Argo JM19C LM #126 – Spark

1989 Argo JM19C LM #126
Pilots: J. Messaoudi, P-F. Rousselot, T. Lecerf
Team: France Prototeam 
Race: 18th overall (4th in C2 class) at Le Mans in 1989
Spark - S7317 (resin)

Published 10/20/23

In 1976, Jo Marquart, Nick Jordan and John Peterson founded Anglia Cars in East Anglia, UK. Initially they produced F3 cars, and their first car was the Argo JM1-001. A reference to the ship of Jason and the Argonauts, they later officially renamed the company Argo Cars Ltd. The JM1 was a very competent F3 car, and Argo sold them (and variations) in Europe and the USA. By 1979 they produced the JM3 (for F3), JM4 (for Super Vee) and JM5 (for Formula Atlantic). By the early 80s, with stiffer competition, Argo branched out into Sportscar (JM16) and Indianapolis (JM15) racing. Their first sports car was the JM16, built in 1983 for IMSA. Between 1985 and 1987 the JM16 had a lot of success in IMSA’s GTP class. Concurrently, the JM16 evolved into the JM19, which had a lower drag coefficient associated with higher down force. 

Like Gebhardt, Argo was a small time maker with quirky designs.

The JM19 had a full length aluminum honeycomb monocoque chassis, covered by a carbon fiber bodywork to reduce weight. Designed by Achim Storz, the JM19’s architecture allowed the use of quite a few engines, notably from Zakspeed and Cosworth. The development of the car was continuous, and for the 1988 season the JM19C  version was ready. The JM19C was specifically built for Group C racing, and mainly used Cosworth’s DFV V8. The DFV was a 3223 cm³ V8 with DOHC and 32 valves that delivered around 298 kW (400 hp). It weighed 750 kg, 50 kg more than the limit for C2 racing per FIA rules. Because of the same rules, though it had space for a 100 liter tank, it used a 55 liter one.

The JM19C looks a lot like the bigger C cars of the era.

In the 1989 season of the World Sports-Prototype Championship, the small French team France Prototeam used a Spice SE88C. However, for the 24 Heures du Mans that year they wanted a second car, using an Argo JM19C. Though their SE88C #103 abandoned due to an oil leak, their JM19C #126 finished 18th overall (4th in class). Though the first Argo raced at La Sarthe in 1986, the manufacturer’s best result was in 1989 with car #126. Unfortunately however, Argo Cars didn’t last much longer. When Jo Marquart, the last of the founders still in the company passed away in 1993, Argo Cars closed shop. Fortunately Spark elected car #126 here as a form to keep the memory of Argo Cars alive. And they did a GREAT job, producing a beautiful model. So, even though it’s an obscure car from an obscure manufacturer, I’m glad I have one.

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