Welcome to Who? What? Where? When? Why? on the World Wide Web. Your comments, criticism and suggestions: editors#8w.forix.com (replace # with @).
8W is forix.autosport.com's motorsport history section and covers the drivers, cars, circuits, eras and technology that shaped the face, sounds and smells of motor racing.

Fiasco Italo-Brittanico
Appendix III: March-Alfa Romeo 90CA-related collectables and memorabilia

Author

Date

Related articles

Who?

Roberto Guerrero

What?

Lola-Buick T92/00

Where?

Indianapolis

When?

1994 Indianapolis 500

Why?

As mentioned already, there was a lot of press material available regarding the Patrick team and the March-Alfa in 1990. Funnily enough, both the PR handouts (the poster 'Aerodynamica' and the promocard) did not feature a March 90CA.

However, the March 90CA did appear in some PR material and paperware, released a year after at the Miller 200 race at Milwaukee, the 'home' event for Miller beer, the Patrick team's title sponsor. Given the fact that the 90CA had already been succeeded by two other cars (the Lola T90/00 followed during the second half of 1990, and the team started the 1991 season with the Lola T91/00) one must wonder whether the Miller PR department really had no opportunity to provide pictures of a car that was more promising and successful than the 90CA. The event program did feature a Lola.

 

Two different kind of tickets, valid for the second day of practice for the Milwaukee 200 of 1991. The car on the tickets is, surprise surprise, a 90CA.

Apart from the paperwork, the commemorative event T shirt also featured a black and gold March 90CA.

The March 90CA was on the front side of the 1991 Milwaukee 200 event shirt, a historic CART event. Michael Andretti won the race ahead of father Mario and cousin John, the only occasion in CART's history that the podium was an all-Andretti affair. (photo HG)

Have your own March-Alfa Romeo 90CA

Yes, you can. If you accept the fact that it is a 1:43 lookalike scale model, you can actually have your own March-Alfa Romeo 90CA. Even better, you can have two such cars.

But there are more scale models available of cars related to the Alfa Romeo Indycar project and letís mention these first. With sincerest thanks to Arjan de Roos for supplying the following data and pictures.

Given the large interest for Ferrari among collectors worldwide, there is nothing strange about the Ferrari 637 CART machine being available as 1:43 scale model. In fact, there is some choice too! The Italian company ABC Brianza released a finished version of the car while the Provence Moulage company released two kit versions. The first of these was described as the 'Ferrari Indy 1985 test CART', and was released in December 1998. This was followed up in October 2000 by a kit described as 'Ferrari Indy test CART 1987'. The latter kit differed from the first release by having a different wing arrangement and a detachable engine cover, showing some details of the engine installation.

 

(photos supplied by Arjan de Roos)

Meri Kits has announced releases of the March 89CE and the March 90CA. The 89CE was indeed released but according to Arjan de Roos the 90CA hasn't shown up yet.

Other models of the 90CA have been released though. Onyx Models included the two 90CAs in their set of 24 of the 33 starters in the 1990 500-mile race. The 1990 Indianapolis series was released in Europe early 1991, and all 24 examples were available instantly. They weren't issued in the USA until May 1991.

Though the 90CA model isn't very accurately shaped, it at least has the ramps at the end of the sidepods. The characteristical waste gate exhaust pipe is missing, but the decals are nice colour-wise and fairly accurate.

One of the Onyx 1:43 version of Al Srís 90CA. This is an example of the version as sold in Europe, complete with all the Miller decals. (photo HG)

The Guerrero car has one flaw: it is not the car driven in the race but the one he crashed on May 14. The car he used in the race had 82 on the rollhoop instead of 20 as on the model.

Robertoís car as an Onyx model with all decals applied looked like this. (photo HG)

But even these little 90CAs caused some trouble! Tobacco and alcohol promotion on scale models became forbidden at about 1990. In Europe this law appeared to be applied a bit later. This made Onyx make different versions of some of the cars. According to a US scale-model collector I spoke, only a few of the cars that showed up in the USA carried the full Miller decorations. For a while, the fully liveried Onyx Alfas were among the more valuable cars within the range as sold in the USA. But had things gone according the rules these Onyx models should not have existed to begin with!

In May 1991, I met Paul Bryan of Alfa Romeo PR and chatted with him. I told him that only a few weeks before I had obtained the two 90CA Onyx models. That was impossible according to him since nobody had bought the rights. But after swearing to him that I had them, and showing him examples of the Luyendijk and Foyt Lolas from the same series I had brought along, Bryan went just about ballistic.

He had never been informed of a company wanting to make scale models of the 1990 cars and if this had been done by whatever company, they never had permission to do so. This should have been obtained from the FIAT group since the liveries of the cars were trademarked.

I donít know whether Onyx ever got into trouble with Patrick Racing and/or Alfa Romeo because of this. But if they did Iím afraid Iím partially responsible!

That doesnít take anything away from the fact that the two March Alfas are among the most colorful cars of the 24 cars in Onyx's 1990 starting field.

If that 1990 Miller Genuine Draft livery was trademarked, Onyx made a second Miller car when releasing Bobby Rahalís 1992 Lola, which was also Miller-sponsored. Another illegal production?

So whether it was the real thing or a model, the March-Alfa Romeo 90CA was a major embarrassment if not a disaster to everyone involved in it. A Fiasco Italo-Brittanico indeedÖ