Monterey | Lot 122

1979 McLaren M24B Indianapolis

$214,500 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California

18 August 2017

Chassis No.
  • Formerly owned by Johnny Rutherford, McLaren driver for the 1979 CART season
  • Sister car of the last period Works McLaren to race at Indianapolis
  • Featured in the famous M81 McLaren Mustang advertisements
  • Restored to its correct 1979 Budweiser livery
Please note that this lot is offered on a Bill of Sale.

In May 2017, McLaren made racing headlines with its return to Indianapolis after a 38-year hiatus from Works competition at that storied track. The car offered here, McLaren M24B chassis 001, was the backup car for three-time Indy winner Johnny Rutherford’s 1979 Indianapolis 500 run, which, prior to Fernando Alonso’s 2017 attempt, had been the last McLaren to race at the Brickyard.

Rutherford drove both M24Bs, chassis 001 and 002, in competition during the 1979 CART season, a year marred by legal difficulties resulting from the USAC/CART split, and finished 4th in the Indy Car Series standings. In the sister car, Rutherford and McLaren won both races of the Gould Twin Dixie 125 in Atlanta, and managed a very respectable 18th at Indianapolis after gear trouble took him out of contention. Chassis 001 was the backup car for those races and also took part in the following events (see chart):

After finishing the 1979 season, chassis 001 was painted in McLaren Orange and featured in promotional material for the McLaren Mustang in 1981. It was then placed in private hands, where it remained for approximately 20 years. It was Rutherford’s Indy crew chief Steve Roby that later discovered the car, which was still finished in orange. Rutherford acquired his former car from the first private owner, a Huntington, Indiana, collector. After the DFX engine was gone through, the car was repainted back to its famous Budweiser livery by Indy legend A.J. Foyt.

Having seen few race miles, the chassis is in excellent condition and the car was kept in Mr. Rutherford’s collection until just recently. The McLaren was then acquired from Mr. Rutherford by a prominent private collector in Texas.

With chassis 002 in the McLaren collection and currently on loan to the Donington Grand Prix Exhibition, this M24B represents the only opportunity to purchase an example of the last period Works McLaren to run at Indianapolis. The car is presented in as-restored condition and would be an ideal candidate for vintage racing campaigns after appropriate preparation.

11-Mar-1979Arizona Republic/Jimmy Bryan 150Phoenix International RacewayBackup
27-May-1979Indianapolis 500Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayBackup
10-Jun-1979Trenton Twin IndyTrenton Speedway15th (race 1), 3rd (race 2)
15-Jul-1979Norton Twin 125Michigan International SpeedwayBackup
19-Aug-1979Ditzler 150Trenton Speedway5th
15-Sep-1979Gould Grand PrixMichigan International Speedway4th
30-Sep-1979Rich's Atlanta ClassicAtlanta Motor SpeedwayBackup
20-Oct-1979Miller High Life 150Phoenix International RacewayBackup

Suggested lots