Open Roads, August | Lot 172

Mario Andretti Lotus 79 Rear Wing, 1978

$29,400 USD | Sold

United States | Louisville, Colorado

28 July - 4 August 2021

This very rear wing is from Mario Andretti's #5 Lotus 79 that he set the pole with for the 1978 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. The Lotus was on its last warmup lap before the race when it spun and hit a barrier, forcing Andretti to drive a backup car from the lead position during the race.

Having been sidelined before the race, this wing was removed from the car and then auctioned off by Team Lotus after the race to help pay for the team party. At the time it was also signed by Colin Chapman, Mario Andretti, and “Miss Hurst” Linda Vaughn, though unfortunately Andretti's signature has all but faded away over the course of time. Notably, the winning bidder was photographed with Linda Vaughn after the post-race auction, and the wing has remained in the possession of his family to this day.

That year Mario Andretti won the Drivers' World Championship. He remains the last American driver to win the World Championship, and his victory at the Dutch Grand Prix is also the last for an American driver. Teammate Ronnie Peterson was awarded 2nd place in the Drivers' standings posthumously, having died after an accident at Monza during the Italian Grand Prix. JPS-Lotus was also awarded the Constructors' Championship after a dominant season.

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