Michael Andretti’s Kraco Indy Car

Michael Andretti's Kraco Indy Car

This 1984 March Indy Cosworth 84C is in the Volo Auto Museum (www.volocars.com in Volo, Ill. It is one of the cars raced by Michael Andretti in his 1984 rookie year. That season, Andretti was ranked seventh in the CART Indy World Series and was named the series “Rookie of the Year.”

Originally, this car was powered by a 161.7-cid Cosworth turbocharged engine that produced 700 hp. That energy was channeled through a five-speed manual gearbox to make a race-winning power team.

Michael Andretti's Kraco Indy Car

In the early 1980s, the best combination to bring to the Indianapolis 500-mile race for some hot competition was a March Cosworth with a chassis by March Engineering and a Cosworth-Ford power plant. During that era, a series of Cosworth-powered cars dominated Indy Car competition. Cars of this type took the 500-mile race starting in 1983 and continuing through 1987.

The March-Cosworth was basically a turn-key entry for any racing team to run in the Indy 500 during that time frame. There were a dozen of these cars at the starting line up at the 1983 version of the “Brickyard Classic.”

Michael Andretti's Kraco Indy Car

A British based engine builder, Cosworth had roots going back to 1958 in London. That’s when Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth founded the firm. The company had a long-standing association with Ford that started with modifying Kent engines for Formula Junior racing. Cosworth also developed engines for Formula B competitors, sports racing cars and street cars like the Lotus Cortina.

The Double Valve Four (DFV4), or “double four-valve,” engine was an iconic Cosworth creation. It was developed at the urging of Colin Chapman of Team Lotus and aimed at the Formula 1 Grand Prix race market. The DFV4 won 167 races over a 20-year period. It is considered a legendary motor.

In 1975, the DFV4 was de-stroked to 161.7-cid. and fitted with a turbocharger. Designated the DFX after that, it became the favorite engine of Indy Car racers and dominated that series throughout the 1980s.

Michael Andretti's Kraco Indy Car

About John Gunnell 104 Articles
John “Gunner” Gunnell has been writing about cars since ‘72. As a kid in Staten Island, N.Y., he played with a tin Marx “Service Garage” loaded with toy vehicles, his favorite being a Hubley hot rod. In 2010, he opened Gunner’s Great Garage, in Manawa, Wis., a shop that helps enthusiasts restore cars. To no one’s surprise, he decorated 3G’s with tin gas stations and car toys. Gunner started writing for two car club magazines. In 1978, publisher Chet Krause hired him at Old Cars Weekly, where he worked from 1978-2008. Hot rodding legend LeRoi “Tex” Smith was his boss for a while. Gunner had no formal journalism training, but working at a weekly quickly taught him the trade. Over three decades, he’s met famous collectors, penned thousands of articles and written over 85 books. He lives in Iola, Wis., with his nine old cars, three trucks and seven motorcycles.
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