• Newman/Haas Racing’s 1993 CART PPG IndyCar World Series-winning chassis
  • Powered Nigel Mansell to four of his five victories that season, with three poles
  • Established Nigel Mansell as the only simultaneous reigning champion of IndyCar and Formula One
  • Accompanied by workshop manual, laptop, electronic spares kit, championship hat, commemorative £2 coin, and Newman/Haas ephemera
  • Equipped with a potent turbocharged, dual-overhead-camshaft Ford Cosworth XB V8
  • One of the most significant race cars of the 20th century

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1993 Lola-Ford Cosworth T93/00
Years Produced:1993
Number Produced:30 (approximate)
Chassis Number Location:Tag in cockpit
Engine Number Location:Center top of bellhousing
Club Info:Vintage Indy
Alternatives:1995 Penske PC-24, 1992–99 Lola, 1994–96 Reynard

This car, Lot 147, sold for $995,000, including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Lincolnshire, IL, auction on October 29, 2022.

Making sense of the market for the 2.65-liter turbocharged V8 CART/IndyCars from the late 1980s into the early 2000s is a challenging endeavor. The market tends to be small, mostly private, and with huge variations in perceived value. Having a no-reserve auction of 38 cars from a single racing team, Newman/Haas, proved to be very informative. The sale prices ranged from $25,200 to $995,000 for cars that were visually similar but with wildly different history, usability, condition and completeness. This allows us to parse through what constitutes value in this particular market.

European emulation

What started out as the quintessential form of American automobile racing — front-engine, Offenhauser-powered oval racers from builders such as Watson and Kurtis — underwent a huge evolutionary change in the mid-1960s. European mid-engine racers utilizing light, modern engines, and the development of wide, sticky tires changed the entire concept of American open-wheel racing. The cars got smaller, more sophisticated and a lot faster, while road-course racing joined ovals as major parts of the series.

The sport expanded rapidly through the ’70s and ’80s, and individual teams became larger to support the increasingly complex cars. By the 1990s, a typical two-driver team would have upwards of 80 full-time employees to support its operations, and cars would be replaced every season.

Race, rebuild, repeat

Cars would routinely be completely torn down and rebuilt between races. Parts were designed to be ultra-light instead of durable. Suspension and other important parts were tracked and replaced on a time and use basis; it was better to replace parts than to risk a failure. The purpose of this explanation is to make clear that these cars were demanding, expensive and delicate in addition to being fast. The idea of taking one out today and racing it for fun — though possible — is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Another major change in how things worked concerns engines: Starting in the mid-1980s, individual teams would sign lease contracts with engine manufacturers who would provide complete engines along with engineers to tend to them. The team only installed and removed the engines, which were replaced every 550 miles of use — if they hadn’t broken first.

Another fun detail is that this was the beginning of digital engine management, which means that starting the engine required a state-of-the-art laptop running proprietary programs plugged into the car’s onboard computer. The problem 30 years later is finding a suitable laptop. (Got a set of DOS floppies handy?) If you intend to run a car, this is a huge issue.

The value pyramid

All of which brings us back to the question of why some of these cars are worth over 10 times what others are. There are several factors to consider.

Collectibility is the supreme factor; essentially, how much glory is associated with a particular chassis’s history? It is important to understand how this accrues. Forget “matching numbers” as the only part that remained constant through more than a few races is the monocoque “tub.” Bodywork changed, wings changed, suspension changed, and more. Any old IndyCar of this era is simply an assemblage of parts bolted to the core tub. On the other hand, racing records are complete based on the tub number, so provenance is easy to track.

Whether a car can be started and driven is important to value, regardless of intentions to run the car, because it indicates that a car is truly complete. There are venues to vintage-race these cars and at least a few people who do, so cars that run, regardless of history, constitute a specific value category. As far as I can tell, RM Sotheby’s catalog indication of whether a given lot included a workshop manual, laptop, and connector cable is the code for a car being fully operational.

The next factor is that if it doesn’t run, how complete is it? Since most engines were returned to their manufacturer at the end of every season and internal transaxle parts were useful spares, few cars survived intact. Display cars frequently got shell engines with no internal parts; others just got a steel frame where the engine should be. Obviously, this affects market value.

Down at the bottom echelon, we see basically old racing-car shells without much history that are not particularly collectible. Here the color scheme and aesthetics of the livery are important, primarily as decoration. Newman/Haas and Penske are the best known, but emotional attachments to various liveries can be important. Probably the least-important factor is marque, strange but true. Lola is the most popular brand, but few people seem to care much.

Everything you want

We now have all the pieces in place to make sense of the market for IndyCars of this period. The absolute top of the bunch are those with great history that are fully operational, such as our subject car. It has everything: It was Nigel Mansell’s most-winning car during his most glorious season, it has all the cool paint and appropriate decals, and it is fully operational (or can easily be made so). It checked all the boxes and rang the bell at almost a million dollars. The only thing better would be if it had an Indy 500 victory.

The next group down the foodchain at this auction were the cars with either excellent history or good utility (running or could be made to run), but not both. There were seven cars in this set, with prices ranging from $225,000 to about $400,000, and it included cars suitable for vintage events plus one or two with serious glory that were not really runners. I suggest that this is the range for raceable old IndyCars across the market.

The remaining 30 cars were shiny and beautiful, but were neither particularly collectible nor usable, just placeholders in a small collection or potential decorations for a sports bar. Depending on various factors, they were worth between $25,000 and $100,000.

A difficult usage case

The underlying problem with these sorts of cars is that, though they were spectacular racers in their day, they are difficult and expensive to race on an amateur basis. There are suitable grids where they can run, and Vintage Indy does multiple lapping events, but if you want to race, a good Formula Atlantic will be faster for all but the best drivers while being far cheaper and easier to run.

Because IndyCar racing was based in the U.S., there is really no international market for these cars. With something like 500 cars built in the 1990s alone, there are lots of them out there and without the demand, most aren’t worth much of anything.

A few are, though. Great drivers winning important races on the way to heroic championships in special cars always makes for collectible and valuable relics, and the fact that someone could at least, in theory, go run some laps adds desirability. For this car, this was a fair purchase price. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)



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