When Dan Gurney won the Belgian Grand Prix with this car in June 1967, he became only the second American to drive an American car to Grand Prix Victory. In 1921, Jimmy Murphy won in France with a Duesenberg. Gurney went one better, winning with his own make.
One of the best Grand Prix drivers in the world, Dan had decided to start his own team in 1965. With sponsorship from Goodyear and an Indy win as the goal, Dan, nevertheless, decided to fulfill his special dream by racing a Grand Prix version of the Eagle in Europe.
His team was based in England and called Anglo-American Racers after the divided origins of its personnel. While early races saw the Eagle powered by a Coventry-Climax four-cylinder, Dan had intended a 3-liter V-12 engine designed by Harry Weslake and Aubrey Woods which was racing by August 1966, despite teething problems which persisted through the balance of the year.
For the 1967 season, Dan built this special Eagle, named the mag-ti car for the magnesium and titanium in its structure. The use of exotic materials overcame the Eagle’s weight disadvantage, which stemmed from sharing a common design with the Indy version.
It all came together that day at Spa-Francorchamps, when Dan out ran the world’s fastest Grand Prix cars to seize victory for himself, the Eagle and the United States. Alas, such success was never to recur. Heartbreaking axle failure when he had the German Grand Prix won, a host of front row positions and fastest laps ended only in frustration. Out of time and money by mid-year 1968, Dan went on to see his Eagles dominate Indy in the 1970s. But that one sweet victory in Europe points to what could have been.
Photos – Peter Harholdt
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