Among many of the cars drove during his career was the Balchowsky Buick ‘Ol’ Yeller II which Dan Gurney drove twice against far more sophisticated machinery in 1960 setting a lap record and leading the race when he retired at Riverside.
B.S. Cunningham employed Dan to share the experimental Jaguar E2A at Le Mans in 1960 with Walt Hangsen. The, one of two, prototype E-Type retired with head gasket failure, Stefan Zeigler is seen at the wheel here during practice for the Sussex Trophy.
Dan drove three very different cars at Indy during the month of May in 1962, having invited Colin Chapman of Lotus over in the hope of convincing Colin to build cars and enter a Lotus team for the 500 in 1963. Dan took passed his Indy Rookie test in a Roadster, then has a go at qualifying for the 1962 500 driving the gas turbine powered John Zink Trackburner, before deciding the more conservative Thompson Buick, above, was the way to go. Dan finished 20th on his Indy debut.
A couple of months later Dan won his first Grand Prix in France driving the aircooled 1962 Porsche 804 seen being warmed up above.
By 1964 Dan was being employed to drive the Shelby American Cobra’s, Dan shared the Daytona Coupé version chassis CSX 2299 with Bob Bondurant to win the GT Class at Le Mans that year. Chassis CSX 2300 is seen above being driven by 1999 Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack on it’s way to pole for the Shelby Cup.
During 1966 Dan campaigned the Lola Ford T70 Spyder, above, during the opening unlimited Can Am season. At Bridgehampton in September 1966 Dan not only qualified on pole but also won, the only Can Am victory for a Ford powered vehicle.
Kenny Brack drove for AJ Foyt when he won Indy in 1999, above is the Ford Mk IV chassis #J5, AJ shared with Dan at Le Mans in 1967. Gurney and Le Mans rookie Foyt comfortably won the race to secure Ford’s second consecutive Le Mans win.
With Foyt having won the 1967 Indy 500 in the last week of May, Gurney and Foyt winning Le Mans in the first week of June, Dan went on to win the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa in one week later in a car from his own fledgling Eagle team. The Len Terry designed Eagle T1G is powered by a 3 litre / 183 cui Gurney Westlake V12.
In 1968 Dan’s All American Racers team ran Shelby Ford Mustangs Boss 302’s in the Trans Am series.
Dan’s last Grand Prix three drives came when he substituted for Bruce McLaren, after the latters death at Goodwood driving a McLaren M8 Cam Am car. Dan drove the McLaren Ford M14A car to a sixth place finish in the 1970 French Grand Prix his last but one Grand Prix.
Earlier in the 1970 season Dan drove to a 3rd place finish in the Indy 500 on his last appearance in the cockpit at the Brickyard. Though he never won the 500 as a driver his Eagle Offenhauser cars won three Indy 500’s in 1968 with Bobby Unser, Gordon Johncock in ’73 and Bobby Unser again in 1975.
Sea Cadets at the Revival were handing out Gurney campaign stickers and badges in return for donations to the Royal Navy Heritage Trust, a charity which is dedicated to keeping historic Navy planes, like the Hawker Sea Fury above, in the air. In August 1952 Lieutenant Peter “Hoagy” Carmichael, of 802 Squadron based aboard HMS Ocean was credited with shooting down a Mig 15 jet in the Korean War. This was one of the few times a jet has been recorded as being shot down by a piston powered plane. Over the Radio Dan told Goodwood spectators that he applied to become a pilot with US forces, however when he was told that this would not be possible because he was married he told us that he moved on “and did some other stuff”.
Thanks for joining me on this “#4 Vote Gurney” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. For Ferrari Friday at Goodwood. Don’t forget to come back now !