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Flying the Eagle FF

Loring lined up 3rd on the grid for the Formula Ford championship race at the Runoffs, then set about disproving an old adage about opening laps…. Photo: Hal Crocker

The Eagle Formula Ford that I won the SCCA Runoffs with in 1978 was a car I was involved with from very early in its development, and how that happened is a bit of a funny story. I was sitting at home in Massachusetts watching a hockey game on TV and the phone rings and some voice I didn’t recognize says, “Is David Loring there?” I said, “This is David,” and the voice says, “This is Dan Gurney.” I go “Yeah, right!” and hung up. Five minutes later it rings again and it’s this same voice, so I listened for a minute and thought, Well I’ll be damned if it isn’t Dan Gurney! And he wants to know if I want to come and go to work for him, to design and build this Formula Ford. Three days later, I was in California with everything I owned in the back of a truck!

David Loring
David Loring

I had a medium amount of input in the design of the car, which was designed by John Ward. I didn’t go in with John and draw pictures, I just tried to make it functional. Like when they made the radiator, I said, “This radiator will not cool the car.” And they go, “Well, no, actually you’re mistaken. This engine puts out this many BTUs and it needs this much to cool it and this radiator will accomplish that.” And I said, “That radiator will not cool a Formula Ford, not even in England.” And it didn’t. We went up to Willow Springs to test it for the first time, and I did six laps, and then ran around for another six laps without the nose on, and we came back to the shop and built a bigger radiator. If a car’s going to cool at Willow Springs, it’s going to cool anywhere.

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