The Riverside Museum. Photos by Karissa Hosek, courtesy RM Sothebys.
Want to run in the Indianapolis 500? Assuming one has a suitable Dallara DW12 chassis, appropriate aero kit, driver, crew and specialized tools, there’s still the issue of engine rental from Chevrolet or Honda. In 2013, USA Today reported that a single-engine deal for the month of May was priced at roughly $125,000, excluding fuel and electronics. For less money, a lucky racing fan will soon have the option of bidding on four vintage Indy Cars, each with a pre-auction estimate of no more than $30,000. The lots are part of the Riverside International Automotive Museum Collection, part of which will be crossing the auction stage on June 25-26 in Santa Monica, California.
1979 Penske PC7.
The oldest Indy Car to cross the block, a 1979 Penske PC7 in blue and white Norton livery, carries the number 12 of Bobby Unser. In 1979, Bobby’s first year with the Penske team, the veteran driver captured six wins and three additional podiums, but even this astonishing performance wasn’t good enough to earn him the championship. Instead, he finished second to Penske teammate Rick Mears, who earned fewer victories (three) but more podium finishes (six), amassing 4,060 total points to Bobby’s 3,820. It isn’t clear if the car offered was Bobby’s primary car or a backup, but the lot is said to include a display (non-functional) engine, turbocharger and transmission, and carries a pre-auction estimate of $20,000 – $30,000.
The 1985 Eagle 85GC Skoal Bandit Indy Car is finished in the number 98 livery used by All American Racers team member Ed Pimm, who switched to the 85GC chassis at the fourth race of the 1985 season. Ed raced an Eagle 85 at the season-opening Long Beach race and at Indianapolis, switching to a Lola T900 in Milwaukee and then to the Eagle 85GC for the remainder of the year. Powered by a Cosworth V-8, the Eagle 85GC failed to deliver the results expected by the AAR team, and Ed’s best finish during the remainder of the season was third at the late season Michigan International Speedway race. The lot, which may again be a back-up chassis, is said to come complete with a display engine and transaxle and carries a pre-auction estimate of $15,000 – $20,000.
The 1997 Reynard 97I AAR Castrol Indy Car carries a distinctive eagle mascot on the nose and was driven by All American Racing team member Juan Manuel Fangio II. Using the Toyota RV8B engine, Fangio had a disappointing year in the 97I chassis, retiring early from six of the season’s final 13 races and managing a best finish of 10th place at both Detroit and Road America. His AAR teammate P.J. Jones fared even worse, but that was little consolation for Fangio; at the end of the season, he announced his retirement from racing to team owner and friend Dan Gurney. As offered, the car comes with a working engine (that will need sorting before starting) and transaxle and carries a pre-auction estimate of $20,000 – $30,000.
Christiano da Matta was the driver of the final Indy Car lot, a 2000 Reynard 2KI, during his single-year tenure with PPI Motorsports. Powered by a Toyota RV8E engine, the Pioneer-liveried number 97 car carried da Matta to a single victory (in Chicago), as well as an additional podium finish in Cleveland. His sophomore year in the series would see him achieve a 10th place finish in the driver’s standings, opening the door to a ride with Newman/Haas Racing in 2001, and in 2002, a driver’s championship. As offered, the Reynard 2KI chassis comes complete with a display engine and transaxle, and carries a pre-auction estimate of $20,000 – $30,000.
The Santa Monica auction will include an additional 30 lots from the Riverside International Automotive Museum, with 15 more pieces from the museum’s inventory to be offered at RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale in August. Established in 2006 by Ray and Doug Magnon, the museum’s mission was to preserve the history of motorsports in California, but the father and son duo also had a passion for Maserati automobiles, and the museum is said to contain one of the largest collections of Maserati road cars in the United States. Following Doug’s death in 2006, the facility is paring back its collection to a more manageable level; look for more on the museum’s offerings in a future Hemmings Daily.
For additional information on the Santa Monica sale, visit AuctionsAmerica.com.