March 74B car-by-car histories
The 1974 March 74B sold in significantly lower numbers than its predecessor, as March faced greater competition in Formula Atlantic from Chevron and Lola. Bobby Brown was the only 74B driver to win a championship round on either side of the Atlantic.
After the relative success of the March 73B in Formula B/Atlantic, and the outstanding success of the BMW-powered March 732 in Formula 2, there were no major changes to the new Formula Atlantic March 74B for 1974. A huge number of detail changes were listed, including Koni adjustable dampers, Aeroquip brake and clutch lines, Willans seat belts and a Varley green top battery, but in bodywork terms, the changes were subtle, with a reprofiled nose including a deeper splitter, faired roll-hoop and what was described as a low-drag engine cover. The changes to the cockpit surround were hard to spot. Under the skin, the monocoque appears to have been identical. The oil tank had been moved from directly behind the gearbox on the 73B to the side of the gearbox on the 74B, a move dictated by a change to FIA regulations for F2. One big change was that the Canadian series had moved from Formula B rules to Formula Atlantic rules, allowing the Ford BDA engine, and bringing it in line with the British championship, leaving the amateur SCCA Formula B category as the last redoubt of the Ford twin cam.
The first 74B was shown in November 1973 and went to Ted Wentz, an American competing in the British championship with wholehearted support from Wella International Hair Cosmetics. No other 74B was sold for the British series, and most went to Canada for the booming Players championship, where the Chevron B27 proved a marginally superior option.
Even before the March 74Bs started to race, the March works Formula 2 team appeared with radically modified 742s, the cars having side radiators, a longer nose based on the Formula 1 car, and the F1 car's front end including brakes. This configuration was quickly seized upon by the Formula Atlantic runners, with Tom Greatorex's hire car for Syd Demovsky being one of the first to be converted to the new nose and radiator positions, the new F2 rear wing mounting frame following later. At the third race, Gilles Villeneuve had a new car to the latest specification, and two further cars that appeared for guest drivers at Trois-Rivières at the end of the season went further by adding the F2 cars' deformable structure sidepods. In July, March US agent Joe Grimaldi flew out Ray Wardell, who managed March's works F2 team, to help develop the 74Bs.
New to Ted Wentz (Philadelphia, PA) and raced in the 1974 British Formula Atlantic season. To New Zealander Alan Crocker, who had moved to England to race in the 1975 British series, but a blown engine curtailed his season. Used occasionally in the 1976 Indylantic series and in libre racing. Croker took the car to New Zealand and raced it in the 1977 Formula Pacific series, then sold it there to Ken Smith, who rented it to Ken Sager to drive in the 1977/78 Gold Star series, and to Robbie Booth for the 1978/79 season. It reappeared with Robbie Hislop in 1981/82, then to Tony Batchelor for 1982/83. Last seen when raced by Keith Laney in 1984/85, and sold by him back to Kenny Smith some time before 1988. Later sold by Smith to Richard Carter in Australia to donate parts to Carter's rebuild of March 73B/8. The remains of the car were sold with the 73B to George Makin (Melbourne, Australia) about 2005. Reported to still be with Andrew Makin in February 2020.
Driven by: Ted Wentz, Alan Crocker, Ken Sager, Robbie Booth, Robbie Hislop, Tony Batchelor and Keith Laney. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 10 Mar 1974. Total of 38 recorded races.
A red March 74B sold to US March agent Joe Grimaldi. This had previously been thought to be the car Joe Grimaldi raced himself in early 1974, and then hired out, but that is now believed to be a 73B. The colour suggests 74B/2 could be the mystery 74B raced by Jackie Cooper from 1974 to 1976. Nothing more known.
According to March importer Joe Grimaldi, when interviewed by Kevan McLurg in 2020, Ecurie Canada had two 74Bs in 1974, one at the start of the season and another - in works F2 bodywork - later on. If that is correct, 74B/3 must be the car sold new to Ecurie Canada, and raced by Gilles Villeneuve (Berthierville, Quebec, Canada) at the start of the Players Canadian Formula Atlantic season with Schweppes sponsorship. This car had standard 74B bodywork and a front radiator.
At the second race, at Edmonton on 2 June, Chuck Hansen (Tenafly, NJ) joined the Ecurie Canada team and practiced but did not start the race. It would appear that a newer car, 74B/13, had arrived at that race for Villeneuve, and Hansen took over the older 74B/3. This older car was also present at Gimli on 16 June with Hansen's name on the side, was entered by Ecurie Canada for Hansen at Mosport Park, and then was raced by Hansen at Sanair in mid-July, where he crashed. The car then appears to have passed back into the possession of March importer Joe Grimaldi, and was raced as a Race Shop entry by Dale Lang at Road America in late August. It was then updated to the latest F2 specification for George Follmer to drive as an Ecurie Canada entry at Trois-Rivières when it was described as a second Schweppes March 74B originally meant for Hans Stuck. Raced by Bertil Roos at Watkins Glen in October, then hired by Grimaldi to Eric Kerman for the SCCA Runoffs.
Sold by Grimaldi to Tom Pumpelly and run for him by Cavanaugh Racing (Ambler, PA) at the opening two races of 1975, but he failed to start either race. Then thought to have gone with Pumpelly to Doug Shierson Racing and photographs indicate that the 74B was updated to 75B specification for him. As he advertised the car in January 1976 as a "74-75B", "ex-Follmer/Roos", the strong impression is that the 75B provided for him by Doug Shierson was actually his 74B updated to the latest specification.
Photographs clearly show that this car then went to Peter Dodge (New York, NY/Stamford, CT), who raced a March in SCCA Nationals, mainly at Lime Rock, in 1976, and also in the IMSA Formula Atlantic race at Mid-Ohio in August 1976. Dodge advertised the car in April 1978, and it was bought from him by Omer Norton, who was told by Dodge that it was ex-Villeneuve. Norton recalls the car as being chassis 74B-3. He owned it from 1978 to 1983 and sold it to Ed Capullo (Norwich, CT), who Norton reports crashed it at Lime Rock in 1984 and sold it off for parts. Capullo, talking to Kevan McLurg in May 2020, confirmed this story: he had bought the car from Norton in several boxes and had built the car up, only to heavily damage it in a test at Lime Rock, tearing the front off the car. He sold it all for parts, recovering his investment, but cannot recall who bought the monocoque.
Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Gilles Villeneuve, Charles "Chuck" Hansen, Dale Lang, George Follmer, Bertil Roos, Eric Kerman, Tom Pumpelly, Peter Dodge and Omer Norton. First race: Westwood (R1), 26 May 1974. Total of 19 recorded races.
A dark blue 74B sold by March to US agent Joe Grimaldi. The car's history in 1974, 1975 and 1976 is unknown, but by 1977 chassis 74B/4 was being raced in NEDiv events by John Macaluso (Buffalo area, NY). Macaluso raced it until 1979, advertising it in July 1979 as a "74/77B" with Hart engine. Ron Rogers bought it in September 1979 when it was in chisel-nose, side-radiator form, and returned it to original front radiator specification. Still with Rogers in August 2021.
Driven by: John Macaluso. First race: Nelson Ledges, 20 Aug 1978. Total of 4 recorded races.
Sold by March to Miguel Coarasa, a Moroccan-born driver of Argentinian-French descent living in the Marseille region of France. Coarasa had raced a March 712M in French hillclimbs in 1973, but had crashed heavily at Côte du Mont-Ventoux in September 1973 and did not race again. It is possible that the 74B was already on order when he decided to retire and was sold on before the start of the season. If so, it may have been the Ford-engined March "742" raced by Régis Péchaire from 1974 to 1976, and later by Michel Turrel from 1977 to 1979. Many years later, the car was acquired by the Musée Gilles-Villeneuve at Berthierville, Quebec, and was repainted in Schweppes livery to represent Villeneuve's 1974 car. The car was on display in partially-restored form in May 2010. It was still on display in the museum in September 2019.
New to Bruce Jensen (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada), and raced by him in the Players Canadian Formula Atlantic series. He competed in all seven rounds of the series, with a best result of second place at Edmonton in June, and took pole position at Sanair in July. He then competed in the Trois-Rivières race in September, and in the two Pro Formula B races later in the season, at Waterford Hills in September, and the US GP support race at Watkins Glen in October. The car was sold for 1975 to Jean Beaulieu (Quebec City, Quebec, Canada), who appeared very briefly at the start of the 1975 series, but he failed to start the opening race after a number of problems that culminated with a rod through the side of the engine. He sold the car to Ron Rogers (Trenton, Ontario), who raced it mostly in club events in 1976 and 1977 before selling it to Jim Close. Rogers ran the car for Close until Close took it back to California. Sold back to Rogers in the early 1990s, and retained until November 2020, when it was sold to Tom Smith of TS Historics (Newbury, Berkshire).
Driven by: Bruce Jensen, Jean Beaulieu and Ron Rogers. First race: Westwood (R1), 26 May 1974. Total of 11 recorded races.
A lightweight car sold to Chris Cramer (Stroud, Gloucestershire), and fitted with a Cosworth BDG engine for British hillclimbs. Retained for 1975, when fitted with a 2.2-litre Hart 422R engine. Then to Martyn Griffiths (Arley, Worcestershire) for 1976, still with the same Hart engine. For 1977, Griffiths too the car to Mike Pilbeam, and he revamped it as the Pilbeam R28, although it still looked much like a 74B and was entered as a March "74P". He won five of the first eight rounds of the British series, and finished second overall. It was completely revamped again by Pilbeam for 1978, now dubbed the "Pilbeam G78", with new side panels, nose and rear wing, and Griffiths again won five rounds. To John Barratt (Garstang, Lancashire), who fitted a 1600cc Cosworth FVA and entered it as the Pilbeam R28. To Alan Newton (Clitheroe, Lancashire) in 1982, when it was described as a Pilbeam MP28, then to Martin Brockhouse (Leeds, West Yorkshire) to use in sprints in 1983. It then appears to have returned to Newton, and was raced by him in 1984 and 1985, but in either 1985 or 1986, Newton crashed it into a tree at Doune. The car was rebuilt by Newton using a set of plans provided by Mike Pilbeam, and was sold by him to Peter Varley in 1987. By this time the car was almost unrecognisable as a 74B, and varley says there was little of the original car left. Varley later fitted a 2000cc Ford YB engine, and ran the car until he retired. It was then bought back by Alan Newton once again, and has been retained by his sons.
Driven by: Chris Cramer, Martyn Griffiths, Mike MacDowel, John Barratt, Alan Newton, Martin Brockhouse and Peter Varley. First race: Prescott (R1), 31 Mar 1974. Total of 114 recorded races.
New to Dave Morris (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) and raced by him in the Players Canadian Formula Atlantic series until a major accident at Mosport Park in July. Morris rebuilt the car with a new monocoque from March, and advertised it as an unraced 75B in October 1975. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Dave Morris. First race: Westwood (R1), 26 May 1974. Total of 4 recorded races.
New to Bobby Brown (Hicksville, NY) and raced in the British Formula Atlantic series at the start of the year, then moving to North America in May for the Canadian Players series. In June, Brown acquired a new Chevron B27, and the March was traded to Fred Opert as part of the deal. However, Brown demolished the Chevron in September and used a 74B, presumably this one, to completely dominate an SCCA National at Bridgehampton on 22 September. Advertised by Opert in June and November 1975, and shown as "in stock" in November 1975, with a comment that it had not raced since June 1974. Next seen in late 1978 and again in late 1979, when raced by Peter Moodie (Kingston, Jamaica) in a series of Jamaica National Championship races. Subsequent history unknown
Driven by: Bobby Brown, David Morgan and Peter Moodie. First race: Brands Hatch (R2), 17 Mar 1974. Total of 12 recorded races.
The early history of this car is unknown, but it may be the car raced by Gilles Léger (Lachute, Quebec) from Mosport Park in July 1974 onwards. By 1980 it was owned by Bob Roy ( Montréal, Quebec, Canada) and was being used in Can-Am. The car later went to Mauro Lanaro (Montréal, Quebec), and was raced by him in Can-Am then CAT races from 1984 to 1987. At some point, Lanaro found the monocoque had bent due to the Can-Am car's downforce, and replaced the tub with that of 74B/12. The tub and associated parts from 74B/10 remained with Lanaro until he sold his remaining stock to David Clubine (Brantford, Ontario) in 2018. Still with David in February 2020.
Driven by: Bob Roy and Mauro Lanaro. First race: Watkins Glen (Can-Am R4), 5 Jul 1980. Total of 22 recorded races.
A white March 74B sold to US March agent Joe Grimaldi. The colour suggests it could be the mystery 74B raced by Don Breidenbach (Oakland, CA) in the latter part of 1974. Nothing more known.
A midnight blue March 74B sold to US March agent Joe Grimaldi. The first owner of this car is unknown, but as its earliest known location is Montréal, it is likely to have been the car run out of Montréal by Tom Greatorex for Syd Demovsky in 1974, then the car raced by Peter Broeker from Montréal in 1975. The history of the car is unknown until some time in the mid-1980s when Mauro Lanaro (Montréal, Quebec) used it to rebuild his Can-Am car, originally built using 74B/10. David Clubine, who bought up Lanaro's stock in 2018, reports that the Can-Am car was sold to Ed Delong "in the late 1980s or very early 1990s", and that Delong later sold it to Alex Quattlebaum (Charleston, South Carolina). It was then bought by Mike Burnley (NSW, Australia) some time around 2008, still in Can-Am specification. Sold to Bryan Miller and David Kent in January 2013. Still with Bryan and David in October 2018.
A yellow March 74B sold to US agent Joe Grimaldi in "semi kit" form. This appears to have been the car raced by Ecurie Canada driver Gilles Villeneuve at Edmonton at the start of June, after which the car was converted to the latest F2 specification, which involved moving the main radiator to the left side of the engine, a new extended nose, and a rear wing 18 inches further back. Villeneuve raced it in this form at Gimli , but then wrecked it at Mosport Park in July. A new car was built out of the wreck and was raced by David Loring at Sanair and St Johns later that month. Villeneuve returned to the car to race it at Halifax, Trois-Rivières and Watkins Glen. Subsequent history unknown but Joe Grimaldi told Kevan McLurg in April 2020 that the car came back to Grimaldi and he sold it to a farmer in the Midwest, who also acquired a spare tub at the same time.
Driven by: Gilles Villeneuve and David Loring. First race: Edmonton (R2), 2 Jun 1974. Total of 8 recorded races.
Unidentified March 74Bs in 1974
The first owners of a number of these cars can be identified from March records. The customer for 74B/1 was said to be "Planer", 74B/5 went to "Coarasa", 74B/7 to "Cramer", and 74B/9 to "Brown". 74B/8 went to "Canada", and as it was the only green 74B, we can be confident this means Dave Morris. Also, 74B/6 has a continuous history to its current owner and still has its chassis plate, so we know that was Bruce Jensen's car. The other seven went to Joe Grimaldi, but we can be confident that the two yellow ones, 74B/3 and 74B/13, were the Schweppes-sponsored Ecurie Canada cars.
That leaves five cars that remain a puzzle: 74B/2, 74B/4, 74B/10, 74B/11 and 74B/12. It is likely that the red 74B/2 is the car that Jackie Cooper raced in the opening Regional race of the Midwest Division season and at four more races that season. There is strong circumstantial evidence that 74B/10 was the car raced by Québécois Gilles Léger from Mosport Park in July 1974 onwards. Two of the others will be the white car that went to Californian Don Breidenbach and the blue/white car run by Tom Greatorex of Montréal for Syd Demovsky. That leaves one unaccounted for. Two other mystery cars appeared in 1974 that were described as 74Bs, even though it is possible they were something else: the cars of Patrick Depailler, and the British Multiglide team. Depailler guest-drove a car at Trois-Rivières in September which could well have been a 74B, but it is distinctly possible that it was built for Depailler using a 742 chassis or even a 732, in which case it would probably not appear in the 74B production numbers. Multiglide had several cars during 1974, one of which was described as a 74B, but it looks likely it was an older car updated, a 722 or even a 712M. So, as things stand, we cannot account for one of the 74Bs. If colours are a good guide, it is one of the two midnight-blue cars, 74B/4 and 74B/12, that is missing.
Jackie B. Cooper (Valley Park, Kansas) drove a March 74B in MidWest Division SCCA races in 1974. Cooper was a a 42-year-old commodity broker, and member of Wichita Region, who had joined the SCCA in 1970 and raced Formula Ford and FSV before acquiring the 74B. He scored a total 20 points in Nationals, for two second places and two third places. He did not race in 1975, but was third in the Division in 1976, scoring 40 points. Unknown between 1977 and 1980, but it reappeared with John Saucier (Midwest City, Oklahoma) in 1981, still in Cooper's livery. Saucier raced it in Midwest Division Formula Atlantic between 1981 and 1984, after which it may have gone to Ron McKinsey. It is believed to have turned up in Belgium many years later, in 742 specification.
Driven by: Jackie Cooper and John Saucier. First race: Mid-America Raceway, 19 May 1974. Total of 15 recorded races.
Don Breidenbach (Oakland, CA) raced a white March 74B in SCCA National and later in Pro races in 1974 but early that season his car was described as a 732 so this 74B may have been a mid or late-season replacement for the older car. Retained for the early 1975 race at Riverside and then sold to Bob Gledhill (Utah). Somehow the deal with Gledhill unwound because Breidenbach advertised the car again at the end of 1975, alongside his newer 75B. Jeff Alkana (Azusa, CA) recalls buying it from Breidenbach and he raced it in SCCA events in early 1976. Alkana then bought Breidenbach's newer 75B and he recalls selling the 74B to Jim Van Horn (Orange, CA). However, Van Horn drove an older March 71BM updated to 76B from 1977 to 1980. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Don Breidenbach, Bob Gledhill and Jeffrey Alkana. First race: Riverside, 26 May 1974. Total of 18 recorded races.
Syd Demovsky (Chicago, IL) raced a March 74B run by Tom Greatorex in the 1974 Players Canadian Formula Atlantic series. From the start of the season, the car was in works F2 configuration with side radiators. The nose, cockpit and engine cover at the first race were white, but the tub sides were a darker colour, suggesting that the car was originally one of the dark blue cars. Raced by Demovsky in all Players rounds in Canada in 1974, and also in the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières. Subsequent history unknown, but based on its colour, specification, and location in Canada, it is likely to be the Peter Broeker car in 1975.
Driven by: Syd Demovsky. First race: Westwood (R1), 26 May 1974. Total of 7 recorded races.
Gilles Léger (Lachute, Quebec) raced a white #72 March 74B in the second half of the 1974 season, first appearing at Mosport Park in early July. To Reg Scullion (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Montreal, Quebec) in time for the Trois-Rivières race in September. Also raced by Scullion at Watkins Glen in October, when it was described as being red/white/blue, and at a couple of races in 1975. Scullion was sponsored by Peter Overing's Dicom shipping company. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Gilles Léger and Reg Scullion. First race: Sanair (R5), 14 Jul 1974. Total of 5 recorded races.
Patrick Depailler raced a March 74B at Trois-Rivières in September 1974. Autosport described it as the car tested earlier in England by Jim Crawford, but now set to full Formula 2 specification. Canadian Motorsport Bulletin described it as the ex-Coulon 'slave' March 732, but photographs show it with the same rear wing and oil tank used on the works F2 March 742s. A photograph also shows that it was raced by Lang in the US GP support race at Watkins Glen in October. The car then went to Formula Ford graduate Tom Sauerbrei (Fresno, CA), who had an excellent season in the "742" in SCCA Regionals and Nationals in 1975, winning the regional title. After that season, it was rebuilt to 75B specification and leased to Johnnie Crean (San Juan Capistrano, CA), the 27-year-old son of former racer John C Crean, who raced it in two IMSA Formula Atlantic races in California in May 1976, and later in SCCA Nationals and Regionals. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Patrick Depailler, Dale Lang, Tom Sauerbrei and Johnnie Crean. First race: Trois-Rivières, 1 Sep 1974. Total of 18 recorded races.
Mike Sullivan Racing started the 1974 Formula Atlantic season with a well-used ex-Jean-Pierre Jaussaud/ex-Colin Andrews March 712M fitted with Falconer bodywork and entered for Richard Robinson. Multiglide then provided funding, and successful Australian F3 driver Alan Jones was persuaded to drive it. Astonishingly, he won his first race in it, but then walked out, describing the car as "hopelessly unprepared". Jones had been promised a March 74B, and after an upgraded March 722 was used at a couple of races by replacement driver Richard Knight, something resembling a 74B arrived for John Sheldon to drive at two late-season races. What this car was remains unclear, but this "74B" was then sold to Norman Dickson (Perth, Scotland), who was successful with it in libre racing in 1975, but off the pace in his few Atlantic races. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: John Sheldon and Norman Dickson. First race: Oulton Park (R14), 6 Oct 1974. Total of 11 recorded races.
Unidentified March 74Bs in 1975
Of the ten March 74Bs delivered to North America, seven can be traced into 1975. Of the identified cars: Joe Grimaldi's yellow hire car 74B/3 went to Tom Pumpelly; Bruce Jensen's 74B/6 went to Jean Beaulieu; Dave Morris's 74B/8 was being rebuilt after a major accident; and Bobby Brown's 74B/9 was for sale with Fred Opert in June 1975. Of the mystery cars, which must include 74B/2, 74B/4, 74B/10, 74B/11 and 74B/12, Jackie Cooper's was retained; Don Breidenbach's car went to Bob Gledhill and then to Jeff Alkana; Gilles Léger's car went to Reg Scullion; and Patrick Depailler's car went to Tom Sauerbrei.
This leaves two that cannot be tracked into 1975: the car that Tom Greatorex on Montréal ran for Chicago dentist Syd Demovsky; and the yellow Schweppes/Ecurie Canada/Villeneuve 74B/13, both of which were converted to "F2" specification during 1974. Grimaldi recalls selling the latter car to a farmer in the Mid-West.
Three unidentified 74Bs ran in 1975: the cars of Canadian veteran Peter Broeker, New Yorker car-sharers John Mortensen and Rick Wellner, and Cal Club Regional Executive Oz Pohl. Pohl's car can probably be discounted, as there is reason to believe that it was Richard Paul's 73B-based car. Broeker's car had the later 742-style nose and used a Greatorex engine, which would be consistent with it being either the ex-Demovsky car or the Ecurie Canada 74B/13. The Mortensen/Wellner car was blue, and it was entered by them as a 742B, implying a 74B updated to 742 (side-radiator/long nose) specification. It is possible that they had the blue 74B/4 after it was used in minor events in 1974 so has not yet been spotted. However, it remains possible that they had the Bobby Brown car, then in stock at Fred Opert's.
There are other possibilities, as Ecurie Canada may have kept their old 74B as a spare car for Bertil Roos in 1975.
Peter Broeker (Pointe-Claire, Montréal, Quebec, Canada) raced a black-and-white #21 March 74B at several rounds of the Players Canadian Formula Atlantic series in 1975. Photographs show that the car had a 742 nose, so side radiators. He also made a couple of entries in 1976 in a car described only as a Stebro, which could well have been the same March. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Peter W. Broeker. First race: Mont-Tremblant (R4), 6 Jul 1975. Total of 2 recorded races.
John Mortensen (New York, NY) and Rick Wellner (New York, NY) shared a blue March 74B in SCCA Nationals and Regionals in 1975. The car was entered by Karaba Racing Enterprises as a March 742B, indicating a 74B that had been updated to 742 specification. This was previously thought to have been the ex-Bobby Brown 74B, but a Fred Opert stock list in November 1975 said that the ex-Brown car had not been raced since June 1974. This car may have been traded to Opert when Mortensen bought a new March 76B for 1976.
Driven by: Rick Wellner and John Mortensen. First race: Bryar Motorsport Park, 25 May 1975. Total of 4 recorded races.
Eric "Ozzie" Pohl (Santa Ana, CA) drove a March 74B or March 742 in several SCCA Regionals at Willow Springs and Riverside in late 1975, starting with the Labor Day Regional where he failed to start. Pohl appeared again at Riverside in February 1976. Tom Sauerbrei also raced in the Willow Springs race, so Pohl cannot have been in his car. The other car in that area that was regularly described as a 742, Richard Paul's 722- or 73B-based car, is a possibility, and Paul recalls that it may have been Pohl that bought his car. Nothing more known. Oz Pohl, who was at the time the newly elected and highly effective Regional Executive for Cal Club Region, died suddenly in May 1976.
Driven by: Ozzie Pohl. First race: Willow Springs, 5 Oct 1975. Total of 3 recorded races.
Unidentified March 74Bs from 1976 onwards
Only four of the ten North American 74Bs can be tracked past the end of the 1975 season: of the identified cars Tom Pumpelly's 74B/3 went to Peter Dodge and the ex-Bruce Jensen 74B/6 was with Ron Rogers; and of the unidentified cars, Jackie Cooper raced through 1976, and Tom Sauerbrei rebuilt his ex-Patrick Depailler car to 75B specification and leased it to Johnnie Crean.
The others had all faded from sight by the start of the main SCCA season: Tom Greatorex's ex-Syd Demovsky mystery car and the Ecurie Canada/Gilles Villeneuve 74B/13 had both disappeared after 1974; Dave Morris's 74B/8 had disappeared, but was probably now called a 75B; and the ex-Bobby Brown 74B/9 had recently been in stock with Opert. Of the unidentified cars, Jeff Alkana raced his ex-Don Breidenbach car very early in the 1976 Californian season after which it disappeared; and Reg Scullion's ex-Gilles Léger car vanished at the end of 1975. None of the 1975 mysteries, Peter Broeker's, John Mortensen's and Ozzie Pohl's, were seen again after that season (or very early 1976 in Pohl's case). So that's a daunting six 74Bs untraced in North America in 1976, plus Morris's now in 75B guise.
At least one further mystery 74B appeared in 1976: Bob Tracy in Oregon appears to have acquired the ex-Breidenbach car. John Bernadine's "742" in Oklahoma cannot after all have been the ex-James King March 73B, so that is a mystery, and on the subject of Oklahoma, Fred Lee's March in Tulsa is also a mystery in 1976. Also, Richard Ralls in Chicago Region had a car towards the end of the 1976 season that is thought to have been a 74B.
John Bernadine (Tulsa, OK) raced a March "742" in SCCA Southwest Division Nationals early in the 1976 season. He advertised the car in June 1976, together with two fresh Nicholson BDAs, and again in July 1977, when the advert showed it wearing 74B bodywork.
Driven by: John Bernadine. First race: Chennault Field (Lake Charles Airfield), 7 Feb 1976. Total of 2 recorded races.
Bob Tracy (Hillsboro, OR) acquired a March 74B with BDA engine to race in ICSCC events in 1976. The car was acquired for him by Sans Thompson, who recalls that it came from Don Breidenbach. He appeared again with the car in early 1977. Subsequent history unknown, but likely to be the orange #32 74B entered by Tom Black (Lake Oswego, OR) for the Rose Cup Races in 1980.
Driven by: Bob Tracy. First race: Portland International Raceways, 12 Jun 1976. Total of 5 recorded races.
Dick Ralls (Lake Bluff, IL) raced a March in Central Division Formula B towards the end of the 1976 season, and again in 1977. He had raced a Formula C Beech up the end of August, so the car may have been an end-of-season purchase. The March has not been identified, but is believed to have been a March 74B. He advertised it, complete with an unusual Bertils BDA in April 1977 as a "1975 March".
Driven by: Dick Ralls. First race: Indianapolis Raceway Park, 19 Sep 1976. Only one recorded race.
Wally Farrell (San Bernardino, CA) raced a Formula B March in SCCA events in California in 1977, and appeared on entry lists at least in 1978. The car was black, wore #95, had 75B-ish sidepods, and a cockpit surround that appears the same as the one created by Richard Paul for his 73B-derived March bitza in 1975. The front of Farrell's tub shows that it had a 1973 or 1974 monocoque. The nose appears to be a works F2 742 nose. This may be the "742" that Ozzie Pohl ran in late 1975 and early 1976, which Paul believes he may have sold to Pohl. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Wally Farrell. First race: Riverside, 13 Feb 1977. Total of 9 recorded races.
Joe Henry (Sacramento, CA) raced a March in SCCA Formula Atlantic in northern California in 1983 and 1984, and in a WCAR race at Sears Point in 1984. This is believed to be chassis 742-18, the Patrick Depailler F2 car, but it may alternatively be which ever car was built on tub number 742-18, so quite possibly a 74B. As a 74B is much more likely to have been in California in 1983 than a 742, this car is listed as with the 74Bs until more is known of its provenance,
Driven by: Joe Henry. First race: Sears Point, 8 May 1983. Total of 4 recorded races.
In addition to the above, an unknown March 74B was driven by Dave Lowe.
My thanks to Chris Townsend for his diligent work researching these cars, to Richard Paul, Simon Hadfield, Kevan McLurg and Philippe Demeyer for clarifying in detail the differences between the 73B, 74B and 75B Marches, to former Bob Cavanaugh Racing chief mechanic Gary Bell for information on 74B/3, and to Bryan Miller, David McKinney, Dan Rear, Steve Wilkinson, Seann Burgess and David Clubine for information about individual cars. Kevan McLurg also interviewed Joe Grimaldi in April 2020, with appropriate guidance from Chris Townsend, and also contacted previous owner Ed Capullo in May 2020, and my gratitude to all four of them for the information uncovered. Also to former 74B owners and racers Miguel Coarasa, Jeff Alkana, Bob Roy, Ron Rogers and Johnnie Crean for their assistance. Finally, I am most grateful to the staff of the International Motor Racing Research Centre (IMRRC) at Watkins Glen, who provided information from the SCCA's archive of driver registrations.
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