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Old 9 Jul 2006, 18:37 (Ref:1651556)   #1
dereklola
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CanAm RK March 847

In 1984 Jim Crawford drove an RK March 847 in the CanAm series. I understand it was designed by Chris Murphy based on a March Indy car and supported by RK Composites. Martin Krecji has the car listed as serial #02. Last year I came across car #01 in storag and this is now being restored [by someone else, not me] for historic racing in the US - http://www.rkmarch847.com/gallery.htm

Can anyone throw light on the history of the two cars?
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Old 10 Jul 2006, 10:01 (Ref:1652068)   #2
Dan Rear
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I remember reading they (was there more than 1??) were based on March 82C tubs, and put together by the outfit Jim was with during his AMCO Ensign
N180 British F1/CANAM days.

Slightly o/t, but in the same late CANAM era, anyone recall the proposed Van Diemen CANAM ? Was this a serious effort, or a press wind-up?
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Old 10 Jul 2006, 11:55 (Ref:1652176)   #3
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Derek

There were four 847s, not two, although only two raced in Can-Am.

Allen
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Old 10 Jul 2006, 16:45 (Ref:1652427)   #4
dereklola
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Allen

Do yu have a brief history of each of them? I don't mean race by race just where they went, which series/drivers, etc?

Thx - Derek
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Old 12 Jul 2006, 16:28 (Ref:1654612)   #5
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allenbrown should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridallenbrown should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Chassis 01 was not the Crawford car, even though it has been mistakenly advertised as such in recent years. When you say you "found it in storage", did you buy it from Chuck Haines?

Allen
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Old 12 Jul 2006, 18:43 (Ref:1654712)   #6
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a car was raced by Richard Piper and Tiff Needell in the Thundersport series, Autosport published both a piece about AMCO preparing the car and, some years later, a track test
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Old 12 Jul 2006, 19:09 (Ref:1654737)   #7
allenbrown
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That's right fausto. That was chassis 847-2, the ex-Crawford car, but rebuilt on tub 847-4 after an accident. It's still in Jean Blaton's collection in Belgium as far as I know.
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Old 12 Jul 2006, 23:14 (Ref:1654954)   #8
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dereklola that rk car u refer to is the shunted car that was firsale earlier in the year & yes i got all moist over it but we cant run those cars over here and common sense prevailed
it would be cheaper to go to eec and get the texs liveried Blaton car than rebuild what was acheap shunted car with no bodywork
i see it is netered in BRICS next w/end with ken smith of NZ driving it so the new owner has pulled his finger out to rebuild the car quickly

chuck doesnt have any rk cars has some other can am cars of similar years
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Old 13 Jul 2006, 07:55 (Ref:1655119)   #9
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Chuck did have 847-01. He advertised it in 1997. It's the last nine years that I'm struggling to fill as it definitely wasn't crash damaged when Chuck had it.
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Old 13 Jul 2006, 08:15 (Ref:1655136)   #10
driftwood
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ah well he sold it then to the man who shunted it

i had some info and pics of it at xmas time when i was considering it

i will see if i still have the info but a man ran the car and crashed it in test day incident dumped the body and then it seemed to change hands in the crashed state
this man then sold it to the current owner who has rebuilt it and was due to run this weekend at BRICS event
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Old 2 Aug 2006, 04:57 (Ref:1670551)   #11
chequeredcareer
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RK March 847

The history of the RK 847 Can Am cars as researched by myself with help from Tony Nicholson whom built the three cars in the U.K and came to the States to work for Bob Fernley, and still does to this day. There were only 3 complete cars built,#s 01, 02, and 03. The #04 chassis was nothing more than an 82c Indy tub sitting in the corner of the workshop. Mike McComas from Texas travelled to the U.K several years back and found the tub, bought it back to the USA and made a complete car from a mixture of parts including March 817 parts. #04 raced in the US by Chuck McConnell till sold to Ken Smith in New Zealand in '05. McComas brokered the sale. The bodywork on Kenny's car looks good, but doesn't represent the RK 847 as it was in '84 with the high mounted front wing. The car is still in New Zealand today.
The mystery of #02 and #03 is a little cloudy, I think #02 or #03 got wrecked at a race in Canada by Crawford and a car was assembled from the two cars for Jim to race. I'm sure that #03 is destroyed and gone forever. As for #01, I own this car. Buying it from SASCOSPORT in Virginia, USA in February 2006.
The car was a basket case, with obvious tub and suspension damage. My race car restoration business www.chequeredcareer.com stripped the tub, rebuilding it to as new condition. The suspension fabricated from original drawings, and a new body and molds designed and built from photos taken in 1984. The car looks as it did the day Tiff Needell drove it at the Silverstone shakedown prior to leaving for the U.S. There is a 1984 Autosport article that can be read on the Marchives.com website. The end result of the restoration can be seen at www.rkmarch847.com The famous RK847 made it's post restoration debut at the Kohler International Can Am festival at Elkhart Lake in July 2006. Many people were surprised to see it come back to life again.
Interestingly during the rebuild, we found that the rear wing and oil cooler ducting had an underlying coat of Crawford Blue and the engine plate is marked as #002. Obviously the cars shared parts during their lives as all race cars do, but who really knows which cars Crawford and Roe drove.
I believe that I have the only race ready RK 847 in the world, and it is for sale.
Cheers,
Greg
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Old 2 Aug 2006, 07:08 (Ref:1670603)   #12
John Turner
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Welcome, chequeredcareer, and thanks for all the info! One for the Chassis Archive, but I will leave a redirect!

For further info. on CanAm March cars, see here:-

http://www.oldracingcars.com/can-am/...p?MarqueID=MRC

Last edited by John Turner; 2 Aug 2006 at 07:14.
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Old 2 Aug 2006, 12:43 (Ref:1670899)   #13
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re: RK847

Having seen the car (#01) at both Sasco last year and at the KIC last month I can confirm it has had a wonderful restoration. The interesting thing is my first reaction to seeing the new body at Elkhart was that it was somewhat 'crude' [maybe 'simple' is a better description] - then I realised that that was probably very appropriate for these CanAm II cars - some were better - most were much worse than this one!

Greg - you are to be congratulated on a grea job. Sorry you had minor problems at Elkhart - did Phil say the oil pump packed up? By the way are you related to Zink cars?

Derek
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Old 2 Aug 2006, 14:11 (Ref:1670991)   #14
driftwood
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driftwood has a lot of promise if they can keep it on the circuit!
i saw this car for sale in its shunted form and it was appealing $$ wise but when u consider that the body was thrown away it made the rebuild task very hard !!
Looking at yr webpage you had a hard task making the body bucks
Rebuilding the tub and assembling tha car was probably a doddle !!

I calculated it was going to be expensive and buying the euro car and rebuilding that was an easier option in time let alone stress!!
Did Ken smith drive your car at BRICS?

You said ken smith has #4 made up car car in nz so with yr #1 usa car and #2? car in eec that covers them all with the original car #3 ? written off
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Old 2 Aug 2006, 17:06 (Ref:1671188)   #15
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Hi Greg

Good history. My notes agree with pretty much everything you've said. Tony N is very good on these cars. Like you, I've been unable to track doen exactly when the accident happened that led to the "merger" of 02 and 03.

One thing I've never known is whether those 82C tubs were used and had a CART history or whether they were leftover spares. Any idea?

Allen
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Old 2 Aug 2006, 18:41 (Ref:1671287)   #16
chequeredcareer
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Rk 847

Well, to answer the questions posted overnight. Kenny did not get to drive the car as he had injured himself a week prior to the event. Phil Harris of TruChoice accepted the offer to be test pilot for the Kohler event. The car ran as expected for the first time out of the box with some minor teething problems along the way. The dry sump pump did indeed let us down during qualifying. Lack of time and energy between qualifying and race meant a reluctant withdrawal from the event. However, the car did make track time and we were pleased with that. The car will race in selected events for the remainder of the year. I am thinking now that somebody mentioned that Brainerd testing or race practice was the place that one of the cars got wrecked beyond repair. I know at some time when Crawford drove, that #02 chassis had been damaged badly under the tub at the footwell area which necessitated a doubler repair skin to be glued and riveted inplace.
The 82C tubs were all new, being surplus stock from March.
Regards,
Greg
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Old 3 Oct 2006, 16:01 (Ref:1726529)   #17
Mike Engstrand
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RK March 847

Hi gang..just found this site while Googling some can-am stuff..

I drove one of the 847s at a Cat Thunder Car reunion at Road America 1988..fastest 5 litre car in quaifiing then owner(Jim Gradel from Dallas Texas) sold the car to Chuck Haines thanks to me making it look good.
I didn t ge to race it because of the sale on Saturday night.
Car was sold for $35,000.

In 1984 Brainerd Can-Am Crawford in the original 847 hit the gator teeth (bumps) in practice entering turn one at about 180 mph and cracked the tub.

Car was withdrawn and Mike Roe walked away with the win. Only challenge would have been from Jerry Hanson in VDS Lola but he burned a hole in a piston.

I met Horst Kroll at that event and that led to getting to drive the Lola 300 in 1986 and 400 in 1987.
Let me know if you have any questions on any of my old cars.

March 73A
Chevron B-24/28
Lola T-300
Lola T-400
March 847


Mike Engstrand

Last edited by John Turner; 18 Sep 2007 at 17:25.
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Old 6 Oct 2006, 10:00 (Ref:1729786)   #18
allenbrown
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allenbrown should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridallenbrown should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Welcome Mike. Good to see you here. Had I not told you about 10 Tenths? Sorry - I should have done.

I was interested in the mention of Roe cracking the 847's tub at Brainerd in 1984. I had heard that the car had to be rebuilt on a fresh tub at some point but had never known when or why. I think you've just solved that one.

Allen
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Old 6 Oct 2006, 17:18 (Ref:1730115)   #19
Mike Engstrand
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RK March 847

Hi Allan, Crawford, not Roe cracked the tub...I think it was his first time at Brainerd and on his first fast lap he tried a low appex in turn one (180 mph) ...at that speed the car was really squatting down with only about 1/2 inch of ground clearence....not enough for those bumps!

When Jerry Hanson owned the track, he added little things like that and extra runoff on his special turns.

If they only swept the gravel off the outside of turn one..there would have been fewer broken windsceens.

Gives the term 'dusting" the guy behind you a whole new meaning.

Mike
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Old 10 Oct 2006, 22:20 (Ref:1734572)   #20
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Anyone know the whereabouts of Bob Fernley, Jim Crawford's longtime mate?
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Old 10 Oct 2006, 22:41 (Ref:1734581)   #21
chequeredcareer
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Bob Fernley

I believe Bob is in Northern California, still involved with some form of racing. I do not have a contact number. Maybe try talking to some people at Infineon Raceway business park. Somebody that runs historic race cars should no where to get hold of him.
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Old 17 Sep 2007, 16:23 (Ref:2015890)   #22
Jim Gradel
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Mike Engstrand you and I never met but my dad Russ did rent you a ride at Road America in 1988as you describe.

The car went fast after several updates over the 87 winter and spring of 88 after I won the CAT Rookie of the Year honors in 87. The changes we made were, changing to the wide track front suspension (thanks to Crawfords help locating them) softer springs, new Koni's, softer sway bars. We made these wholesale changes to make the car respond somewhat better than in my 87 rookie season all 8 tracks were on short tracks and it was a horrible car to drive as Roe and Crawford confirmed several times and they had full use of the ground effect tunnels which I did not with the flat bottom rule. Crawford told me to sell it in 86 before I turned a wheel, LOL. A piece of crap from a drivers perspective but still a rare classic race car. I owned chassis #1 & #3

(Jim, welcome! Since I have edited out the material that gave cause for your concern, I have similarly edited out your specific reference to it. Thanks also to Allen for drawing this issue to my attention -JT)

Last edited by John Turner; 18 Sep 2007 at 17:30.
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Old 17 Sep 2007, 17:16 (Ref:2015950)   #23
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Welcome Jim. The usual etiquette here is to post two or three times before introducing your lawyer

Thanks for filling in some gaps on your cars. Which was the complete car when you had #1 and #3? Did you then sell them to my old friend Chuck Haines?

Edit: Mike won't be able to correct his post any more as it's too old but a quick message to our host John Turner will get the offending wording changed. Nobody here would ever slander deliberately but you know the way old stories get embroidered over time.

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Old 18 Sep 2007, 08:04 (Ref:2016511)   #24
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driftwood has a lot of promise if they can keep it on the circuit!
so eloquently put Mr Brown Im nominating you for the Nobel Peace Prize

1 car in Belgium was in auction for sale last month i dont know if it sold
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Old 18 Sep 2007, 21:21 (Ref:2017438)   #25
Jim Gradel
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Thanks for the tip Allen, chuckle. Just didn't appreciate the misinformation being spread around.

Actually we got them both in boxes chassis #1 was the one Roe drove for a few laps before he claimed it was not worthy and bought the VDS cars.

We sold the #1 chassis? as a roller with the shovel nose body (mold off the VDS)to a guy in Belgium. I drove that car at Hallett and Willow Springs in 87 season it gave the RK significant front downforce but cooling was the next issue to resolve with that car. So we settled on the original RK body & chassis #3? for the remainder of the 87 year.

AS I mentioned we made some wholesale changes over the off season which made the car much better but I was still doubtfull it could win against the stock block 85 Indy car teams so we sold it. I was considering buying 2 Gurney Eagles Indy car stock blocks but he deal fell through after the sale of the #3 chassis which Rains bought in 88. That's the best I can do from memory.

Cheers
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