With the announcement of a new American Formula 1 team, U.S. F1, comes talk of American racers in Formula 1 events of the past. And while most people will talk about Mario Andretti and Phil Hill’s championships, there is only one American who has ever won with a car of his own design. That American is Dan Gurney in the AAR Formula 1 Eagle, which is considered by many to be the sexiest car in Formula 1 history. Gurney, an inventor and driver, partnered with Carroll Shelby and Goodyear in an effort to bring glory back to the tire manufacturer who at the time was getting spanked by Firestone. Their greatest success came at the 1967 Grand Prix of Belgium where Gurney topped the podium.
The AAR Eagle was powered by a Weslake V12 designed and built in England, and was backed by at Hewland DG 300 five-speed. At 3.0L, the 60-degree V12 made 395-410 bhp at 11,000 rpm. Four AAR Eagles were built but early versions were heavy and a lighter version, dubbed The Titanium Car, included such trick pieces as titanium suspension and headers plus a magnesium monocoque skin which all contributed to its 1,170-pound weight. Despite being heavy, the AAR Eagles’ debut at the 1967 Race of Champions season opener would result in a win in only the 4th start for the V12.
The Titanium Car that debuted at the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix would ultimately win the 1967 Grand Prix of Belgium a few races later, making Gurney the only American to win in an American Grand Prix car. But Gurney wasn’t the only famous shoe to pilot one of his American bread beasts. The list of drivers includes Bruce McLaren, Bob Bondurant, Lodovico Scarfiotti, Ritchie Ginther, Al Pease, and Phil Hill. In total, the AAR Eagles raced in 34 races, had one Race of Champions win, one Formula 1 victory, one Grand Prix victory, and qualified in the top five 13 times.
But it’s not just the wins, and the history that make this car special. It’s the clean lines, those big Goodyears, the fish-mouth grill, and Gurney’s goggles and rag that make us wish we were behind the wheel. And with airborne photos like this as proof, there is no doubt this Eagle flew.
We would like to thank the staff at All American Racers Online for so graciously allowing us to use these photos, and encourage you to see and learn more about Dan Gurney’s All American Racers by visiting allamericanracers.com.
If soft-touch rev limiters were around back then, wheels-up action like this would be putting them to the test. This is proof any car can be jumped. We approve.
The Titanium Eagle appeared for the first time at the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, causing quite a stir. With lines like these, there is no question why. Gurney would qualify on the front row, behind Graham Hill. Fuel injection woes would keep him from finishing, but the car had already made its mark.
Here Dan Gurney pilots the Eagle through the Belgian forest, and into the history books, on his way to a win at the 1967 Grand Prix of Belgium.