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.