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Vintage Indy cars at Auto Club Speedway


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#1 T54

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 00:58

This weekend, lots of activities at the former California Speedway, now dubbed "Auto Club Speedway". The HSR West event also has about 30 older Indy cars making laps at a good canter on the 2-mile oval. If you have nothing better to do, come over and watch the festivities. Here is our own contribution to the hoopla:

1972 Eagle-Offenhauser
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of one of the most important cars in the “Indy 500” history


To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the remarkable 1972 AAR-Eagle, one of the most significant Indy cars in the history of the famous race, 3-time Indy-500 winner Bobby Unser will get back in the cockpit of his favorite racing car and enjoy leisurely laps of the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway racing track in Fontana, California during the HSR-Victory Lane vintage Indy car event June 22, 23 and 24, 2012.
The new Eagle built by Dan Gurney and his crew in his All American Racers facilities in Santa Ana proved to be the class of the 1972 Indianapolis 500 field by qualifying on the pole at an astounding 195 MPH, a full 18 MPH faster than the fastest lap in the preceding year. This in itself has set a record that remains unbeaten today.
The new car had been designed by a team composed of Dan Gurney, Roman Slobodynskyj , Phil Remington and crew-chief Wayne Leary, and was available for purchase by other racing teams.
A few days after the works car was completed, driver Bobby Unser set new records at Ontario Motor Speedway, covering laps at over 191 MPH.
At the Phoenix 200, the first race of the season, Bobby took no prisoners as he qualified on the pole and won the race running away. At Indy, Bobby easily led the race until the distributor rotor broke, the car coasting to a halt when nearly a full lap ahead of the field. Bobby

Years later, a deal was struck between Dan Gurney and collector-racer Philippe de Lespinay in an effort to recreate both the 1972 cars of Unser and Grant, using leftover parts from both cars bolted to two NOS unused tubs.
After years of research for the missing correct parts and many seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the cars were eventually completed by the talented and immensely experienced John Mueller in the Entrepreneur Enterprises race shop in Fresno, California. Chassis 72-30 was delivered to Dan Gurney in 2010.
Chassis 72-29 is the car retained by de Lespinay. Tracing the engine numbers (crankcase and cylinder block/head assembly) from old records he saved from the bin, it was discovered that the engine was the very one used by Bobby Unser to win the 1974 California 500. That engine was rebuilt by Stewart Van Dyne of Van Dyne Engineering in Huntington Beach, California.
The car is decorated as the # 6 Olsonite-Eagle, exactly as it was at the 1972 Indy 500, the paint scheme having been devised by Philippe 40 years earlier. The car is on display at the Riverside International Automotive Museum, along with a remarkable collection of Eagle racing cars collected by museum owner Douglas Magnon over the years, and is maintained by Bill Losee and his crew.
Along with the 1972 Indy car, at least two more AAR-Eagle racing cars from the Riverside International Automotive Museum will be exercised by Douglas Magnon and Tony Adamowicz: the 1969 Eagle-Ford driven at Indianapolis by Denny Hulme and the 1970 SCCA F5000 championship-winning Eagle-Chevrolet.


Edited by T54, 19 June 2012 - 00:59.


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#2 JacnGille

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 01:20

:up:


#3 E1pix

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 02:12

Awesome info, T54. Well Done.

#4 RonPohl

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 04:22

Any TNF'er who are there drop by and say hi. I will be crewing my lola S2000 , red #46 driven by Phil Palm. Cheers

#5 RonPohl

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 04:23

Any TNF'er who are there drop by and say hi. I will be crewing my lola S2000 , red #46 driven by Phil Palm. Cheers

#6 David M. Kane

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 19:03

I'm sure Tom Molloy will have an interesting car or two there!

#7 TooTall

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:15

I plan to be there Saturday, cameras in hand.

Cheers,
Kurt O.

#8 xj13v12

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 09:10

1972 Eagle 7219 will be there. This car was delivered early 1973 and raced by Graham McRae who was rookie of the year.
The STP Eagle team won the race with Johncock at the wheel but most of you will know the rest of the 1973 story.

I learned from a team member that year that this car was held as back up for Johncock until he qualified and then McRae was signed up. In just a handful of laps he got up to speed and qualified comfortably.
The car then became the Wally Dallenbach's car and won several races before being sold as the team replaced old cars with the newer models.
Bill Simpson also ran at Indy in the car but it is now in correct 1973 livery. The car was run at the Indy Vintage parade laps this year and is at Fontana this weekend. The STP colour scheme is perhaps the most iconic of all. Andy Granitelli himself was most impressed with the car when he saw it in May.
Worth the trip to Fontana to see some very nice cars and make sure you visit the great Riverside Museum.

Edited by xj13v12, 22 June 2012 - 09:11.


#9 RonPohl

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 22:15

1972 Eagle 7219 will be there. This car was delivered early 1973 and raced by Graham McRae who was rookie of the year.
The STP Eagle team won the race with Johncock at the wheel but most of you will know the rest of the 1973 story.

I learned from a team member that year that this car was held as back up for Johncock until he qualified and then McRae was signed up. In just a handful of laps he got up to speed and qualified comfortably.
The car then became the Wally Dallenbach's car and won several races before being sold as the team replaced old cars with the newer models.
Bill Simpson also ran at Indy in the car but it is now in correct 1973 livery. The car was run at the Indy Vintage parade laps this year and is at Fontana this weekend. The STP colour scheme is perhaps the most iconic of all. Andy Granitelli himself was most impressed with the car when he saw it in May.
Worth the trip to Fontana to see some very nice cars and make sure you visit the great Riverside Museum.

And a very rare McRae F5000 car was there today. Lots of interesting Indy cars . I think my favorite is Rodger Wards 1966 Lola....but than I am partial tp Lolas.

#10 TooTall

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 04:19

A few photos from Saturday.

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Cheers,
Kurt O.

#11 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 07:42

A few photos from Saturday.

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Cheers,
Kurt O.

Lovely pics, more please

#12 E1pix

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 09:06

Very nice, Kurt! :up:

OT, sorry, anyone know whose Caldwell D13 Formula Vee that is in photo #2? Second-ever car I lettered as a kid may have been that car...

#13 Magoo

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 13:25

@Kurt O aka TooTall: Excellent photos, thanks. Really first rate. :up:

#14 RonPohl

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 15:24

@Kurt O aka TooTall: Excellent photos, thanks. Really first rate. :up:

Great pics TooTall. The indycar exhibition was fantastic, better Than the Indy museum .

#15 Magoo

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 15:46

It's not Auto Club Speedway but there was a decent little static display of midget, sprint, and Indy cars at the Alfred P. Sloan Museum Auto Fair in Flint, Michigan this past weekend.

Vintage Race Cars at the Sloan

#16 carl s

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 19:36

I'll be posting photos of the 3 day event (as they arrive over the next month) at this album:
http://s1011.photobu...2012/?start=all

Had the best seat in the house next to Uncle Bobby in Philippe's recently completed beauty.
http://i1011.photobu...pg?t=1340674988

Next week to Millers at Milwaukee and hopefully back to Auto Club as part of the Indycar Series Weekend in Sep.

Edited by carl s, 26 June 2012 - 19:38.


#17 carl s

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 19:47

Very nice, Kurt! :up:

OT, sorry, anyone know whose Caldwell D13 Formula Vee that is in photo #2? Second-ever car I lettered as a kid may have been that car...


Driver listed as Dietmar Bauerle.
http://www.quixoteracing.com/

Edited by carl s, 26 June 2012 - 19:49.


#18 T54

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 00:00

It was a great weekend and we had lots of fun. I wanted this to happen because 40 years ago, Unser sat on the pole with this Eagle, or in fact part of it because the original tub was destroyed a long time ago and my car is a reconstruction using one of the works engines, gearbox and all of its spare bits. First, Bobby Unser was first-class in the way he was so helpful to me and all that were present to help me, as were the nice guys from the Riverside International Automobile Museum.
As soon as he arrived, Bobby went on all four to adjust the Offy's Hilborn injection and got it perfect. He was incredibly precise in the few changes in pedal position and other details he asked, and we gladly accommodated him.

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The car went pretty fast immediately (boy, you get quite a kick when the turbo spools up!), but an engine problem and a balky gearbox stopped us, for now. We'll be back after a bit of adjustment. :)
When I drove the beast, the wheels needed balancing and the engine was loading up. it got better during the day... I will post a couple of brief videos later.
All in all a nice anniversary celebration of the greatest leap in qualifying speed in the history of the Speedway in a single year.




#19 Frank S

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 00:59

Driver listed as Dietmar Bauerle.
http://www.quixoteracing.com/

If that is the same car Dietmar's father, Roland, raced bearing the same number, it may have been built from a kit. Put together by Bill Gise at his Autosport shop in Chula Vista, CA. Roland had a German restaurant in San Diego: the Golden Bull.


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#20 TooTall

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:21

Thank you all for the compliments. Here are a few more from Fontana. I don't have much info on most of these cars so I'll let the more knowledgeable members fill in the blanks.

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T54's Eagle after coming back under tow. T54 at the back.

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And, what he may have been looking at. A rather large hole burned in the bottom of the wing.

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Cheers,
Kurt O.



#21 T54

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 02:02

Got hot under that wing! :lol:

#22 E1pix

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 05:21

T54, I saw your car run at the Milwaukee Mile in 1972. It seems it may have won... but Bobby won a USAC stock car race with a Superbird that week also so I'm not 100%.

It was my first Champ Car race after a decade of road races and midget events. I recall Mario, Al Unser, and Joe Leonard ran a trio of Parnellis, overall the race was awesome for me and I was one happy kid.

As a lifetime fan, Thank You for restoring your car to such a high level. :up:

#23 E1pix

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 05:36

Driver listed as Dietmar Bauerle.
http://www.quixoteracing.com/

If that is the same car Dietmar's father, Roland, raced bearing the same number, it may have been built from a kit. Put together by Bill Gise at his Autosport shop in Chula Vista, CA. Roland had a German restaurant in San Diego: the Golden Bull.

Just noticed this Carl and Frank, Thank You. :)

#24 RA Historian

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 15:02

T54, I saw your car run at the Milwaukee Mile in 1972. It seems it may have won... but Bobby won a USAC stock car race with a Superbird that week also so I'm not 100%.

June 4, 1972, Milwaukee Mile, 150 mile race. 1st Bobby Unser, Eagle. 2nd, Mark Donohue, McLaren; 3rd Gary Bettenhausen, McLaren.
Tom

#25 T54

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 22:16

Unser lapped the field more than once and was only slowed by yellows that compacted the batch of cars. If the engine stayed together that year, Unser had little valid opposition. He set seven poles and won 4 races from 10 starts, broke at all the others, sometimes little stuff like the distributor rotor at Indy. The only other poles were set by Grant (Eagle) at Ontario (first 200 mph lap ever), Mario (Vel's Parnelli-Offy) and Donohue (Penske McLaren-Offy).


#26 T54

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 22:32

I put a little "anniversary" page in my website with more picture of that bird, CLICK HERE if interested. :)