The Borg-Warner Trophy, Indy 500 Victory Symbol
The Borg-Warner Trophy awarded to the winner of the Indianapolis 500 since 1936 ranks with the Stanley Cup and the World Series Trophy as one of pro sports most recognized rewards. As well, this beautiful trophy has had a long and storied history since it was first awarded to Louis Meyer at a dinner honoring his unprecedented third Indy 500 victory.
This magnificent trophy, standing nearly 64 inches tall and weighing just under 153 pounds was presented by Eddie Rickenbacker, former World War I flying ace and then owner of the Speedway. Crafted of sterling silver and displaying a breathtaking Art Deco design, the “loving cup” style trophy was designed by Robert J. Hill and Gorham, Inc., of Providence, Rhode Island under a commission extended by the Borg-Warner Automotive Company. The trophy cost $10,000 to design and create, a staggering amount of money not only for the time, but also considering America had barely emerged from the darkest depths of the Great Depression.
Several times over the past 70 years, the trophy has been refurbished and redesigned to allow the addition of more winners; no further modifications are expected until 2034 – and the estimated current value of the trophy? A cool $1.3 million!
Unlike other sports trophies, the Borg-Warner Trophy is not given into the possession of the driver. After an elaborate presentation ceremony, the trophy is returned to its place of honor in the Hall of Fame Museum at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That’s not to say that race winners walk away empty handed, however. A 24″ tall model of the Borg-Warner Trophy mounted on a walnut plaque was given to the annual winners up until 1987, when an 18″ tall replica of the trophy was presented to the previous year’s winner shortly before the next year’s race.