Historic first AAR Gurney Eagle headlines Gooding's Amelia Island sale
Fans of rare American cars will want to pay close attention to Gooding & Company’s upcoming Amelia Island sale. The auction house will offer several high-profile classics, including the first of four AAR Gurney Eagle race cars built and a 1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster.
Dan Gurney made a name for himself as a pilot before he started building cars. He drove for Ferrari, British Racing Motors, and Shelby, among other teams, and he competed in numerous big-name races including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. When the time came to build his own cars, he got funding from Goodyear and teamed up with none other than Carroll Shelby to create All American Racers (AAR) in 1965.
The firm designed a Formula 1 car called Eagle that used a 2.7-liter Coventry Climax engine. Four examples were built, and the one headed to the Amelia Auction (chassis number 101) is the first one. It raced on both sides of the Atlantic and was driven by Bob Bondurant, Phil Hill, and Gurney himself, among other drivers. It also raced in the 1967, 1968, and 1969 editions of the Canadian Grand Prix.
Businessman and car collector Tom Wheatcroft later bought chassis 101 and kept it in his collection for over 38 years, according to Gooding & Company. The current owner and seller purchased it from Wheatcroft in 2009 and had it restored by J & L Fabrication in Puyallup, Washington. His goal was to race it, so he had the shop install a reproduction engine to ensure the original engine remained undamaged. The original engine is included in the sale, and the anonymous owner entered the Eagle in the 2014 Monaco Classic Grand Prix.
Gooding & Company estimates that the AAR Gurney Eagle will sell for anywhere between $3 million and $4 million, and this number is entirely credible: We’re talking about an incredibly rare and historically significant race car with a documented past.
If that’s too much, or if your automotive interests lie somewhere far away from a racetrack, there are several other interesting cars crossing the auction block. One is a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Sedan with a short-wheelbase chassis and a body made by California-based coachbuilder Murphy; it’s expected to bring in between $2 and $2.4 million. The aforementioned 851 SC Boattail Speedster — which was fully restored in 2010 — should fetch between $800,000 and $1.1 million, and a 1937 Cord 812 S/C Cabriolet ‘Sportsman’ could sell for up to $475,000.
If there’s a hole begging to be filled in your collection, Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island sale starts on March 2 at 3 p.m. Eastern.