I was pleasantly surprised by your February ‘The One That Got Away’ article. It referred to Bobby Unser’s Penske PC7, the car that lost fourth gear and cost him the 1979 Indianapolis 500.
The car, chassis 002, is currently undergoing restoration by my father, brother and myself.
It has a storied history of running in two additional Indianapolis 500s (1980 and ’81) with Fletcher Racing: in 1980, Spike Gelhausen started fourth and was classified 29th after crashing out early while running in the lead group; 1981 saw Bob Lazier (father of Buddy) start 13th and finish 19th, retiring with engine failure.
Jamieson Racing entered with engine PC7-002 in the 1982 500. However, the car failed to get up to a competitive qualifying speed with drivers Gelhausen and Lee Kunzman.
My family purchased it in the spring of 1995. It was still in the Jamieson livery, but the previous owner had had the Cosworth DFX replaced with a stock-block.
We are in the process of putting the car back to its original Team Penske-Cosworth Norton Spirit configuration. Through our own research, and with expert guidance from Penske Restoration’s Bernie King, PC7-002 is on its way to being returned to its original factory specifications; Indy legend, A J Watson, was able to provide us with the proper-spec ’79 DFX Turbo.
As a family, we have enjoyed ChampCar racing since 1965, and it is our ultimate thrill to own these interesting pieces of racing history and help contribute to their documented preservation.
I am, Yours etc, Brian Brown, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA