While most people know Paul Newman as the actor who won an Academy Award for the 1986 film The Color of Money and starred in several other classics, the Ohio native also had an insatiable passion for auto racing. That passion began while Newman was training at Watkins Glen Racing School in preparation for the 1969 film Winning and it led to an unexpected career as a champion road racing driver as well as the owner of IndyCar’s Newman/Haas Racing team, which won eight championships over the course of its 28-year existence.
Just 10 years into his professional racing career, Newman won the SCCA Production National Championship with Bob Sharp Racing and he did it an iconic race car – the 1979 Datsun 280ZX. Not only did he win seven races that year but Newman also claimed it was “better than the Oscars.” That might be a little tough to believe if you’ve never experienced the exhilaration of being behind the wheel of a professional race car.
Emblazoned with red, white and blue paint, the No. 33 and sponsors such as Budweiser, the vehicle quickly became legendary, much like some of Newman’s roles on the big screen – and now you can own this piece of racing history in all of its beauty.
Featuring a full period-correct restoration, with the same paint and sponsors as when Newman drove it almost four decades ago, the restoration is definitely show quality, featuring Gotti racing wheels, a whole bunch of original spare parts, some additional body parts and even memorabilia, such as the original bill of sale and the Datsun’s original chassis firewall with the original #100026 stamping. Unfortunately, there’s no price listed on the vehicle, so there’s no way of knowing exactly how much it’ll go for at this point – but you’re welcome to head to the Motorcar Classics website and place a bid.
Given the fact that Newman’s Rolex Daytona recently sold at auction for $17.8 million, we have to imagine this iconic race car will fetch a pretty hefty price. And if you want it, you might have to outbid racing enthusiast Adam Carolla, who is a fan of Newman’s racing career and directed the 2015 documentary Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman.
Whoever winds up winning it is going to get one of the coolest race cars ever built.