Auctions and Brokerage
*Please note this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale.
Al Unser’s 1985 Championship Winning CarPenske Racing, Reading, Pennsylvania (campaigned in 1985)James W. Stollenwerck, Westerly, Rhode Island (acquired by the early 1990s)Current Owner (acquired from the above in 1993)
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 14, 1985, Al Unser, No. 5 (5th Place)Indianapolis 500, May 26, 1985, Al Unser, No. 11 (4th Place)Dana Rex Mays Classic at Milwaukee, June 2, 1985, Rick Mears, No. 5 (3rd Place)Stroh’s/G.I. Joe’s 200 at Portland, June 16, 1985, Al Unser, No. 5 (4th Place)Meadowlands United States Grand Prix, June 30, 1985, Al Unser, No. 5 (3rd Place)Budweiser Cleveland Grand Prix, July 7, 1985, Al Unser, No. 5 (3rd Place)Michigan 500, July 28, 1985, Al Unser, No. 11 (2nd Place)Provimi Veal 200 at Road America, August 4, 1985, Al Unser, No. 5 (7th Place)Dominos Pizza 500 at Pocono, August 18, 1985, Al Unser, No. 11 (3rd Place)Molson Indy 300 at Sanair Super Speedway, September 8, 1985, Danny Sullivan, No. 4 (5th Place)Detroit News 200 at Michigan International Speedway, September 22, 1985, Al Unser, No. 11 (12th Place)Stroh’s 300K at Laguna Seca, October 6, 1985, Al Unser, No. 5 (2nd Place)
By 1985, the British race car manufacturer March was making quite a name for itself on the CART Champ Car circuit, having provided the chassis for the Indianapolis 500-winning car two years in a row in 1983 and 1984. The manufacturer had begun providing chassis to Indy teams in 1981, becoming one of a handful of sanctioned chassis options for much of the 1980s.
After using a chassis of its own design for three straight CART championships between 1981 and 1983, Roger Penske’s team switched to March for the 1984 season and was summarily dethroned by Newman/Haas Racing (despite Rick Mears’ victory for Penske at the 1984 Indy 500). For 1985, the Penske roster again featured a team of veterans, consisting of three-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser; two-time Indy winner and former Drivers Champion Rick Mears; and a relative newcomer Danny Sullivan, who would go on to win the 1985 Indy 500.
Penske chose March once again in 1985, utilizing the company’s latest chassis, the 85C. A Cosworth DFX V-8, the turbocharged ethanol-fueled mill that developed a shocking 700 hp at 10,900 rpm, was chosen as the powerplant. Penske campaigned only a handful of 85C chassis during 1985; and this particular car, chassis no. 021, participated in 12 of the season’s 14 races, primarily driven by the great Al Unser.
At the season-commencing Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, this car was driven by Unser to 5th Place, and he later finished 4th at the Indy 500. The car went on to place 3rd four times, with two 2nd Place finishes. A regular podium finisher, this historically significant car was integral to Unser’s 1985 championship, the second of three achieved during his illustrious career.
Pulled from action prior to the season’s conclusion, chassis no. 021 was retired and sold into private ownership in the late 1980s. By the early 1990s, the car was owned by Rhode Island-based collector James Stollenwerck. Acquired by the consignor in 1993 and last run in anger at a vintage event in Fontana, California, in approximately 2000, this authentically presented Indy car is accompanied by a spare set of wheels and a wealth of documentation detailing its use during the 1985 season, including official Penske bios, press releases, race results, and other paperwork.
A bona fide Champ Car racing collectible, this important March 85C awaits its next caretaker, ideal for the Indy 500 purist or open-wheel race car enthusiast. It is a powerful reminder of the triumphs of the great Al Unser and Roger Penske, and a pedigreed American race car of the highest order.