19 January 2007
1969 Gurney-Eagle Race Car
Sold for $82,500
As a 2001 David Barry article in “Vintage Motorsport” describes, it is at least partially Dan Gurney’s fault that Indy cars don’t have their engines up front anymore “where they belong”, and that in the process he helped start Ford’s record of powering Indy 500 winners.
That was in 1962, when Dan brought Colin Chapman to Indy and introduced him to Ford. It was a period of non-stop activity for Gurney, who was intimately involved with Carroll Shelby in the development of the Cobra and Ford’s subsequent efforts to capture the Sports Car Manufacturers’ Championship and win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Gurney was driving for Brabham in Formula One when he introduced Chapman to Indy and Ford, and in 1965 established All American Racers with Shelby to build cars for Formula One and Indianapolis.
The first Indianapolis Eagle achieved success in 1966 when Roger McCluskey drove to victory at Langhorne.
Dan scored the first grand prix victory by an American driver in an American car since 1921 when he won the Belgian GP in 1967. In America, Eagle-Fords made their presence known in 1966 when Lloyd Ruby qualified his All American Racers’ Eagle-Ford fifth, one of five Eagle-Fords to make the show in the team’s first year. In 1967, Denny Hulme drove an Eagle-Ford entered by the colorful Smokey Yunick to fourth overall and the entry increased the number of Eagle chassis entered by five different teams to seven.
It all came right for AAR in 1968 when Bobby Unser’s Eagle-Offy entered by Bob Wilke’s Leader Cards team won the 500 on his way to capturing the USAC National Championship. Dan Gurney pursued Unser home, finishing second in his Eagle powered by the Ford-based naturally aspirated Gurney-Weslake V8. Dan repeated that performance in 1969 when he drove his Gurney-Weslake powered Eagle-Ford to second in the 500 behind Mario Andretti’s winning STP Hawk-Ford.
AAR won the 500 in 1975 with Bobby Unser in a field loaded with Eagles. Sixteen of the 33 starters, in fact, rode in Eagle monocoques. AAR’s successes also include the famous AAR ‘Cuda Trans-Am race cars, Lola Can-Am cars, Formula A/5000 and the Goliath-slaying IMSA GTP Toyota Eagle which captured seventeen consecutive wins in 1992-93 while winning both the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours.
The early Gurney Eagle-Ford USAC Indy cars such as the one offered here demonstrated their performance on the ovals of the USAC National Championship circuit as well as at the Brickyard. Adaptable by design to both ovals and road courses and powered by variants of the production small-bloc Ford V8 engine, it is an ideal vehicle for collectors who want to experience the thrill of competition in purebred open wheel race cars on both vintage ovals and road circuits. At the time of cataloging the specific history or configuration of the 1969 Gurney Eagle-Ford offered here was not yet known, however it comes from a well known collection where it has been looked after among some of the most important automobiles in America. Prospective purchasers are encouraged to contact an RM Auctions specialist for complete information.
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