This California-built dune buggy tells an extraordinary story that brings together an auto racing legend, a surprising but thoughtful gift and a piece of family history.
Mark Donohue was one of the most notable racing drivers born in America. He was an Indianapolis 500 winner in 1972 and a successful participant in the legendary Can-Am and Trans-Am series, as well as FIA sports car, NASCAR and Formula 1.
The winningest driver in Team Penske history, Donohue drove, and won, in cars ranging from AMC Javelins to Porsche 911s to Shelby Cobras and, of course, the number 66 Sunoco/Simoniz McLaren Indy car.
A Brown University educated engineer, he could, and did, every job in the Penske Racing shop from driving a transporter to repairing cars to winning races.
He also had a legendary sense of humor, reflected in this dune buggy. On a cold, snowy eastern Pennsylvania Christmas Eve, the members of the race shop team delivered this brilliant metal flake gold ‘T Bucket’ dune buggy to Mark’s home as his gift to Sue and his two young sons.
Despite never using it to cross a beach, the Donohue family enjoyed the Gold T Bucket for grocery runs, neighborhood drives and general local delight, especially when Mark was not away from home, winning races.
Today, this amazingly original artifact has been acquired by the Audrain Automobile Museum from Sue Donohue and the museum intends to use it in the fulfillment of its mission- “Preserving, Celebrating & Sharing Automotive History”.
As such the museum has started a GoFundMe campaign to underwrite the acquisition, re-commissioning and mechanical restoration of this Mark Donohue dune buggy so they can share it with visitors at the museum, as well as at outreach events, such as Audrain Cars & Coffee, cruise-ins and parades.
For more information or to make a donation visit https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/help-us-with-the-golden-dune-buggy-of-captain-nice