2021 | Pebble Beach Auctions
1986 March 86C
From a Collection of Significant Racing Cars
$1,500,000 - $2,000,000
Driven by Hall of Fame Driver Bobby Rahal
Designed by Legendary Engineer Adrian Newey
Offered from 31 Years of Single Ownership
Among the Most Significant and Desirable Indy Cars Ever Offered for Public Sale
Mechanical Fuel Injection
Estimated 700 BHP
5-Speed Manual Transaxle
4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Front Independent-Wishbone Suspension with Coil-Overs
Rear Independent-Wishbone Suspension with Coil-Overs
Truesports (acquired new in 1986)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 1990)
Phoenix Grand Prix, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (16th)Long Beach Grand Prix, California, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (18th)Indianapolis 500, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (1st)Wisconsin 250, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (6th)Portland Grand Prix, 1986, Oregon, Rahal, No. 3 (20th)Meadowlands Grand Prix, 1986, New Jersey, Rahal, No. 3 (3rd)Cleveland Grand Prix, 1986, Ohio, Rahal, No. 3 (15th)Honda Indy Toronto, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (1st)Firestone Indy 400, Michigan, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (10th)ABC Supply 500, Pennsylvania, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (14th)Honda Indy 200, Ohio, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (1st)Montreal Grand Prix, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (1st)Firestone Indy 400, Michigan, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (1st)Road America Grand Prix, Wisconsin, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (5th)Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (1st)Phoenix Grand Prix, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (3rd)Miami Grand Prix, 1986, Rahal, No. 3 (8th)
International Motorsports Hall of Fame, Alabama, 2000–2001Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, 2004Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2009Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, 2011 (Autoweek Award)Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, March–June 2011Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2011Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2012Indianapolis 500, 2016 (driven by Bobby Rahal in parade laps ahead of race)
The important qualities of a racing car, especially one being offered for sale, are its competition record, significance of the model and those who owned, designed, and drove it, its aesthetic appeal, and its originality or quality of its restoration. This amazing March 86C Indy Car has top marks in all of these categories, and despite it also being the car piloted to an Indianapolis 500 victory by a Hall of Fame driver, it is the backstory that makes this machine among the most significant in Indy Car racing history.
Jim Trueman spent his college years attending engineering school at Ohio State University before enlisting in the military. Later, he started a property development business that would eventually encompass the largest privately owned budget hotel chain in the US, Red Roof Inn. Trueman’s growing business empire allowed him the freedom of turning his attention to auto racing, which had been his true passion since he was a boy. As a driver, Trueman would win 125 races over a 23-year span, and claim SCCA national championships in 1975 and 1978. He would later go on to own the Mid- Ohio Sports Car Course and act as the chairman of CART, Indy Car’s sanctioning body.
While competing in the 1970s, Trueman met a determined and cerebral racer named Bobby Rahal. A fellow Ohio native, Rahal found himself under the wing of Trueman, who acted as his mentor while his career took off, and later as car owner when Rahal joined Trueman’s Truesports Indy Car team in 1982. Success came swiftly, with Rahal winning two races that year and finishing second to Rick Mears in the championship. The 1984 addition of legendary designer Adrian Newey to the ranks of Truesports, where he had been assigned by the head of March, Robin Herd, strengthened the team’s chances at success. Debuting in 1986, the Newey-designed March 86C was a vast improvement over the company’s earlier cars and had all of the creative hallmarks of a classic Newey design. Using the 86C, Truesports would move from promise to triumph, winning six races on the way to its first championship. Rahal was named Driver of the Year and was the first Indy car driver to win $1,000,000 in a single season. Most important, however, was a dramatic victory in the world’s greatest race, the Indianapolis 500.
The 1986 “Month of May” was filled with emotion for the Truesports team, as Jim Trueman was showing serious effects from his two-year fight with colon cancer. The March 86C offered here, chassis 86C-13, had been painstakingly prepared for Rahal’s fifth attempt at the Indianapolis 500, and one that carried new meaning to all those in the organization. Starting from the inside of the second row, with a qualifying speed of 213 mph, Rahal drove a consistent and thrilling race, fighting for the lead throughout the 200-lap event. Aided by a late caution, Rahal would grab 1st Place on the subsequent restart and never look back, winning a race that meant everything under normal circumstances, and just a little bit more to Truesports.
Rahal climbed from his car in the victory lane and emotionally announced, “This one was for Jim Trueman…If there’s one thing I can give Jim Trueman, it’s this.” The two celebrated their victory together with sips of the traditional milk, and ABC announcer Jack Arute would years-later recall that Trueman had whispered in his ear “Now I can go,” which he did just 11 days later. A more fitting send-off could hardly be imagined.
Truesports continued on in Indy Car racing and retained the Indy 500-winning March, having returned it to its winning configuration, which remarkably included fitting the winning engine, after the 1986 season. In 1989, the car was put up for sale to raise money for the organization, which was attempting to become a manufacturer. A Bill of Sale on file dated January 23, 1990, documents its sale to the consignor, the car’s only private owner from new. It is just part of a fascinating history file that includes correspondence and setup sheets from the car’s crew chief, Steve Horne, and a copy of a letter from Enzo Ferrari to Jim Trueman congratulating him on their Indianapolis 500 victory.
In the subsequent 31 years, the March has been displayed in numerous museums, on concours lawns, and at three Goodwood Festivals of Speed. At the 2011 event, the March was driven up the hill of Goodwood House by both Bobby Rahal, his first time in the car since 1986, and Adrian Newey, its accomplished designer. Rahal also drove the March in parade laps ahead of the 2016 Indianapolis 500.
This machine now stands, as it did in 1986, as a fitting tribute to a pivotal figure in Indy Car racing, Jim Trueman, and to the legendary career of Bobby Rahal, who went on to win three Indy Car championships as a driver and remains a successful team owner in the sport, winning an additional two Indy 500s in that role.
An artifact from the heyday of mid-80s open-wheel racing in North America, this eminently collectible race car is one of only a handful of Indy 500-winning examples from this era in private hands. It represents not only the bravery and glory of the era, but a symbol of a life well lived. Accompanied by extensive paperwork from new, crew uniforms and fueler’s helmet, and a large cache of spare parts that can be picked up by the winning bidder in North Carolina, this amazing March 86C offers an incredible opportunity to purchase a legendary piece of Indy Car history.
*Please note that this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale.