March 705 car-by-car histories
The March 705 was built for Formula B in 1970, and was very closely related to the Formula 3 March 703 and Formula Ford March 708. The car was well off the pace, but did lay a foundation of dealers and customers for the much more successful 1971 car.
While Max Mosley, Robin Herd and Alan Rees focused on putting a Formula 1 team together and supplying cars to the team of the reigning World Champion, Graham Coacker, the 'C' of March, had the less glamorous job of creating a factory at Bicester to produce customer cars for Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula B, Formula Ford and Can-Am. Bill Stone had built the 693, and he was joined as the factory was set up by Ray Wardell, who would run March's F2 team. Alan Rees brought chief mechanic Pete Kerr with him from the Winkelmann F2 team, together with half the team, and the other key element was master fabricator John Thompson, who Herd knew from McLaren where he had been able to turn Bruce McLaren's outline sketch of the McLaren M3A into a profitable production car. March's new F2, F3, FB and FF cars for 1970 were all simply spaceframes based on the original 'Gremshek' March 693. The main difference was a new body, but designer Robin Herd hardly had time to do anything more. After the first two frames had been built by Stone, fabrication of production frames was outsourced to Arch Motors. March aimed to standardise the production of these spaceframe cars, allowing chassis to be built on the same jigs regardless of the engine, wheels, suspension pick-up points and fuel tanks required for the different formulae. The Formula B March 705 was therefore very similar to the F3 car, but fitted with one of Vegantune's Ford twin cam engines.
The company's agent for the Formula B cars was Springdel Racing Corp, based in Elmsford, New York, and led by Joe Grimaldi with partners Chuck Schroedel and Don Springmeyer. Grimaldi had a long record of racing car sales and service in the US north-east, having previously been with Fred Opert's operation in New Jersey. March records show chassis 705/1 to have been a black car shipped 11 May 1970; 705/2 was an orange car for Bill Prout shipped the same day; 705/3 was a white car delivered to Springel Racing for Bill Gubelmann on 15 June 1970; 705/4 was an orange car, also delivered to Springel Racing on 15 June 1970; and 705/5 was white and also for Springel Racing but its delivery date was not recorded.
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New to Springdel Racing for 1970. The first owner is unknown, but the car's black colour suggests it was Charlie Gibson's car in 1970 and 1971.
New to Bill Prout (Ivoryton, CT) and raced in Formula B in 1970. At Bryar in October, Prout became the first person to win a race in North America in a March. For 1971, Prout repainted the car black, but the first real changes were made to it in 1973, when he updated it to 1973 bodywork. In a long career with the car, Prout set the absolute course record at the 1.8 mile course at Pocono in 1971, and set the FA lap record at Bridgehampton in 1974. Prior to the 1975 season, he sold the 705 to someone in Long Island, who put in a BDA in it. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: William Prout Jr. First race: Thompson Raceway, 9 Aug 1970. Total of 7 recorded races.
New for Bill Gubelmann (Oyster Bay, NY) and used in the later races of the 1970 SCCA Formula B championship. Unknown in 1971 but reappeared at a SCCA Regional at Thompson Raceway in June 1972 driven by Gerald Lieberg (Milford, CT). Lieberg advertised the car in Competition Press & Autoweek 16 Dec 1972 as "ex-Gubelmann" but not mentioning whether it was a 705 or 71BM. As Gubelmann's 71BM had gone to Frank Del Vecchio for 1972, this must have been his 705.
Driven by: Bill Gubelmann and Gerald Lieberg. First race: Mont-Tremblant (R8), 1 Aug 1970. Total of 7 recorded races.
New to Springdel Racing for 1970. The first owner is unknown, but the car's orange colour suggests it was Mike Hayman's car in 1970 and 1971. Then it may well have been the car entered by BobKat Racing of Washington in 1972.
New to Springdel Racing for 1970. The first owner is unknown, but the car's white colour suggests it was the car entered by Ron Stanwicks at the Mid-Ohio FB race in 1970. It may then have been the car of Mario Pistritto from 1972 to 1974.
March 705s in 1970
Two of the five 705s have first owners mentioned in March records: 705/2 for Bill Prout and 705/3 for Bill Gubelmann. That leaves three to identify, with the colours recorded in March records being the best clue. The first car seen competing in SCCA racing was Charlie Gibson's black 705 which was described as "new" when Gibson raced it in a SCCA National at Lime Rock on 4 July. A fortnight later Mike Hayman raced an orange and blue 705 at Road America, and later that year Ronald Stanwicks took delivery of a white March 705 but did not race it. It seems highly likely that Gibson's was the black 705/1, Hayman's was the orange 705/4, and Stanwicks' was the white 705/5.
'the Charlie Gibson car'
Charles T. Gibson raced a black #57 March 705 in Formula B in 1970, entered by Gibson Racing Company of Poughkeepsie, NY. Later in the season, the team was said to be based in Denver, CO, but this appears to have been a short-lived change. Gibson entered the car at Road America in July 1971. He bought a second-hand 71BM in February 1973, so it is possible he kept the 705 longer than 1971. History then unknown until 1983, when, according to later owner Ben Auto in Japan, it was owned by Ed Forbes on Long Island, New York, who intended to use it for autocross. It was then sold to "Thomas Gaffney of Classic Advantage" in 1992, and fully restored. Exactly what happened next is unclear, but by 2019, the 705 was owned by Ben Auto (Yamada, Japan) and was being raced in historic events in Japan.
Driven by: Charles T. Gibson. First race: Lime Rock, 4 Jul 1970. Total of 3 recorded races.
'the Mike Hayman car'
Mike Hayman (Washington, DC) raced an orange-and-blue #0 March 705 in SCCA Formula B in 1970 and 1971. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Mike Hayman. First race: Road America (R7), 18 Jul 1970. Total of 2 recorded races.
'the Ron Stanwicks car'
Ronald Stanwicks (Newington, CT) acquired a brand new March 705 but within a day or so of taking delivery, he was taken unwell with a heart condition, and he decided not to race again. The unused March was sold over the winter to Seb Barone (Portland, CT) who used it in SCCA Northeast Division Formula B in 1971, scoring four points. Subsequent history unknown.
March 705s in 1971
Bill Prout retained 705/2 for 1971, Charlie Gibson retained his black car (705/1?), Mike Hayman retained his orange car (705/4?), and Ronald Stanwicks' car (705/5?) was sold to Seb Barone. Gubelmann's 705/3 was not seen in 1971 but would reappear in 1972 owned by Gerald Lieberg.
March 705s from 1972 onwards
Bill Prout again retained 705/2 for 1972, and Gerald Lieberg of Milford, CT acquired the ex-Gubelmann 705/3, but Charlie Gibson's black car, Mike Hayman's orange car and Seb Barone's ex-Stanwicks cars are all unknown after 1971. At this point it is helpful to form a hypothesis of what happened to the cars, and we can be guided by "Townsend's Law", the observation made by Chris Townsend that the distance between successive owners of a car reduces as the car ages. A brand new car might be shipped half way around the world, but a one-year-old car tends to stay in the same country, a two-year-old car in America is likely to stay in the same division, and by the time it is three or four years old it may only move across town. Once a car is old enough to become valuable for historic racing, this 'law' can go into reverse, but it has proved a reliable guide to the first five years of a car's life. Armed with this observation, we first note that Mike Hayman was based in Washington, DC, so it is highly plausible that his car was the one fielded by BobKat Racing of Washington during 1972. The other mystery car to appear in 1972 was the red car of Mario Pistritto in Hartford, CT. As Hartford is just 15 miles from Portland, CT, the home of Seb Barone, there is a good chance that this was 705/5. However, one complication is that Xavier Perrot's Formula 2 March 702 is said to have gone to North America and been used in the Canadian Formula B series, which means it may be part of the 705 puzzle.
Tracking the cars becomes very difficult into 1973, when Gerald Lieberg's ex-Bill Gubelmann 705/3 goes missing, as does the BobKat Racing car that may have been Mike Hayman's old car. Gibson's car had already gone missing by this stage. Prout still had 705/2 in 1973 and Mario Pistritto still had what may have been the Stanwicks/Barone car.
In 1974, Prout had one last season in 705/2, but apart from Pistritto advertising his car mid-season, none of the other 705s can be tracked. However, both James Rowley of Huntingdon, NY, and Steven Woods of Farmington, CT appeared in mystery March 705s in 1974. Rowley may be the Long Island racer that Bill Prout remember selling his car to, and we can speculate that Mario Pistritto's car had moved a few more miles from Hartford to Farmington. However, we should not forget that Gerald Lieberg and 705/3 were only 60 miles away in Milford, CT. Also in 1974, Thomas Clark of Danbury, CT had a March 705, which he advertised in January 1975.
James Rowley and Steven Woods both continued to appear in local races in 1975, with Woods having fitted his car with a 2-litre Lotus twin cam engine so it now counted as a Formula A. Also appearing in 1975 in a 705 was Jack Marsela, about whom we know nothing.
Steven Woods drove his 2-litre car again in 1976, and advertised it in March 1977.
'the Mario Pistritto car'
Mario Pistritto (Hartford, CT) raced a red #55 March 705 in Northeast Division SCCA Formula B in 1972 and 1973. In July 1974 he advertised the car in the New England Region 'Pit Talk' newsletter as a "F/B March" with new engine and fuel injection.
Driven by: Mario Pistritto. First race: Bryar Motorsports Park, 21 May 1972. Total of 3 recorded races.
'the Bob-Kat Racing car'
BobKat Racing (Washington, DC) entered a March in two Formula B races in August 1972, for Frank Simpson at Watkins Glen, and then for Tim Simpson at Road America two weeks later. It was entered as a March 705 when Frank drove it, but as a 702 when Tim drove it. Although it is perfectly possible that a Formula 2 March 702 had found its way to the US, a Formula B March 705 does seem far more likely.
Driven by: Frank Simpson and Tim Simpson. First race: Watkins Glen (R5), 13 Aug 1972. Total of 2 recorded races.
In addition to the above, unknown March 705s were driven by James Rowley, Steven Woods and Jack Marsela.
My thanks to Chris Townsend for his diligent recording of March 705s in adverts and race reports; to Ted Walker and Adam Ferrington for their assistance; to Simon Hadfield for providing technical details of the early March production cars; to Bill Prout for telling the story of his car; to Peter Stanwicks for the story of his father's sadly brief interaction with his brand new 705; and to Satoshi Onishi for providing information on the ex-Charlie Gibson car that now resides in Japan.
If you can add anything to these histories, please contact Allen Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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