Lot 59

2022   |   Pebble Beach Auctions

1972 AAR Gurney Eagle Indy Car

From The William M. Wonder Collection

SOLD $112,000

Estimate

$250,000 - $350,000

Chassis

72-11

Car Highlights

A Revolutionary Model in the History of IndyCar Racing

Sold New to Team Owner Lindsey Hopkins

Driven by Mel Kenyon to 4th Place in the 1973 Indianapolis 500

Equipped with Naturally Aspirated, Ford Four-Cam V-8 Engine Purchased from A.J. Foyt

An Exciting Example of the Legendary ’72 Eagle; Eligible for Popular IndyCar and Vintage Events

Technical Specs

255 CID DOHC Ford V-8 Engine

Lucas Timed Mechanical Fuel Injection

450 BHP at 7,500 RPM

4-Speed Hewland LG500 Manual Transaxle

4-Wheel Hurst-Airheart Four-Piston Disc Brakes

Front Upper Rocker, Lower Wishbone, Inboard Coil-Over Suspension

Rear Parallel Lower Links and Twin Radius Rod Coil-Over Suspension

Register to Bid

Hans Wurl

Lindsey Hopkins (acquired new via AAR in 1972)

Fred Fuhr, Hastings, Michigan (acquired from the above circa mid-1970s)

Bill Wiswedel, Holland, Michigan (acquired from the above in 1981)

Charles Haines, St. Louis, Missouri (acquired from the above circa 1982)

Dale Bargman, Denver, Colorado (acquired from the above in 1984)

Dave Hammers (acquired from the above circa 1988)

William M. Wonder (acquired from the above in 2011)

USAC Ontario 500, California, September 1972, Kenyon, No. 23 (DNF)

USAC Phoenix, November 1972, Kenyon, No. 23 (9th)

USAC Trenton 300 #1, April 1973, Kenyon, No. 19 (12th)

USAC Trenton 300 #2, April 1973, Kenyon, No. 19 (10th)

Indianapolis 500, May 1973, Kenyon, No. 19 (4th)

USAC Michigan 200, July 1973, Kenyon, No. 19 (8th)

USAC Pocono 500, Pennsylvania, July 1973, Kenyon, No. 19 (DNF)

USAC Milwaukee 200, August 1973, Kenyon, No. 19 (9th)

USAC Ontario 500, California, September 1973, Kenyon, No. 23 (DNF)

USAC Texas 200, October 1973, Kenyon, No. 19 (9th)

USAC California 500, 1974, Kenyon, No. 19 (DNF)

For the 1972 season, the United States Auto Club allowed teams to add free-standing wings to their cars, with the stipulation that they did not move and were not attached to the suspension. In an attempt to take advantage of the new regulations, Dan Gurney’s All American Racers (AAR) placed Roman Slobodynskyj in charge of the design of a new Eagle for 1972.

The ’72 Eagle was given side-mounted radiators, which allowed room for sizable front wings. An enormous five-foot-wide rear wing was fitted and placed 42" behind the axle centerline, creating huge amounts of downforce leverage. A key component to the 1972 design was Dan Gurney’s invention and fitment of the Gurney flap, a small lip placed at the rear of the wing that has become ubiquitous on racing cars to this day.

The ’72 Eagle became one of the most successful chassis designs in IndyCar history, and the first to break 200 mph for a lap, which took place at Ontario Motor Speedway. Bobby Unser set a track record with his pole-qualifying run at Indianapolis, with a speed of almost 196 mph, beating the 1971 record by over 18 mph.

One of approximately 30 examples built, this ’72 AAR Gurney Eagle, chassis 72-11, was sold new to team owner Lindsey Hopkins and driven by Mel Kenyon over three seasons. 72-11 was originally equipped with a turbocharged Offenhauser engine, which powered the Eagle in late 1972. During the 1973 season, the Eagle was upgraded by Eldon Rasmussen to a turbocharged Ford/Foyt four-cam V-8. It was in this desirable configuration that it enjoyed its greatest success, finishing 4th in the Indianapolis 500. In 1974, this tub was reportedly used to rebuild chassis 72-15, also owned by Mr. Hopkins. Both 72-11 and 72-15 were then sold to Fred Fuhr of Hastings, Michigan, in the mid-1970s.

Circa 1988, William M. Wonder assisted his friend Dave Hammers with the purchase of 72-11. The car arrived without an engine, so Mr. Wonder contacted his friend A.J. Foyt and bought two Ford four-cam V-8 engines – a 161 cid turbo unit and a 255 cid normally aspirated engine with Lucas fuel injection. For ease of use, Mr. Hammers installed the 255 in the Eagle, and retained it until 2011, when he sold it to William M. Wonder. During his ownership, Lucas fuel-injection and an onboard starter were fitted and the car was converted to run on gasoline.

In current ownership, the Eagle has seen the love and sympathetic care that are synonymous with cars in Mr. Wonder’s incredible collection. Offered with a substantial history file, this example of AAR’s seminal 1972 Eagle is sure to be a prize for its next lucky steward.

*Please note that this vehicle is sold on a Bill of Sale.