It is all but impossible to overstate the importance of Daniel Sexton Gurney in the storied history of American racing. His accomplishments are the stuff of legend, and so diverse his talents that they read more like a Hollywood script than a chronicle of true-life events. But true they are, and Dan Gurney ranks among the greats from any era or nation, capable of winning in the upper echelon of racing in virtually any type of car—from Le Mans to Formula 1 to Indycar to NASCAR to Can-Am and Trans-Am. In fact he is the first driver ever to have scored victories in F1, Indycar, Le Mans and NASCAR—a feat only since matched by Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya. But there is something even more extraordinary that Gurney alone achieved—on a sunny afternoon at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, June 18 1967. Gurney took the green flag from 2nd on the grid in his Eagle Gurney-Weslake V12. His Eagle Gurney-Weslake V12—because the car was designed and built by Gurney’s own company Anglo American Racers (AAR—later revised to ‘All American Racers’.) After trailing Jim Clark early and Jackie Stewart for much of the race, Gurney cracked off a succession of fast laps setting a new track record at Spa in the process, before sweeping into the lead with 8 laps to go, which he held until the checkered flag. That victory simultaneously set several historic records. The remarkably fast Eagle Gurney-Weslake shattered the existing Grand Prix race average speed record at better than 143mph on the lightning fast Spa circuit. It marked the only time in F1 history that a single driver scored the first victory for three different car manufacturers (Porsche, Brabham, and AAR.) And most significantly, it marked the only occasion where an American won a Formula-1 race in a car of his own design.
The Eagle Gurney-Weslake was no fluke—the 3.0L Weslake V12 made in excess of 400hp during the 1967 F1 season, and at least one Eagle—in Gurney’s hands or that of his occasional teammate Bruce McLaren—qualified on the front row of every single one of the 11 races of the 1967 season! But victory proved elusive for the fast but fragile Eagle until the 4th race of the season in Belgium. Chassis 104 had debuted the previous event in the Netherlands making extensive use of titanium and magnesium, shedding nearly 100 pounds from the predominantly aluminum chassis of previous versions. In its second outing at Spa the weight savings, the Weslake power, and Gurney’s elegantly smooth, deceptively quick driving style all converged in one historic afternoon, cementing the moment in history even as it confirmed Gurney as one of the all-time greats.
The Eagle Gurney-Weslake also happens to be one of the most exquisitely beautiful, elegant F1 designs of the era, compounding its historic significance into a perfect storm of collector appeal. Dan Gurney has been a hero and friend to Automodello, and we are honored to have collaborated with him and his AAR organization on several replicas paying tribute to his racing accomplishments. It is with a bittersweet mix of fondness and grief that we salute Dan once more with this 1:12 Eagle Gurney-Weslake. We profoundly wish we had been able to show him the finished replica before his passing, but we hope we have done him and his extraordinary talent justice in the recreation. Likewise, we hope you enjoy this scale tribute to a true racing hero.
Dan Gurney 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.
This mesmerizing masterpiece will serve as a lasting tribute to the genius of Dan Gurney and All American Racers. The commitment of AAR, the passion and the dedication to accurate scale replication from the team of skilled artisans at Automodello. To allow it to be enjoyed and viewed from a 360-degree angle on a daily basis, free of dust or accidental damage, it will therefore be packaged on a stylish plinth with a clear protective display cover.
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