Press Release

The First-Ever AAR Gurney Eagle, Accompanied by Roster of American Automotive All-Stars, Announced for Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island Auctions

The auction house is offering the very first AAR Gurney Eagle Mk 1 at its upcoming Amelia Island Auctions, as well as a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan, a 1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster, and other select American icons.

Santa Monica, Calif. (January 31, 2023) — Gooding & Company has just announced a roster of incredible American offerings spanning several eras and styles, adding to one of its most impressive Amelia Island catalogues to date. The renowned global auction house is proud to present the very first Eagle built by Dan Gurney’s All American Racers, as well as award-winning, concours-quality Art Deco offerings from Duesenberg, Auburn, and Cord. This grouping of all-American automotive icons will cross the auction block on Thursday, March 2 and Friday, March 3 at the Gooding & Company marquee on the grounds of the Omni Amelia Island Resort. 

“We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to bring the masterpiece that is the AAR Eagle to auction. Dan Gurney’s ambitions of building his own Formula 1 car were brought to fruition with this beautiful machine, which stands among the most important cars of its type ever built,” said Gooding & Company Specialist, Hans Wurl. “All of these vehicles, from the Eagle to the trio of award-winning Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg examples, celebrate important moments of American automotive excellence.”

1966 AAR Gurney Eagle Mk 1 (Estimate: $3,000,000 – $4,000,000) Highly regarded as one of America’s most successful and admired racing drivers, Dan Gurney garnered himself a well-deserved reputation as a race car builder and true innovator. Gurney had an unpredictable path to racing stardom that began when he got involved with the Southern California hot rod scene in the 1950s. This eventually catapulted him into a global career as a racing driver throughout the late 1950s, and he went on to race for Ferrari, British Racing Motors, and Shelby American Inc. in some of the most important racing circuits of the time, including  Formula 1, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the 12 Hours of Sebring. In 1965, spurred by Goodyear’s desire to fund a racing team, Carroll Shelby and Dan Gurney founded All American Racers (AAR) in Costa Mesa, California, building single-seaters for Indy and Formula 1 racing. Gurney employed Len Terry, the English designer responsible for the Lotus 38 that won the Indianapolis 500 in 1965 with Jim Clark, to create a new Formula 1 car, the first of which, chassis 101, is offered here. This 1966 AAR Gurney Eagle Mk 1 was also the first of just four Formula 1 Eagles ever produced, fitted with a 2.7-liter variant of the venerable Coventry Climax FPF. Chassis 101 was entered in several major European and American Grands Prix, setting the precedent for future iterations of the Gurney Eagle. In this period, it was driven by some of the greatest names in motor sports, including Dan Gurney, Bob Bondurant, and Phil Hill.  In 1967, chassis 101 was sold to Canadian racer Al Pease, who entered it in 10 races, including the 1967, 1968, and 1969 Canadian Grand Prix. 

The Eagle then went on to Tom Wheatcroft, one of Formula 1’s pioneering collectors who tracked chassis 101 down and made it a centerpiece of his Donington Grand Prix Collection for over 38 years. Incredibly well-preserved, chassis 101 was then purchased by the consignor in 2009 directly from Wheatcroft via Hall & Hall. With a desire to race the car and bring it back to its high performance capabilities, the consignor commissioned a sympathetic restoration by the experts at J & L Fabrication in Puyallup, Washington. With preservation of the original engine in mind, a reproduction 2.7-liter Climax FPF was sourced from Crosthwaite & Gardiner in the UK, and fitted into the car. The original engine, no. 1254, accompanies the car at auction, and will be acquired by its next owner, alongside the fitted reproduction engine. Further, the consignor was able to fulfill his dreams of racing the Eagle at the 2014 Monaco Classic Grand Prix, where it performed successfully. Today, this legendary automotive icon comes to auction with just four owners from new and retains its preserved original engine, gearbox, and monocoque. As the elemental foundation of the AAR Eagle series of racing cars, this extraordinary example, the very first of its kind, is among the most important American-built cars of its generation.

1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan (Estimate: $2,000,000 – $2,400,000) The Duesenberg name has commanded respect and reverence for over a century since it became the first American car to win a European Grand Prix in 1921. Its competition prowess inspired automotive entrepreneur Errett Lobban (E.L.) Cord to bring Duesenberg into his growing automotive empire, and he sought out to create one of the mightiest motor cars the world had ever seen. In 1928, the Model J startled the world when it was introduced at the New York International Auto Show with its prodigious horsepower, incomparable engineering and stunning aesthetic beauty. Duesenberg owners had a choice of custom coachwork for their exclusive Model J chassis, and the most preferred coachbuilder among owners was Walter M. Murphy coachworks of Pasadena, California. The 1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan presented here, engine no. J-131 and chassis 2153, was among the early production cars employing the short-wheelbase chassis, and the sixth car to receive coachwork by Murphy with signature styling elements. First delivered through John Blalock Motor Sales of San Francisco to its first owner, attorney Orman Smith, the Model J Convertible passed through the hands of several automotive enthusiasts passionate about the Duesenberg marque. Ray Wolff, who served as the Duesenberg historian for the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg (ACD) Club, maintained thorough documentation on J-131. 

Under the ownership of Thomas Derro, this example was comprehensively restored by Byard Libbey of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts in a process that spanned more than six years. The car emerged finished in a stunning two-tone shade of rose, with the darker tone used for the fenders and the trim. Following its restoration, the Model J received numerous CCCA and AACA awards, as well as the Fred and August Duesenberg Award granted to the best Duesenberg at the 2001 ACD Club Annual Reunion in Auburn, Indiana. Acquired by the current owner in 2017, J-131 went on to win Best in Class among Duesenbergs at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2019. In 2020, it received extensive mechanical work including an engine rebuild by Cross Action Classics of Fenton, Michigan, and in 2021, received a cosmetic refreshening by Swann’s Upholstering in New Oxford, Pennsylvania. A deep red tone of blackberry was used for its interior leather upholstery, and a burgundy canvas was utilized for the convertible top, top boot, and trunk cover. Over 90 years since its creation, J-131 still presents as a showstopper today, and is a prime example of Duesenberg’s superior mechanicals paired with sublime Murphy coachwork. With numerous awards under its belt, and retaining its original engine, chassis, and body per the notes of Ray Wolff, J-131 presents its next custodian the opportunity to join the exclusive, rarified ranks of Duesenberg owners.

1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster (Estimate: $800,000 – $1,100,000) Gifted designer Gordon Buehrig delivered a triumphant stylistic update for the 1935 Auburn, creating what is now recognized as the “taper tail.” Buehrig integrated the cowl of the previous model with a new Auburn front-end design and introduced a new tail section, adding voluptuous pontoon fenders. Of the 143 Speedsters built based on this updated design, fewer than an estimated 50 survive today, and finding an example such as the one offered here is especially rare. This 1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster, chassis 33151 E, has a known history dating back to 1960, and has been owned by several passionate collectors since then. More recently, in 2010, under the ownership of noted Auburn enthusiast and collector Paul Petrovich, the Speedster underwent a concours-level restoration, adhering to strict ACD Club guidelines. This included a full top-end engine rebuild, as well as a supercharger rebuild by Frank Cek, the technical advisor for the ACD Club. Since its restoration, 33151 E has been shown just once, at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, when it also completed the 80-mile Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance®. The Boattail Speedster earned its ACD Club certificate A-539 in June 2016, and later that year, joined the current owner’s impressive collection of Art Deco automotive masterpieces. Beautifully finished in a rich shade of two-stage Sikkens brand silver paint, this Auburn is surely among the most accurately presented examples of its kind extant. 

1937 Cord 812 S/C Cabriolet ‘Sportsman’ (Estimate: $375,000 – $475,000) The Cord 810/812 is recognized as one of the most iconic American automobiles of the 1930s, embodying a brilliant combination of engineering innovation and timeless beauty. Fewer than 3,000 examples were built during its brief two-year run, with the most desirable among those being the supercharged Cabriolet model, such as the example presented here. This 1937 Cord 812 S/C Cabriolet ‘Sportsman’, chassis 31950 F, is an incredibly well-documented example and one of the 65 originally supercharged Cabriolets. It has been verified according to ACD Club standards as a “Category 1, Certified Original Car.” In the early aughts, 31950 F received several highly notable awards under the ownership of John Kernan, including a class award at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® in 2001, Best Cord and Best of Show awards in marque-specific judging at the 2002 ACD Club’s Annual Reunion, and three CCCA First Place Awards. More recently, noted collector and racing driver Chris Cord, grandson of E.L. Cord, acquired the Cabriolet in 2013, commissioning a concours-level restoration by Tired Iron Works of Monrovia, California. Upon completion, 31950 F made an encore appearance at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® in 2014, where it won the Gwenn Graham Most Elegant Convertible award. Today, the car presents in a breathtaking Geneva Blue exterior, with an interior upholstered in matching dark blue leather and accented by a black canvas top. This concours-quality Cord 812 S/C Cabriolet ‘Sportsman’ has it all: beauty, performance, roadworthiness, documented authenticity, and a string of the most prestigious awards. Gooding & Company is also proud to present the 2008 Chevrolet Corvette C6RS by Pratt & Miller (Estimate: $350,000 – $450,000). One of 11 built and the sole example fitted with a supercharged 427 cid engine, this Corvette C6RS was totally reengineered by GM’s factory-sanctioned racing partner, Pratt & Miller, and served as Gary Pratt’s personal car for nearly a decade. Additionally, a beautiful Art Deco 1937 Chrysler C-14 Imperial Convertible Coupe (Estimate: $150,000 – $200,000, Without Reserve) will also be on offer as one of just six surviving examples of the Imperial Convertible Coupe today.

Amelia Island Auctions Date: Thursday, March 2, at 3 p.m. EST, and Friday, March 3, at 11 a.m. EST Location: Racquet Park, Omni Amelia Island Resort Public Preview: Wednesday, March 1 through Friday, March 3 Auction Catalogues: $100, includes admission for two to the viewing and the auctions General Admission: $40, includes admission for one to the viewing and the auctions Live Auction Broadcast:  Facebook:  Twitter: @goodingandco #AmeliaIsland #AmeliaIslandAuction #GoodingAmelia Instagram: @goodingandcompany #AmeliaIsland #AmeliaIslandAuction #GoodingAmelia YouTube:  Phone: +1.310.899.1960

About Gooding & Company Gooding & Company is celebrated for its world-class automotive auctions, private brokerage, and unparalleled service in the international collector car market, achieving over $2.5 billion in sales since the company’s inception. The auction house continues to deliver market-leading results through both its live auctions and Geared Online platform, setting new trends and world records with best-of-category cars across numerous verticals. Gooding & Company consistently presents the highest quality consignments while operating with openness and integrity, providing the company a reputation of trust and respect unmatched in the industry. Offering a wide range of services including private and estate sales, appraisals and collection management, the auction house is ready to assist you with numerous collector car services.

Media Inquiries: Pauline Pechakjian +1 (310) 383-7437

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