Gurney (cowboy hat) and his pal Skip Hudson (white cap) got their feet wet drag racing with hot rods, and also set off on this low-budget trek to the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1950 with their friends Ted Bear (holding manifold) and RayTorres. Dan ran more than 130mph in the Ford Model A roadster #9c.
Photo: Roma Gurney
Dan Gurney’s motor racing career as a driver, car constructor and team owner is just about as star-spangled as his country’s flag. After Phil Hill, he was the second American to win in Formula 1, and is considered the equal of that other American superstar, Mario Andretti. He is also the first driver to have won in F1, Sports Cars, NASCAR and Indycars, and as a constructor his Eagle-Toyotas won 17 consecutive IMSA GTP races and back-to-back drivers and manufacturers titles.
While Art Evans does an excellent job chronicling Dan’s youth and early days of racing, in his column on page 58, we’ll pick up the story as Dan’s career begins to take off. In autumn 1957 he was asked to test a fast 4.9-liter Ferrari that even top liners like Carroll Shelby found hard to tame. He drove it in the first Riverside Grand Prix and came 2nd, a performance that caught Luigi Chinetti’s eye. Ferrari’s North American importer set up a works Ferrari drive for the 27 year old in a Ferrari 250 TR at the 1958 24 Hours of Le Mans, partnered by Californian Bruce Kessler. In a remarkable drive, Dan got the car up to 5th before handing over to Kessler, who became involved in a fiery accident and the Testa Rossa was retired. That drive, however, opened Maranello’s door to the
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