Lot 117

Miami 2024

1990 March-Alfa Romeo 90CA Indianapolis

{{lr.item.text}}

$103,600 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Coral Gables, Florida

{{internetCurrentBid}}

{{internetTimeLeft}}


language
Chassis No.
90CA-001
Engine No.
A.R. INDY *001*
USAC Registered Serial No.
1940
CART No.
312
Documents
Bill of Sale Only
  • Raced at the 1990 Indianapolis 500 by four-time winner Al Unser
  • One of two Alfa Romeo-powered cars at the 1990 Indianapolis 500, and one of three 90CA examples built
  • Competed in seven races in the 1990 season for Patrick Racing, driven by Al Unser and Roberto Guerrero
  • Powered by a 700-hp, 2.65-liter Garrett turbocharged Alfa Romeo Indy V8 engine; mated to a six-speed manual gearbox
  • Accompanied by a CART race chart, copies of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation Official Timing and Scoring Sheets, USAC records from the Indianapolis 500, Alfacorse press kit copy, and period racing images
  • Important example of Alfa Romeo’s final foray in Indy Car racing, a Brickyard tradition stretching back to 1937

Following the 1989 CART season, a shakeup occurred among the Indy Car teams. The reigning driver’s champion, Emerson Fittipaldi, left Patrick Racing for a seat with Penske. Patrick Racing transferred ownership to Chip Ganassi and became Chip Ganassi Racing, while Pat Patrick took over the Alfa Romeo Indy Car effort from Alex Morales Motorsports.

For its driving talent, the new Patrick Racing started by retaining Roberto Guerrero, who had driven for Alex Morales Motorsports for the 1989 season. He was soon joined by one of the biggest names in the sport, Al Unser. Prior to the 1990 season Unser had been released by Penske Racing, and he went on to sign with Patrick Racing, providing a second car for two of the season’s 500-mile races, the Indianapolis 500 and the Michigan 500. Nearing the end of his career, Unser had raced a similar schedule the prior season with Penske, only driving the 500-mile events.

For the 1990 CART PPG Indy Car season, the re-booted Patrick Racing competed with March chassis powered by Alfa Romeo engines; it was the only team using the Italian power plant. Alfa Romeo had a proud tradition of participating in the Indy 500 during the World War II era, competing 10 times from 1937 through 1950, and finishing as high as 5th in 1939. Following the company’s acquisition by Fiat in 1986, and hoping to spur sales of the 164 and Milano roadgoing models, Alfa Romeo decided to return to the Brickyard by building engines for the CART series, which it did for the 1989 through 1991 seasons.

The 90CA model married March’s latest Indy Car chassis to Alfa Romeo’s 2.65-liter turbocharged V-8, being built from aluminum honeycomb and carbon fiber, and equipped with a push-rod suspension, ventilated disc brakes, and a triple-disc clutch. Just three examples were built, of which the featured car is the first.

This March-Alfa Romeo, chassis 90CA-001, was driven by four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser at the 74th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May 1990 under the Patrick Racing-Miller High Life #40 livery. The race marked an important day for Alfa Romeo, as it was the first time their V-8 engines were powering cars in the legendary 500-mile race, with Patrick Racing fielding both entrants, Unser and Guerrero. Unser qualified 30th, earning chassis 90CA-001 a position on the outside of the starting grid in the 10th row, with Jim Crawford in the middle and fellow Patrick Racing driver Roberto Guerrero on the inside.

Two days shy of his 51st birthday Unser climbed his way up the pack. On lap 106 he recorded his fastest lap of the day, rounding the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 43.866 seconds at a speed of 205.170 mph. He ultimately finished the race in 13th place, outlasting former Indianapolis 500 winners Mario Andretti, Tom Sneva, and Danny Sullivan.

Chassis 90CA-001 also saw significant use with Roberto Guerrero behind the wheel in 1990, liveried as race #20. In April, prior to the Indianapolis 500, the car was driven by Guerrero in the Autoworks 200 at the Phoenix International Raceway, and in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Following the Indianapolis 500 the March-Alfa Romeo was re-liveried to Miller Genuine Draft #20 for Guerrero’s use, and he went on to race the car at the Miller Genuine Draft 200 at the Milwaukee Mile, the Valvoline Detroit Grand Prix, the Budweiser Cleveland Grand Prix, and the Marlboro Meadowlands Grand Prix. Additionally, 90CA-001 served as a backup car for Guerrero in the Budweiser/GI Joe’s 200 at Portland International Raceway, and the Marlboro 500 at Michigan International Speedway.

In the 107-year history of the Indianapolis 500, no driver has ever won the race five times, and only four drivers have won the race four times—A.J. Foyt, Rick Mears, Helio Castroneves, and Al Unser. Over the course of his career Unser competed 27 times in the Indianapolis 500, and chassis 90CA-001 was one of five cars used later in his career to chase what was ultimately an elusive fifth victory in the storied race.

It is important to note that, unlike some former modern Indy or Formula One cars that are offered for sale, this March-Alfa Romeo retains the components for its engine and gearbox, suggesting that the future owner seeking to recommission the car for vintage racing use will have an optimal basis for a mechanical rejuvenation. As one of just three examples built, and being the car driven by the legendary Al Unser at the 1990 Indianapolis 500, chassis number 90CA-001 is a significant footnote to the annals of Indy Car racing. Also notable for being equipped with Alfa Romeo’s unique 700-horsepower turbo V-8—a marvel in engineering from a storied European racing brand—this captivating March-Alfa Romeo is certain to make an important acquisition for any Indy Car enthusiast or marque collector.