, Romero. Wherefore art thou Romero?

    Denys ArcuriDenys Arcuri4 сарын өмнө
  • 14:19 'Racing Capital Of The World' Believe that, if you will.

    GerryGerry4 сарын өмнө
  • May I say his, back in the day if you wanted a job in anything you had to know somebody in the family even if got a job as a busboy you had to know someone

    Cornbreadfed KirkpatrickCornbreadfed Kirkpatrick4 сарын өмнө
  • Boy I've been in the museum a million times ,the basement is the kool spot couldn't belive all the cars

    john needyjohn needy4 сарын өмнө
  • Illinois politics "was" controlled by thuggish and corrupt govt. Yes was lol.

    Chief SlinginBeefChief SlinginBeef4 сарын өмнө
  • "Killing of the leader of the Ice Cream Truck Union" is a sentence I would have never thought I'd hear.

    K1ddkanuckK1ddkanuck4 сарын өмнө
  • Chicago and my hometown share a unique history, since it sits approx. halfway between Chitown and Indianapolis and was often a waypoint between the two for certain folks (mobsters). I've been to the track several times, and marvel at the history. Thank you for highlighting a place that was a critical part of my upbringing.

    dhession64dhession644 сарын өмнө
  • I've followed the history of the Indy 500 for decades, and I did not know the story about Boyle. Thanks.

    blastforthblastforth4 сарын өмнө
  • Would you ever be interested in doing an episode on the Mille Miglia ?

    darragh mckennadarragh mckenna4 сарын өмнө
  • WILSON!!!

    KatieandKevin SearsKatieandKevin Sears4 сарын өмнө
  • Illinois is still run by crooks. Voter fraud happened🇻🇳🖕 space ghost👻🇺🇸🙏

    Casey HannaCasey Hanna4 сарын өмнө
  • I recognize some of these names from the Indianapolis 500 video, that's quite great.

    TheHylianBatmanTheHylianBatman4 сарын өмнө
  • The guy sounds like a thug.

    Boyd The GoofballBoyd The Goofball4 сарын өмнө
  • Not much has changed in Illinois they're all still crooks.

    lee graveslee graves4 сарын өмнө
  • Very well done! I take in as many of these bits of history as I can when I can. This is a interesting story about a race car. Have you done a story about"Broadway Freddy"? He was a NHRA funnycar owner/driver starting in the late 60s. He also was a member of the Gambino crime family. Interesting story! Please keep up the great work!!!

    Ken W.Ken W.4 сарын өмнө
  • Remind anyone of our last election?

    Full Wave ReckedFull Wave Recked4 сарын өмнө
  • It's highly strange to find a corrupt union boss ;) Depending on the definition of most successful I would have to say the the Niki Lauda Brabham BT46B is by far the most successful race car of all time. Surely it is the ONLY car that has won at every race it ever competed at.

    Alan HAlan H4 сарын өмнө
  • Mr. History Guy. I used to like you better. However, I am starting to dislike your posts. Especially, when you simply smirk at unlawful activity. "Unions and the mob were intricately linked" is a good example. Maybe a post of how the Nazis made Germany better or how the starvation of Ukrainians made Russia better or how the despots in Latin America made their economies better might be a post coming soon to your network. Glorifying thuggery never advanced civilization. You can do better. p.s. I never got to car part. I had to turn you off.

    michaelinminnmichaelinminn4 сарын өмнө
    • History is replete with bad actors, but pointing out their existence is not the same as glorifying such.

      SkydiverClassCSkydiverClassC4 сарын өмнө
    • Nothing is “glorified” here. Rather the opposite, we were unvarnished in our presentation of Mr Boyle’s behavior. His connection to racing is as real as his corruption. He has a mixed legacy. That is neither “smirk,” not “glorification,” it is history. History is usually mixed. If that makes you uncomfortable, I am not going to apologize for history. Ignoring history for fear of “glorifying thuggery,” that is, pandering to those who clutch pearls, will never advance civilization. Nazis were bad. That fact does not and should not mean that we ignore the vast swath of history of those with a mixed legacy.

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered4 сарын өмнө
  • "Umbrella Mike" sounds like a great movie. Someone get Taratino on it!

    d vandenbergd vandenberg4 сарын өмнө
  • Union officials corrupt then. Union officials corrupt now.

    Colorado Mountain ManColorado Mountain Man4 сарын өмнө
  • Has anything changed?

    David BlankDavid Blank4 сарын өмнө
  • Hello History Guy. What can you tell us about typefaces and which one you use on your titles? It looks very 1920s Art Deco.

    Time TravellerTime Traveller4 сарын өмнө
  • Awesome

    G CG C4 сарын өмнө
  • What? Corrupt Union Bosses involved with Socialist forces? (Yeah Woodrow Wilson) Well thank goodness we've progressed past that.

    J Alex WheelerJ Alex Wheeler4 сарын өмнө
  • Dude, The glasses ain’t working. Makes you look like my Uncle, would have looked like in ’73.

    Tom BarnesTom Barnes4 сарын өмнө
  • Typical union guy

    speshulspeshul4 сарын өмнө
  • Has Chicago ever NOT been corrupt and crime-ridden?

    Helium RoadHelium Road4 сарын өмнө
    • No.

      J Alex WheelerJ Alex Wheeler4 сарын өмнө
  • Amazing story. Thanks.

    Russ WoodwardRuss Woodward4 сарын өмнө