This was March's first production F5000 car, following the relative success of the 1972 F2-based car. March records say six were built and five of these can be seen in contemporary race results: the US-based cars of Gunn, Barber, Lazier and Hutchison and the UK-based car of Baker. March records say the sixth car was supplied as a kit.
Four cars have been found so far but only the John Gunn car has a complete history. The Barber car multiplied and exists at least twice over and the Hutchison car is still out there somewhere - maybe now as a F1 car. Four mystery cars have also been identified that appear to be above and beyond the known production.
My thanks to Wolfgang Klopfer, Mike Engstrand, Chuck Haines, Greg Wold, Roger Cowman, Mike Duncan, Terry Healy, Marcus Pye, Paul Wilson, Steve Bay, Russ Neice, Pete Klain, Kevin Drew, Nick Smith, John Henderson, Deane Tank, Graham Collins and others for getting these histories so far. Especial thanks to Adam Ferrington for supplying March's factory records for the 73A.
All and any help would be gratefully received. Please e-mail Allen at email@example.com if you can add anything.
|March 73A/1||Roger Williams (New Zealand) 2010|
Car 1: Built for 1973 season (red). Skip Barber: raced in US 1973; returned to March and later used as the basis of Cannon's '73A/75A'. First seen with Cannon from Pocono 1975 through Mid-Ohio (10 Aug 1975) with most of its original 73A bodywork. He skipped Road Atlanta and reappeared at Long Beach (28 Sep 1975) with a heavily modified car incorporating some 751 parts. Entered by John Lane. Later run in Tasman 1976, where it was described as:
Then UK 1976, where it was described as:
Then US 1976 (Cannon also raced the 73A/751 at R3 Watkins Glen, R6 Road America and R7 Riverside in 1976; and rented it to Don Breidenbach for R4 Elkhart Lake (25 Jul) and David Purley for R5 Mid-Ohio). Not seen during 1977 then possibly to Australia late 1970's/early 1980's. Crashed while testing in California in January 1977. Parts were used on a second, "duplicate", car.
The remains of one of these cars stayed with the Cannon family for many years. In 2004, Michael Cannon sold a tub and bodywork from 73A/2 to Paul M. Wilson (Los Angeles, CA). The car came with the original 73A/2 chassis tag and is green with a yellow stripe, matching the livery of the car prior to Long Beach 1975. So it appears the 'new' Cannon car - i.e. '75 AM' can be dated from Long Beach 1975.
Rebuilt in 2004 by John and Graham Collins Fabrications (Santa Ana, CA). Collins continued to prepare the car for Wilson through to 2011. Graham reports that the tub has been reskinned and new suspension built as the car has been developed.
Car 2: The second Cannon March, known as '75AM', was crashed while testing in California in January 1977 and parts were used in the third March, the 1978 car described below.
Car 3: A "new" car, described during the 1978 Australian Rothmans series as:
The bit about it being the "Flammina" car (i.e. the 76A) is highly unlikely. The "73B" notation is also incorrect, as that was a Formula Atlantic car. However, we can believe that it was a new car, replacing the original 1975 '75 AM'. The donor tub is not possible to trace at this point and this car should probably be regarded as '75 AM/2'.
Subsequent history unknown but later sold to Graham Ritter and stripped of engine, gearbox corners, wheels and instruments. The tub was last seen on its way to New Zealand. It would be reasonable to regard this car as no longer in existence.
In March 2007, a car claiming this history was auctioned by Shannons in Australia. The car is said by Shannons to have gone via Ritter in 1977 to three further owners in 1979, 1986 and 2002.
Shannons' description of this car is available here.
Built for 1973 season (yellow). Gus Hutchison: raced in US 1973; presumably formed basis of '73A/741' first seen October 1974 - Horst Kroll: raced in US 1975 - Geoff Davie: raced in US 1976, not used 1977, advertised in Autoweek (3 Feb 1978) - Ray Reimer: used in SCCA FA 1978, used at Indy 500 (DNQ) and in some later USAC races in 1979 by John O'Hanlon's team. Advertised by O'Hanlon in February 1982.
Acquired at some point by Bill Tempero, previously the owner of 73A/4, and sold, in bits, to Pete Klain. Sold by Klain to Dave Smith (Patterson, CA) in Sep or Oct 1987. Subsequent history unknown but the original 73A tub and the replacement 741 tub appear to have parted company. Deane Tank (Naperville, IL) has a March 741 in US vintage racing (as of Dec 2005) that is clearly the ex-Indy 500 car as it has the USAC tanks and tech stickers from 1979/80.
|'741' with Deane Tank (US) 2005|
|March 73A/4||Built for 1973 season (black/alum). Bob Lazier: raced in US 1973 (two races; crashed at R2 Laguna Seca 6 May 1973 and replaced by Lola T330) - Bill Tempero: raced in US 1974 - Jim Gustafson (Bessemer, Michigan): raced in US 1975, SCCA FA 1978, Can-Am 1979 (1 race: Road America + 1 DNS: Brainerd), Can-Am 1980 (1 race: Brainerd) ... Chuck Haines - Mike Engstrand (Minnesota) 1982: rebodied as GTP and raced in amateur events and in Brainerd Can-Am 22 Jul 1984 - David Hall (Kansas City): disassembled - Chuck Haines: retained 2000. The original tub from Lazier's 1973 accident may now be with Russ Neice (Columbus, Ohio). It is claimed that the car was rebuilt on a F1 731 chassis after Lazier's accident and this possibility cannot be ignored.||Chuck Haines (US) 2000|
|March 73A/5||Built for 1973 season (black). Clive Baker: raced in UK 1973, UK 1974. Advertised by Baker May and June 1974 and 6 Feb 1975. In July 1975, it was said to have "gone north for hillclimbing". Subsequent history unknown. The "ex-Baker" car was sold by a Jerseyman (Channel Islands) to Rob Romeril (Jersey) [date unknown] - Nick Crossley (Sussex UK) 2000: rebuilt and raced in UK historic F5000 series 2001. Sold to Peter Dunn (UK) July 2005. Retained 2007.||Peter Dunn (UK) 2007|
|March 73A/6||Built for 1973 season (red). Sold to Skip Barber as a kit of spares. This could be the origin of the "duplicate" car, 75AM/2, built by John Cannon some time around 1977.||Unknown|
Also, Ray Allen was said to have ordered a 73A to run in the British GP (at a time when their were fanciful rumours that the GP may be held to libre rules). Just after the GP, such a car was advertised by Ecurie Santos (Jock Topin) and remained in his adverts into 1974.
By mid-1974, Ecurie Santos was advertising a "1973/74 Santos March F5000" with "95% brand new parts", an "ex-Cannon 73A" (the 72A rebuilt to 73 spec?) and a 721 "modified to accept Chev".
Early in 1975, Ashtune Race Hire (Ashton, Essex) advertised that they had a March 73A for the 1975 season. A month later, a "March F5000 built from all new parts, never raced" was advertised by Peter Vernon-Kell (London) and then, six weeks after that, a "73A" was run at the Scammonden hill climb (3 May 1975) by Simon and Ed Clarke. Both the Vernon-Kell advert and the Autosport report on Scammonden are accompanied by photographs and the cars are strikingly similar. Would this then be the car advertised by "Simon" in Weatherby in Autosport in October 1978?
Other "73A" adverts include Lynx Engineering's "F1/F5000 car" in June 1977 and Mick Hill's "March 73A Formula Atlantic/Formula 5000 rolling chassis in Autosport in April 1979. So any of these could also be the car advertised by Bobby Howlings (AMCO Racing) in Autosport in June 1980. The "Formula Atlantic/Formula 5000 rolling chassis" part of Hill's advert hints at an ex-Topin car. Lancashire wheeler-dealer John Brannigan advertises "March F5000 73/A No 7" in April 1983 noting that it has a dummy engine and has been used as a display. This may be the car listed above as 73A/5 which is said to have "gone north" and is reported to have worn the chassis plate 73A/7.
Also possibly relevant to the story is the '1974 March F1/F5000/Libre Brand new and unused' advertised in February 1976 with a photo in by Ron Beaty (Hampton in Arden) with bodywork that looks more like a 73A than a 74A.
Ray Gibbs says he bought two 73As from Jock Topin in the late 1970s. Both of these are covered below.
The unknown cars
'the McNeil car'
|Road America historian Tom Schultz has pointed out that Larry McNeil (Palos Park, IL) drove a March 73A at the Road America L&M round in 1973. Although he was entered in a Lola T192, the car McNeil raced from 1974 to 1977, Schultz' photo certainly appears to show a March. It is possibly that this is Lazier's 73A/4, repaired after its Laguna Seca accident. Nothing more is known of this car.||Unknown|
| March '73A'
'the first Gibbs car'
|Reported to have been bought from Jock Topin's Ecurie Santos (Watford, UK) and imported to Australia by Ray Gibbs (Victoria) in 1978 - Terry Healy (Aus) 2000 - Rick Hall (UK) 2000 - Roger Cowman (UK) 2001. Later to Mike Wrigley and then exchanged with John Henderson for a Lola T88/00 Indy car some time before 2005. The car is believed to be the John Cannon 725 which was then loaned to John Gunn while his 73A was being built. The car is marked "AM 725/13X" and "ESR1 73A", which is consistent with this history.||John Henderson (UK) 2005|
'the second Gibbs car'
|Graham Smith (Australia) 2009|
'the Hagstrom car'
Bought from Walter Hagstrom (Laguna Niguel, CA) in Dec 1988 by Michael Duncan. Said to be ex-Cannon, possibly '75AM'. Michael Duncan recalls:
Sold by Duncan to Ernie Spada about a year later. Paperwork with the car says it was sold by Duncan to Joe Carr then to Ernie Spada Jr then to Yancheck. Spada bought the car as tub, body, engine and gearbox and had it restored. Raced by Yanchek (#9 '73 March F1/F5000') at HSR Mid-Ohio Aug 1993. Sold by Yanchek to Dr VJ Mallya June 2005. Retained January 2011.
|VJ Mallya (in US) 2011|
'the Kenny Smith car'
|Bought as "a basic unrestored tub and some running gear" from Kenny Smith (NZ) by John Mackinlay (Auckland, NZ) in 2001. Like so many March F5000s of this period, it is said to be ex-Cannon but this car also has a chassis plate stamped 73A/2. John has had the car restored by Bob Needham of Diversified Engineering into the spec of Cannon's 1972 March 72A-Oldsmobile. It is now fitted with a 4.4-litre Aluminium Oldsmobile V8 and 721 bodywork. Raced by Mackinlay in the Formula 5000 Tasman Cup Revival at the Australian GP meeting 28 Mar 2009.||John Mackinlay (NZ) 2009|
it is reported that Richard Parkin has the earlier March 72A.
A note on chassis number identification
The chassis numbers used here are taken from March factory records and provided by Adam Ferrington.
|March 73A/1||John Gunn||White|
|March 73A/2||Skip Barber||Red|
|March 73A/3||Gus Hutchison||Yellow|
|March 73A/4||Bob Lazier||Black/Alum|
|March 73A/5||Clive Baker||Black|
|March 73A/6||Skip Barber||Red||Kit of spares|
These histories last updated on 13 November, 2012 .