Car: Eagle Westlake T1G / Engine: 600 V12 Weslake / Maker: Eagle / Bore X Stroke: 72.8 mm X 60.3 mm / Year: 1967 / Capacity: 2,997 cc / Class: Formula 1 / Power: 370 bhp at 9,500 rpm / Wheelbase: 2451 mm / Track: Front: 1549 mm Rear: 1549 mm / Weight: 1199.3 lbs
American Grand Prix driver Dan Gurney and fellow countryman Carroll Shelby, creator of the legendary Cobra sports racing cars, joined together to form All American Racers (AAR). The team which was sponsored by Goodyear was formed to win Indianapolis which was then dominated by Firestone equipped cars. Gurney currently driving for Brabham in Formula 1 also wanted to construct a proper Grand Prix car to race on the road courses of Europe. Based in Santa Ana, California, they hired ex-Lotus designer Len Terry.
Fresh from his success in designing the Lotus Type 38 that had just won at Indy in the hands of Jim Clark he designed a similar car that was intended for both Indy and Europe. Rather than the offset suspension of other Indy cars the Eagle had symmetrical suspension, the better to race on road courses. Four chassis were completed for the 1966 season. The GP team was call the “Anglo-American Racers” in deference to its British Weslake engine. This engine was created by ex-BRM engineer Aubrey Woods. The design had previously been rejected by BRM in favor of their H16. Woods had been a disciple of Peter Berthin and Raymond Mays who started English Racing Automobiles (ERA) prior to the war.For the Eagle Woods built a beautiful 4-valve per cylinder double overhead cam 12-cylinder 3-liter engine. The total budget for four new engines (including the prototype) was roughly $600,000.
After starting the season using a 2.75-litre Coventry-Climax engine the Weslake was ready for Monza. Unfortunately fuel problems and overheating ended the cars race after 17 laps. Continued overheating marred the last two races of the season. After starting the 1967 season in one of the Coventry-Climax powered cars the Eagle-Weslake returned for the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch. Joined by new teammate Richie Ginther the team ran 1-2 in the final before brake trouble halted Ginther’s race. Gurney still in the lead managed to hold off a fast charging Ferrari to claim his team’s first race. Ginther who was not able to qualify for Monaco abruptly retired. After putting the heavy Eagle on a diet, Gurney was ready to challenge the leaders. At Spa history was made as Gurney set a new lap record on the way to a stirring victory thus becoming the first American to win a Championship Grand Prix in an American car of his own make. This victory would prove to be the high point of Gurney’s career and also that of Eagle. In 1968 Gurney severed his ties with Weslake, as the Sussex firm was not up to the rigors of Formula One. A homegrown engine was under development and did actually race but lack of funds soon put an end to AAR’s European racing efforts.
In the more than four decades since it was founded by racing legends Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby, All American Racers has consistently built cars that have competed and won at the highest levels of motorsports. One of the earliest AAR Eagles made racing history in 1967 when Gurney himself drove it to victory at the Belgian Grand Prix, making him the only American in Formula 1 to ever win a Grand Prix in a car of his own making.
Less than a year later, an Eagle driven by Bobby Unser would capture the marque’s first Indianapolis 500 victory, with others to follow in 1973 and 1975. Two decades later, AAR’s Toyota Eagle Mark III dominated IMSA s Grand Touring Prototype category, scoring back-to-back drivers and manufacturers championships in 1992 and 1993.
Under Gurney’s leadership, AAR has always applied a combination of cutting-edge engineering, experimentation, and real-world driving experience to produce cars that were unmatched in their speed, sophistication, and elegance. In Dan Gurney’s Eagle Racing Cars: The Technical History of the Machines Designed and Built by All American Racers, author John Zimmermann delivers the definitive account of the planning, development and race history of every car built by AAR. Drawing on extensive interviews with Dan Gurney and the company’s top designers, engineers, and drivers, Zimmermann explains how each car was conceived, created, and refined for maximum performance. His descriptions and analysis are accompanied by hundreds of color and black and white photos showing each car’s journey from the drawing board to the racetrack.
Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful Grand Prix cars of all time the Eagle was destined not to race again. AAR would limit their racing to the United States for now.