After many years of work, Bobby Rahal’s No. 3 car – winner of the 1986 Indy 500 has been restored and is on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. The iconic red March 86C winning car with its Budweiser and Red Roof livery was recently restored and purchased from private owner Pat Ryan. It is the 35th permanent car in the IMS Indy 500 winning collection. The 70th Indianapolis 500 was run on Saturday, May 31, 1986. After being rained out on May 25–26, the race was rescheduled the following weekend. Bobby Rahal became the first driver in Indy history to complete the 500 miles in under three hours. Bobby would go on to win two other CART titles that year. At that time it was the closest 3-way finish in Indy 500 history between Rahal, Kevin Cogan and Rick Mears. Al Unser Jr., Michael Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Johnny Rutherford and Danny Sullivan all finished in the top 10. Between them they won 13 Indy 500 titles. Al Unser Jr. made an appearance at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix this past July – as did Bobby Rahal. See story and video from the Indy Star
The Bobby Rahal Automotive Group is one of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix’s largest sponsors, supplying pace cars and even sponsoring the Blacktie & Tailpipes Gala at Valley Brook Country Club on July 16, 2021. Bobby Rahal was there as the evening’s host and signed PVGP checkered flags to raise funds for our charities. There are still a few flags remaining at $500 each – if interested please email the PVGP.
The below story is published from Vintage Motorsport Magazine 10/22/21
On October 21, Bobby Rahal personally delivered his 1986 Indy 500-winning March 86C to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. There it will join the more than 25 other winners on display, spanning the entire 107-year history of the storied Memorial Day event, often including a 1911 Marmon Wasp, 1922 Duesenberg, 1928 Miller, 1938 Maserati, 1948 Blue Crown, 1960 Watson, and others.
The IMS Museum is also home to the Borg-Warner trophy, the annual prize for Indianapolis 500 victors. The trophy features the silver-sculpted likenesses of each winner since the first race in 1911, stands more than five feet tall and weighs 110 pounds.
This expansive section of the exhibit also features historic race programs and memorabilia, bricks from the original 1909 track, helmets through the years, and pieces from our beautiful silver trophy collection, including the personal collection of Rudolf Caracciola.
The Indianapolis Star’s Nathan Brown reported that “after nearly a year-long concentrated effort to acquire the No. 3 car – and more than 20 years of waiting overall – the museum has a new car that’s here to stay. On Oct. 21, the museum announced it had purchased Rahal’s lone 500 winner from longtime private owner Pat Ryan, making it the 35th permanent member of the museum’s Indy 500 winning car collection, and the first it has acquired since 1999, when it landed Jacques Villeneuve’s 1995 Player’s Ltd. car.”
There were several backstories to Rahal’s victory in the 1986 70th Indianapolis 500 notably the fact it was held a week late following a Memorial Day weekend rainout; it was held on the 75th anniversary of the first 500 run in 1911; and the talented Ohioan won the race in under three hours for the first time.
Having taken the lead from Kevin Cogan on a restart with two laps to go after a long caution period, Rahal claimed a joyous-if-narrow victory for popular car owner Jim Trueman.
Sadly, Red Roof Inns’ founder Trueman died after a battle with cancer just 11 days later. He will be thought of by all who enjoy a close-up view of this very special March IndyCar.
For more information on the IMS Museum, including hours of operation and other cars on exhibit, click HERE.