Friday, December 15, 2017
Sports

A winning bid for this Indy racer has a catch

The Gooding and Co. classic-car auction is usually dominated by post-World War II European sports cars from Ferrari, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, or prewar classics from the likes of Rolls-Royce and Duesenberg.

But at this year's auction on Jan. 29 in Scottsdale, Ariz., bidders will find an even more unusual item for sale: Lot 47 is the Dallara-Honda driven to victory in the 2014 Indianapolis 500 by Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Andretti Autosport, a leading IndyCar team, currently owns the car and is offering it with a catch: The new owner must allow Andretti Autosport to continue racing the car through the 2018 season. After that, the new owner can take delivery of the car. Or what is left of it.

The rough-and-tumble sport of IndyCar racing is generally not too kind to the machines that race in it. Most end up crashed before the projected end of their useful lives.

Still, David Gooding, the auction house's president, said, "The sale of this lot is unprecedented in modern motorsports."

He said the car might fetch $600,000 to $750,000 — or more.

After the 2018 IndyCar season, Andretti Autosport is promising to "restore and repair" Hunter-Reay's car in its period-correct 2014 livery, according to the Gooding auction prospectus. The exception is the Honda race engine, which is owned by the manufacturer.

Since the engine is an integral component of the car's structure, the owner could receive the car in pieces. And the Dallara-Honda is not, nor could it be made to be, street-legal.

To assuage the disappointment of having to wait three years to receive the inoperable, engineless, obsolete chassis, Andretti Autosport is throwing in two season-long participant credentials for the IndyCar series races at which the team enters the car through 2018.

Andretti and Hunter-Reay are scheduled to attend the auction and present the winning bidder with the bill of sale. An undisclosed reserve price below $600,000 could prevent the sale from being consummated if bids do not exceed that price.

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