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Unique Classics, Replicas and Build Culture
						A J  Foyts 3 5
A.J. Foyt's #3

A.J. Foyt's #3 Racer

By Jeff Bruss

When I was about 12 years old, someone gave me a copy of A. J. – The Life of America's Greatest Race Car Driver for my birthday. By the end of the first chapter, you quickly learned that Foyt was a tough guy that not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. When asked to be interviewed by Sports Illustrated, the writer tried selling Foyt on the premise that the story would make him famous. Foyt replied with, "My right foot will make me famous." Indeed it did.

The gritty, almost bully-like, race car driver from Texas won the Indy 500 four times, but even more impressively also won the Daytona 500, 24 Hours of Daytona, and the 24 Hours of LeMans – the only driver to ever do so. In 1972, the same year he won the Daytona 500, Foyt was the USAC dirt-car champ in the orange #3 car. Few photos exist of the original caged-racer, but this one shows A. J. drifting it around the track of the Hoosier Hundred, a race he would win six times. If you long to be A. J. Foyt, but don't care to race in the dirt, this street-legal replica needs a slot in your collection.

For nearly 40 years, Gary Babineau of Auburn, Indiana has been building handcrafted replicas of famous race cars. The details and perfection in his work are insane and the final products are beautiful. Gary builds all his cars out of metal because, as he puts it,"you can't stamp proper louvers in fiberglass." A quick visit to the portfolio at his website only leaves you wishing he had hundreds more photos. The interweb graciously provides us with a couple of videos showing the details of this custom fabricated metal race car. The video evidence definitely points to Babineau being the man behind Foyt's #3 we found for sale in Genoa City, Wisconsin.

Luckily we found the videos to give us a little more information on the car because seller's description is vague, so the insights from the builder prove valuable in learning some details. We can see that all the lettering, numbers and custom paint are hand-applied. Gary also talks about the radial tires made to mimic wide racers, and the other custom touches that make the car more street-friendly, like a Jaguar rear end and Wilwood disc brakes.

From the Craigslist description,  all we know is that it's powered by a fuel-injected 3.5-liter Maserati engine. The car sports a dealer plate hanging from the roll cage and small taillights worked into the cage uprights. I can't help but wonder how it ended up for sale on Craigslist in southern Wisconsin? The $89,000 asking price, like any hand-built replica, is certainly less than the sum of its parts and labor. Dare I say that it seems like a bargain? When compared to some other replicas, this car is far more unique and offers investment, race and highway potential. We hope to find more of Gary Babineau's creations for future musings at RCN.

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