18-19 August 2017

Previous Next

Lot 122

1979 McLaren M24B Indianapolis

  • Chassis no. 001

Sold for $214,500

Please note that this lot is offered on a Bill of Sale.

  • 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

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

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more