Joel Thorne

No picture available of Joel Thorne.

Can you help?


16 Oct 1914
New York City


17 Oct 1955
North Hollywood, California


United States

Grands Prix:

0 (1950-1951)

Indy 500s:

5 (1937-1951)

Well known owner of Thorne Engineering in Burbank, he was killed when his plane went out of control on way to his home in Las Vegas after leaving Burbank. The plane crashed into a house, killing eight unfortunate occupants, including a new-born baby and its young mother as they were celebrating the baby's christening. Joel was the heir to the Chase Manhattan and Pullman railway fortune but enjoyed the good - and fast - life. He initially raced speedboats before taking up motor racing in 1936. He then became a car builder and owner. Thorne had escaped death twice in motorcycle accidents, one of which left him with a fractured skull before his death in 1955, one day after his 41st birthday.

Biography last updated 5 Mar 2016