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March 761

The first car run by Williams GP team in F1

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Following a disastrous '72 season with over-complicated cars - rescued only when a private entrant suggested bolting a 3-litre Cosworth DFV engine to what was essentially a rebodied version of the previous year's all-conquering F2 chassis, cash-strapped March continued to run simple cars to a pattern which proved effective.

Its second GP win came in Austria, in 1975, with works driver Vittorio Brambilla (who crashed in the teaming rain as he crossed the finish line), and the returning Peterson scored the marque's final F1 win driving 761-6 (now owned by Katsu Kubota) in the 1976 Italian GP at the high-speed Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

The small team's success prompted Frank Williams - who had last run March cars on a shoestring in 1972 - to return to marque principals Robin Herd, Alan Rees and Max Mosley in 1977 as he started to build his team's fortunes with strong backing (for the first time) from Belgian beer brand Gueuze Belle Vue and Saudia Airlines, within a year to become a household name globally as Frank's title sponsor.

Williams did a deal with Mosley to acquire March 761-7 - which in fact had its roots in one of the myriad 741s which Brambilla and Hans-Joachim Stuck systematically crashed - upon which his technical boffin Patrick Head applied his considerable expertise (much of it gained at Lola) to develop into a unique specification for the well-connected and unfailingly pleasant Belgian Patrick Neve to race.

Head reworked many aspects of the car to improve its performance, most notably the monocoque which was stiffened at both ends, improving both its strength and durability. Numerous suspension changes were more subtle, but Head's elegant detailing makes this 761 stand out above all others

761-7 has an incontrovertible history, plus the Williams cachet, therefore is likely to be selected for blue riband events (Goodwood Festival of Speed; Monaco GP Historique; etc)over others whose provenance may be 'moody' at best.

While no other car worldwide can claim its history, 761-7 was acquired from previous owner in Belgium in largely complete state, then beautifully rebuilt by its now previous owner - an ex-Fittipaldi F1 mechanic - for his own use. It has been very successful in his hands since he debuted it in 2008, winning races outright (and humbling more modern/sophisticated allcomers), and can be again.