Special Exhibit: Dan Gurney Race Cars: An All American Exhibition
May 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015
The Hall of Fame Museum is pleased to present an exhibition of 12 race cars designed and/or driven by Dan Gurney, the quintessential Indianapolis 500 and Grand Prix driver.
Active as a driver in the 1950s and 1960s, Gurney founded All American Racers with Carroll Shelby in 1964 with the support of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, signaling its return to the sport of auto racing. This followed closely upon Car and Driver’s tongue-in-cheek attempt to draft Gurney for President in 1964. See http://allamericanracers.com/gurney-for-president/.
The initial focus was on setting up a business to build cars to run in the Indianapolis 500, but Gurney negotiated additional financing to build a Grand Prix car. This was to be the culmination of the dream he had harbored for years while driving for Ferrari, BRM, Porsche, and Brabham on the Formula One circuit. Shelby participated as a consultant to the company until 1969, when he was bought out and left Gurney the sole owner of the Company.
The first Gurney Eagles appeared at the 1966 Indianapolis 500 and were five in number. The best finish for an Eagle that year was ninth, but the cars finished well later that season in United States Auto Club National Championship events. In 1967, a Gurney Eagle graced the front row at Indianapolis, with the first victory in 1968, in an Eagle driven by Bobby Unser. Additional “500” victories followed in 1973 and 1975. In 1973, an astounding 20 of the 33 starters on the Indianapolis 500 grid were Eagles, which also filled 19 positions in 1974, and 16 in each of 1975 and 1976. The last Indianapolis 500 race for a Gurney Eagle was in 1985.
Eagles first appeared on the Grand Prix circuit in 1966 at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. After barely a year of sorting out, an Eagle scored a sensational victory at the 1967 Brands Hatch Formula 1 race in March, followed by a history-making win at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa in June. “History” because Gurney was the only American driver to win a World Championship Grand Prix in a car of his own construction and only the second American driver to win in an American-built racing car. American driver Jimmy Murphy had won the 1921 French Grand Prix in an Indianapolis-built Duesenberg, which is on display at the Museum. The Eagle Formula One effort was shut down at the end of the 1968 season due to mounting expense.
Other highlights of Gurney’s career as driver, owner, and builder include the 1967 win at the 24-Hours of Le Mans with A.J. Foyt in a Ford GT40 Mark IV, a victory at the Rex Mays 300, and six USAC races from 1968 and 1970.
The Gurney race vehicles in the Hall of Fame Museum’s exhibition are:
- 1967 Eagle Gurney-Weslake
- 1968 Rislone eagle
- 1969 Olsonite Eagle
- 1972 Olsonite Eagle
- 1973 STP Eagle
- 1975 Jorgensen Eagle (Indy 500)
- 1981 Pepsi Challenger
- 1991-93 Eagle-Toyota MK-II GTP
- 1999 Castrol/Toyota 997 Eagle
We extend our thanks to the following individuals and organizations for making this exhibition possible:
- Dan Gurney’s All American Racers
- The Henry Ford
- Ray Everham Enterprises
- The Revs Institute for Automotive Research, Inc.
- Malloy Foundation Inc.
- Craig and Susan McCaw
- Dan and Evi Gurney
- Kathy Weida
- LAT USA
- Dan R. Boyd
Approximately 75 vehicles are on display at all times, and among the featured attractions are:
Vehicle of the Month
The Hall of Fame Museum’s collection includes many more vehicles – by a multiple of more than five – than it can display at any one time. To better share this extensive collection with the community, the Museum will pull one vehicle out of storage each month for public viewing. The roaring racer, cool car, or vintage vehicle will be on public display for a month to be replaced by another unique vehicle.
Now Showing (Through Aug. 14):
1935 Ford V8 Miller: One of ten Harry Miller-designed cars, powered by Ford V8 “flathead” engines, and built for a Ford Motor Company “factory” effort in the 1935 Indianapolis 500. Only four of the ten cars qualified, Ted Horn’s #43 lasting the longest with 145 laps completed before an overheated steering box began to seize up.
Up Next (Aug. 15):
1938 Alfa Romeo type-308C: This 1938 Alfa Romeo type-308C Grand Prix car was originally owned and driven in Europe by Frenchman Raymond Sommer, but later was sold to American owners. In 1946, Lewis Durant drove it to a sixth place finish, Walt Brown drove it to a seventh place finish in 1947, and Johnny Mauro and Lewis Durant drove it to an eighth place finish in 1948. What ten year old race car could do that today?
You Just Missed:
1950 Cummins Diesel #61: Commissioned for the 1950 Indianapolis 500 by Cummins Engine Co. of Columbus, Indiana, this Kurtis-Kraft chassis housed a 401-cubic-inch supercharged Cummins Diesel truck engine. Driven by Jimmy Jackson, who later broke several speed records with it at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, it was eliminated after 52 laps in 1950 with supercharger drive failure.
1972/73 Sugaripe Prune Eagle #2: May featured a turbocharged Drake Offenhauser-powered, 1972 Dan Gurney All American Racers Eagle, owned by sportsman Jerry O’Connell and driven in 1972, 1973 and 1974 by Bill Vukovich, Jr., who finished second in the rained-shortened Indianapolis 500 in 1973. The car appears as it did when Vukovich drove it in 1973. This vehicle complements the 11 race cars included in the Museum’s special exhibit about Dan Gurney race cars, which are on display from May 1st through November 30th, 2015.
Ferrari Type-375: As spring reached Indiana, the Hall of Fame Museum featured the Ferrari Type-375, which showcases a 2.5 liter, 12-cylinder Ferrari engine.
Although the paint work on the display car resembles Ascari's car number 12, at the time Mauro's number 35 was white with blue numbers and lettering. Ascari did drive this car briefly during practice.
Four 2.5-liter 1951 Ferrari Grand Prix cars were prepared for the 1952 Indianapolis 500, three of which were sold to American customers. The fourth remained in the hands of Scuderia Ferrari. Future world champion Alberto Ascari passed up the Swiss Grand Prix in order to drive the "works" car, the only one of the four to qualify.
The private entries were assigned to Johnnie Parsons and Bobby Ball, plus Johnny Mauro, who drove the car on display in the qualifications for the 1952 Indianapolis 500. Although the paint of this Ferrari resembles that of Ascari's car (number 12), Mauro's car during qualifications was white with blue numbers and lettering. Ascari did drive this car briefly during practice.
Lots of Lotuses!
We have on display several of the Lotus race cars driven by Jim Clark in honor of the 50th anniversary of his Indianapolis 500 win. They are on display for a limited time only.
1963 Lotus, powered by Ford
Dan Gurney and Ford Motor Company joined with Lotus Cars, Ltd. to build three rear-engine cars for the 1963 Indianapolis 500 race. Each was powered by a 4.2 liter Ford V8 engine. The drivers were Jim Clark and Dan Gurney. Clark started fifth and finished a close second to Parnelli Jones. While the average team made three pit stops for fuel and tires, Clark was able to limit his stops to one and Gurney stopped only twice and finished seventh. Clark went on to win the Formula One World Championship for Lotus in 1963. Vehicle is owned by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, Inc.
Clark made history in 1964 by becoming the first driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in the pole position while driving a rear-engine car. His 1964 Lotus type 34 with a Ford V8 engine smashed the qualifying records with a four-lap average of 158.828 mph and a single lap high of 159.377 mph. Unfortunately, tire failure in the 47th lap (while in the lead) took him out of the race. Parnelli Jones went on to drive the car at the 200-mile Milwaukee race and win. The car was later acquired by J.C. Agajanian for Parnelli Jones to drive in 1965. It was then painted gold and known as the “Agajanian/Hurst Floor Shift Special,” finishing second in the Indianapolis 500 and winning the Milwaukee 200 a week later. Vehicle is owned by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation, Inc.
1966 STP Lotus
Andy Granatelli and the STP Corporation sponsored Lotus’ fourth trip to the Indianapolis 500 in 1965. The vehicle was still powered by the Ford V8 double-overhead camshaft engine, but had transitioned from the British racing green and yellow to fluorescent “dayglow” orange in color. Clark qualified in second place and led for 66 laps before succumbing to handling problems and spinning twice. He managed to finish second behind Graham Hill. Immediately after the race, the vehicle was acquired by Clark’s teammate A.J. Foyt and formed the basis of Foyt’s 1967 Indianapolis 500 winning Coyote. On loan from Jim Jaeger through June 14, 2015.
Remembrance of Times Past – 100 Years Ago
The Hall of Fame Museum is host to two vehicles that bring back the 1915 race at Indianapolis.
1915 Pace Car – Through early September.
On loan from Allen Strong of Champaign, Illinois, is the 1914 Packard that served as the Indianapolis 500 pace car in 1915. At that time, Carl G. Fisher owned this vehicle, which is a custom-built Packard consisting of a shortened 1913 chassis powered by a 1914 Model 2-38 six-cylinder engine. Fisher held onto the car for several years after the race as the Indianapolis 500 race tradition of giving a pace car to the winning driver did not start until 1936. This vehicle is on loan only through early September.
One of the best known of all American automobile manufacturers, Stutz was an Indianapolis-based firm that entered stripped-down passenger cars in early races to promote its products to the general public following race track successes. In fact, the company’s slogan, “The Car That Made Good in a Day” referred to a prototype having finished the full 500 miles to place 11th in the 1911 Indianapolis 500 race, shortly before Stutz automobiles were available to the public. Henry Stutz campaigned his “White Legion” team, typically with three cars, through to the end of 1915 and won eight AAA National Championship events that year. At the end of the year Earl Cooper, National Champion for Stutz in 1913 and 1915, purchased number 8 (along with three of the four team cars) and campaigned it as a privateer until 1919. On loan from History Collection, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. This vehicle is on loan through January 31, 2016.
Indianapolis 500 Historic Race Cars
Our collection includes race cars that won 38 Indianapolis 500 races, of which about 30 are on display at any time. Those include:
- The Marmon "Wasp," which won the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911 with Ray Harroun at the wheel, and was featured on a postage stamp in the U.S. Postal Service's Transportation Series.
- The Duesenberg #12 is the only car ever to win both the Indianapolis 500 (1922) and the French Grand Prix at Le Mans (1921).
- 1964 Lotus/Ford Indy Car (in which Jim Clark qualified for the pole position)
- 1968 STP Lotus Wedge #60
- Four two-time winning cars:
- Boyle Maserati (driven by Wilbur Shaw in 1939 and 1940)
- Blue Crown Spark Plug Special (driven by Mauri Rose in 1947 and 1948)
- Fuel Injection Special (driven by Bill Vukovich in 1953 and 1954)
- Belond Special (driven by Sam Hanks in 1957 and Jimmy Bryan in 1958)
- The four cars driven to victory by A.J. Foyt Jr., including his 1977 race car that represents his record-setting fourth Indy 500 win.