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Dan Gurney’s Historic V 12 Grand Prix Eagle Goes Back Home to Indiana - September 13, 2000
With the approaching US Grand Prix in Indianapolis, interest is again high in regard to American participation in and contribution to the sport of Formula 1 in the past and the future. There are many Americans who have made great contributions to Formula 1 racing as drivers or constructors, but none have combined it in quite the way Dan Gurney did.
To this day he is the only American to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix in an American car in the modern era (Jimmy Murphy won in a Duesenberg in 1921 before the establishment of the World Championship) and Dan is the only US driver ever in the entire history of the sport to do with a car built , designed and constructed by his own company All American Racers in Santa Ana, Calif.
The victory of the Grand Prix of Belgium at Spa-Francorchamps in 1967 was a milestone, which is gaining in stature and prestige as time goes by and hopes fade that it could ever be equaled. Due to the enormous resources it would take to mount such an effort today, due to the way Grand Prix racing has evolved and the way drivers pursue their careers, it is quite unlikely that the vision, charisma and perseverance of one man could ever again inspire so many people to launch an effort of such magnitude.
The four Eagle Grand Prix cars which were built by AAR are highly prized collectors items. The Spa winner equipped with a V 12 Gurney Weslake engine, is also called the “Titanium car” on account of its many technical innovations including titanium suspension and headers, and magnesium monocoque skin .With its characteristic Eagle nose, and painted in American racing colors, it was, and is, considered one of the most beautiful Grand Prix cars of all time. This car has been part of the Miles Collier collection in Florida for the last ten years. A second F1 Eagle, formerly owned by a Swiss collector, has also been acquired by the Collier collection. The other two are in the Donnington collection in Great Britain (4cyl. Coventry Climax), and the Ben Liebert collection in England ( V12 Gurney Weslake). Vintage racer Ben Liebert is bringing this car over to Indianapolis and will drive it in the classic Grand Prix car exhibition race before the Grand Prix. A fifth F1 Eagle, built from an original spare tub and parts, and equipped with a V12 Gurney Weslake, is in a private collection in Los Angeles.
Dan Gurney, whose name is closely linked with the “Indy 500” as a driver (two 2nd places) and constructor (Eagles have won the “Indy 500” three times) and innovator (bringing Colin Chapman and Ford Motor Company to the Speedway in 1963) will be at the US Grand Prix as a guest of “Road and Track” Magazine’s celebration “Salute to American Grand Prix Drivers.”
For those interested in the complete story of the Eagle F1 effort from 1966 through 1968 please check our website www.allamericanracers.com. You will find photos, technical data, complete racing results and personal story by Dan Gurney on this effort. We also highly recommend the wonderful book “American Grand Prix Racing, a Century of Drivers and Cars” by Tim Considine.