June 17, 2024

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First AAR Gurney Eagle Stars at Gooding Amelia Island

Gooding’s Amelia Island sale may be traditionally Porsche-heavy, but the company has also added in a good selection of American cars as well for the 2023 event, led by the very first AAR Gurney Eagle Mk 1.

In 1965, Dan Gurney formed All American Racers with Carroll Shelby in Costa Mesa, CA. Their goal, funded by Goodyear, was to build successful single-seat racers for both Indy and Formula One. Gurney hired Len Terry to help design the car, as he had experience designing the Lotus 38 that took the win at Indy with Jim Clark in 1965. That first car, Chassis 101, is the car that Gooding has consigned to auction in Florida.

1966 AAR Gurney Eagle Mk 1 (Estimate: $3,000,000 – $4,000,000)
Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Mathieu Heurtault.

The 1966 Gurney Eagle Mk 1 is the first of four such cars built, and is fitted with a 2.7-L variant of the Coventry Climax FPF engine. The car was entered in several American and European Grands Prix and was driven by Dan Gurney, Bob Bondurant and Phil Hill in period. In 1967, AAR sold the car to Al Pease, who ran it in 10 races, including the 1967, 1968 and 1969 Canadian Grand Prix. After that, the car went to Tom Wheatcroft, who made it the centerpiece of his Donington Grand Prix Collection for 38 years.

The car’s consignor bought it from Donington and subsequently had it restored by J&L Fabrication in Puyallup, WA. It was given a replacement engine for vintage racing use, while the original unit still accompanies the car and will be included in the auction.

Other American Classics consigned to Gooding’s Amelia sale include a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan with coachwork by Murphy, a 1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster and a 1937 Cord 812 S/C Cabriolet.

1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan (Estimate: $2,000,000 – $2,400,000)
Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Erik Fuller.

The Duesenberg is one of the first production cars using the short-wheelbase chassis. It was first restored by Byard Libbey of Shrewsbury, MA, and was again mechanically freshened in 2020 and the interior was reworked in 2021.  The car is a multiple CCCA and AACA award winner, and was awarded Best Duesenberg at the 2001 ACD Club Annual Reunion. Later, it won Best in Class among Duesenbergs at the Amelia Island Concours in 2019.

1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster (Estimate: $800,000 – $1,100,000)
Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Brian Henniker.

The Speedster has known history that spans back to 1960 and wears a recent concours-spec restoration adhering to strict ACD guidelines and including a supercharger rebuild and top-end engine refresh. It’s been shown at the Pebble Beach Concours and participated in the 80-mile Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance.

1937 Cord 812 S/C Cabriolet ‘Sportsman’ (Estimate: $375,000 – $475,000)
Photo copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company. Image by Brian Henniker.

The Cord is one of the original 65 supercharged cabriolets built, and it’s been verified according to ACD Club standards as a “Category 1” Certified Original Car. It was awarded a class win at Pebble Beach in 2001, Best Cord and Best in Show awards at the ACD Club’s Annual Reunion in 2002 and three CCCA First Place awards. More recently, it was acquired by Chris Cord, grandson of E.L. Cord, and he had the car restored to concours condition at Tired Iron Works of Monrovia, CA. After restoration, the car won the Grenn Graham Most Elegant Convertible award at Pebble Beach in 2014.

The Gooding & Company Amelia Island auction runs Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3 at the Omni Amelia Island Resort. Learn more here.