Sold for $57,200 at 2005 RM Sothebys
Sold for $58,500 at 2011 Bonhams
Between 1983 and 1986 a March chassis had gone on to win the Indianapolis 500 four-straight years. Each successive model of the March chassis would make the trek over 500 miles to bring its driver home first to take a sip of the milk. The March 87C was believed to be a continuation of that heritage.
March's string of dominance at the Indianapolis 500 would actually begin on the winding road courses of Europe and the rest of the world. Max Mosley, Alan Rees, Graham Coaker and Robin Herd would come together in 1969 to form March Engineering. The name would come as the result of the initials of the principals involved.
The company would begin its existence by designing a single Formula 3 car for the 1969 season. However, the group had much bigger plans. Within a single year of coming into existence, the engineering company would design cars for Formula Ford, Formula 3, Formula 2, Can-Am and even Formula One.
It seemed their Formula One program would immediately take off when they would be contracted by Ken Tyrell to supply a chassis for his team with its World Champion driver Jackie Stewart.
Stewart would take the new constructor and new car to its first Formula One victory when he would end up victorious at the Spanish Grand Prix. Over the next couple of years, March would continue to have spotty success and would introduce more than one innovation. Throughout the rest of the 1970s, March would struggle in its Formula One effort. It would be quite successful in other formulas and sports cars.
March would make one more, and rather half-hearted, attempt at Formula One. Time and money was short. Therefore, instead of creating their own chassis design, the group would look to copy another successful design. They would look no further than the Williams FW07. While the 792 would end up looking rather similar it was heavier and obviously incapable of achieving any real positive results. This would prove fortuitous.
By the start of the 1980s, March was looking to get an Indycar program off the ground. They would take their 792 and would tweak it in order to conform to Indycar rules. What they would create would be truly magical. By 1982, seventeen of the thirty-three cars in the Indianapolis 500 would be March chassis of some kind. The very next year, March would begin their incredible string of victories in the famed race.
Over the years, the March chassis would be continually refined. It would go through gradually trimming to look like the nimble single-seater it actually was instead of the bigger and more hulking designs of the earlier years. By 1987, the package had trimmed down even more.
The tall and narrow shape, flanked by low-sitting radiator sidepods made the new car look incredible quick even when it was just sitting there absolutely still. Powered by a turbocharged V8 Cosworth, the March 87C was more than capable of backing up the looks with incredible raw speed.
One of those teams that would look to the Cosworth-powered March 87C for its Indianapolis and Indycar championship hopes would be Kraco Enterprises. Kraco Enterprises hoped the combination of the March 87C and their driver Michael Andretti would prove to be a winning combination. They would be right.
Andretti would take his March and would earn two pole-positions and would achieve four victories over the course of the 1987 season. And one of those chassis in which he used to achieve those results, chassis 87C6, would be offered for sale in this year's Bonhams auction at Quail Lodge in Carmel, California.
87C6 would be delivered to the team in January of 1987 and would go through final preparations prior to the start of the PPG Indy Car World Series Championship.
Michael Andretti would go on to use this and other March 87C chassis to good effect throughout the season. This particular car would end up powering Andretti to victory at the Miller American ‘200' , the Marlboro ‘500', the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix and the Nissan Indy Challenge. All told, these four wins would help Andretti finish in 2nd place in the championship that year. It was so close he very nearly won it all with this very chassis.
The car would be offered at this year's auction with a newer Cosworth DFX turbocharged V8 engine which had been installed prior to purchase by its current owner.
This actual race-winning Indy Car would be offered without reserve and would end up selling for $58,500.Sources:
'Sale 19363: Lot 8: The ex-Michael Andretti/Kraco Enterprises,1987 March-Cosworth 87C Single-Seater Racing Indycar Chassis no. 87C-06', (http://www.bonhams.com/usa/auction/19363/lot/8/). Bonhams. http://www.bonhams.com/usa/auction/19363/lot/8/. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
'Indianapolis 500 1911-2005 Results', (http://homepage.lanck.net/faster/Indy-500/indy.htm). Faster's Homepage. http://homepage.lanck.net/faster/Indy-500/indy.htm. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
Wikipedia contributors, 'March Engineering', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 August 2011, 21:02 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=March_Engineering&oldid=445722071 accessed 1 September 2011