15-16 August 2014

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Lot 102

1981 AAR Eagle Indianapolis

  • Chassis no. 8104

Sold for $38,500

Small block Chevrolet V-8 engine, heavy-duty manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel disc brakes.

  • Formerly of the Bob Pond Collection
  • Well-known provenance
  • Finished in 9th place at the 1982 Indianapolis 500, where it was driven by Herm Johnson
  • Formerly owned by Thomas Mittler

By 1981, Dan Gurney’s All American Racers had cemented their reputation at the fabled Brickyard in Indianapolis. Following Bobby Unser’s first win in an Eagle in 1968, Gordon Johncock finished 1st at the Indianapolis 500 in 1973, and Bobby Unser and AAR returned to the top of the podium in 1975. The 1981 year would signal a change for AAR Eagles, as the cars would boast naturally aspirated engines, from either Chevrolet or Cosworth, instead of the turbocharged engines of past.

The Chevrolet-powered 1981 example presented here, chassis 8104, was delivered new to retailing magnate and motorsports team owner John Menard, who campaigned it in the CART series. The car was first raced at Watkins Glen in 1981, where it was driven by Herm Johnson, the 1977 Formula Super-Vee champion. The following race was in Mexico City, where Johnson placed 8th, and he rounded out the season by finishing 9th in Phoenix. After racing again at Phoenix and Atlanta early in the 1982 season, the car’s last professional competition would be at the 1982 Indianapolis 500, where it wore #28 and was driven by Herm Johnson. Chassis 8104 qualified at a speed of 195.929 mph and was placed 14th on the grid for the start. By the end of the race, Johnson had worked his way up to 9th, which was a very respectable finish in a highly competitive race.

The car was purchased in 1989 by renowned sports car collector Thomas Mittler, of South Bend, Indiana, who lent the car to the Studebaker National Museum for display during the 1990 Studebaker festival. During Mittler’s ownership, the car was never raced and was always kept on static display.

By 1993, the car had become part of the famed Pond Collection, and like his 1969 AAR Eagle-Santa Ana, this car was campaigned in vintage racing under the banner of Bob Pond Racing. According to documentation with the car, it was driven in the final round of the American IndyCar Series at Willow Springs International Raceway by former Shelby American employee and Nissan factory driver John Morton. Morton finished 2nd overall in the car on Saturday, and in the subsequent race the following day, Morton placed 1st overall, in what would be the final time chassis 8104 was campaigned under Pond’s ownership.

This AAR Eagle features Indianapolis and CART series history and has proved to be competitive both when new and in historic racing. Following long-time storage and static display in the Pond Collection, this former Indianapolis racer is ready for its next owner.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

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Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

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Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more