Eagle 1966 Indy car-by-car histories
Designed for Dan Gurney's AAR by Len Terry, the 1966 Indianapolis Eagle was based on Terry's Lotus 38 design. Six were built, four for AAR and two for customers Lindsey Hopkins and Sidney Weinberger.
Of the four AAR cars, one passed quickly to AJ Foyt and then had a convoluted career until disappearing in 1970, one became the Michner-Patrick's team's "Old Shep" and was last raced in 1973, one was sold to Weinberger as a backup and is now in the IMS Museum, and the fourth is a mystery until it appeared in Tassi Vatis's team in 1970. The Hopkins car stayed in his stable until the end of 1970 and the Weinberger car remained in his stable until 1970.
The chassis numbers of the 1966 cars are by no means certain but the numbers used here are based on the results of conversations between Dave Thomas, Walter Goodwin, AJ Watson, Dick Cecil, Willie Davis, Judd Philips and others. Those conversations also led to current ownerships being agreed for all the cars, but three of these have since been found to be incorrect. The only cars with known ownership chains are the ex-Dan Gurney car (201?) now owned by Bruce Canepa, and the ex-Lloyd Ruby car (205?) owned by Peter Dyson. Another two, the ex-Joe Leonard car (202?) with Wally Dallenbach, and the ex-Jerry Grant car (203) owned by Aaron Lewis, have long-established identities but the evidence for those identifications is not known. The remaining two, a car in Hopkins/McCluskey livery in Don Smith's collection, and a car in Lloyd Ruby livery owned by the IMS Museum, had been misidentified. If you can add anything to our understanding of these cars, please contact Allen Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The first 1966 Eagle, chassis 201, was fitted with a 255ci Ford V8 and was Dan Gurney's #31 AAR entry at the 1966 Indy 500. The car is then unknown until the Indy 500 in 1967 when it was the #48 AAR entry for Jochen Rindt and fitted with the 303 ci Gurney Weslake Ford V8. Gurney then drove this car again at Riverside in November 1967, winning the race. It is assumed that this car remained with AAR as a test car for the Gurney Weslake V8 but its history is unknown until 1970 when it was the Tassi Vatis #95 entry for Sam Posey at the Indy 500 but failed to start. Once again, it is unknown until the 1971 500 when it was again the #95 entry, this time raced by Bentley Warren. Warren and later Carl Williams raced it in other events later in 1971 and Williams qualified it for the 500 in 1972. Its last known appearance was at Pocono in July 1972. According to a later auction catalogue, it was sold to Bob Johnson and then to Jim Mann in 1978 before passing via Bob and Don Tarwaki to collector Bob Sutherland. It was restored for Sutherland by Jim Robbins then sold to Joe MacPherson (Tustin, CA). After MacPherson's death, it was sold at auction in 2008 to Riverside International Automotive Museum's Doug Magnon. Run by Magnon at Fontana in June 2014. The car was on display in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum in May 2015, replacing the Museum's own 1966 car which had been on display earlier in the month. Doug Magnon died in February 2015 but the car remained in his Riverside International Museum until it was auctioned by RM Sotheby's at Monterey in August 2016 and sold to Bruce Canepa. Being restored by Canepa in 2017
Driven by: Dan Gurney, Jochen Rindt, Sam Posey, Bentley Warren and Carl Williams. First race: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (R3), 30 May 1966. Total of 12 recorded races.
'the AAR/Leonard car (202?)'
The #6 AAR entry for Joe Leonard at the 1966 Indy 500 with Yamaha backing and fitted with a 255ci Ford V8. Tentatively identified as chassis 202. Driven by Leonard in other events in 1966 then to Tom Friedkin's Friedkin Enterprises team (Houston, TX) to be their #87 entry in the 1967 Indy 500 for Jochen Rindt, who was bumped. Then believed to be the #4 Ford-powered Eagle driven by Leonard for AJ Foyt's Sheraton-Thompson team at two races and also once by Jim Hurtubise. Next seen in 1968 when it was entered by Alan Green as the #18 City of Seattle car for Johnny Rutherford to race at the Indy 500 and at Milwaukee. Then believed to be the Friedkin & Green #69 entry for Jerry Grant to race in two early 1969 events with a Chevrolet engine. Used as the #78 entry by Grant at the Indy 500 but did not attempt to qualify. Next see as Marvin Webster's #76 entry for Grant at races later in 1969. Its last known appearance was at Sears Point in April 1970 when it was the #69 car, still with the Chevrolet engine and entered by Grant's own Competition Dev. Unknown since April 1970 but reported to be owned by Wally Dallenbach. The car currently resides in the lobby of Unser Karting (Denver, CO).
Driven by: Joe Leonard, Jochen Rindt, Johnny Rutherford and Jerry Grant. First race: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (R3), 30 May 1966. Total of 14 recorded races.
The #88 AAR entry for Jerry Grant at the 1966 Indy 500 with Bardahl and Pacesetter Homes backing and fitted with a 255ci Ford V8. Identified as chassis 203. Also raced by Grant at Phoenix at the end of 1966. Then to Friedkin Enterprises (Houston, TX) and entered as the #78 for Grant in 1967 at the Indy 500 and at road course events later in the season. For Jerry Titus at the 1968 Indy 500 and then sold to Jackson oilman Walt Michner for his Michner Petroleum team and driver Johnny Rutherford as a backup to his other ex-Friedkin Eagle. The 1966 car was fitted with an Offy turbo for 1969 and entered as the #36 Patrick Petroleum car for Rutherford throughout the season. Retained by Michner for Rutherford during the 1970 and 1971 seasons still in partnership with Michner's 1967 Eagle as the #18 entry. The 1966 car was nicknamed "Geraldine" during this time and the 1967 car "Old Shep". Then to Marvin Webster (who had previously owned 202) and on the entry list at Ontario in 1972 for Don Brown. Next seen in practice at the 1973 Indy 500, entered by Webster as the #76, and later at Ontario in September 1973 where John Cannon raced it. Advertised by Webster in December 1973 with a 1968 Eagle. Later found in a foyer and acquired by Chuck Haines (St Louis, MO). Still with Haines in 2003. Owned by Aaron Lewis (Cessnock, NSW, Australia) by 2008 and restored to Rutherford #36 livery. Run at the Phillip Island Classic 2011 by Lewis. Still with Aaron in December 2014.
Driven by: Jerry Grant, Jerry Titus, Johnny Rutherford, Bentley Warren, Bob Harkey, John Cannon and Billy Scott. First race: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (R3), 30 May 1966. Total of 39 recorded races.
'the Hopkins/McCluskey car (204?)'
A customer car sold to Lindsey Hopkins and entered for the 1966 Indy 500 for Roger McCluskey to drive as the #8 G. C. Murphy car. Tentatively identified as chassis 204. Also raced by McCluskey for the rest of 1966 then McCluskey's backup #72 entry in 1967. Hopkins bought a new 1967 Eagle for McCluskey in 1967 and then acquired the ex-Yunick one as well but it is still possible that the 1966 car was used as a short track or road course car that season. Hopkins bought another new Eagle in 1968 which relegated the 1966 car further down the order. How it was used in 1968, if at all, is unknown. In 1969 Wally Dallenbach joined the Hopkins team to drive the older 1966 and 1967 Eagles. The 1966 car was Dallenbach's backup at the 1969 Indy 500 and was presumably his short track car during that season. Thought to have become Dallenbach's regular car after his 1967 car was wrecked at Dover Downs. Unknown after Phoenix November 1970. Believed for many years to be the car in the Don Smith Collection, but prior to the 2018 auction, this claim was withdrawn.
Driven by: Roger McCluskey and Wally Dallenbach. First race: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (R3), 30 May 1966. Total of 26 recorded races.
'the Lloyd Ruby car (205?)'
The #14 AAR entry for Lloyd Ruby at the 1966 Indy 500 with Bardahl backing and fitted with a 255ci Ford V8. Tentatively identified as chassis 205. Also raced by Jim McElreath at Fuji that October and by Ruby at Phoenix in November. Sold to Weinberger Homes and entered as the #47 Offy turbo car for Norm Brown at the 1967 Indy 500 but crashed in practice. Raced by Johnny Rutherford on other occasions and thought to be the team's Offy car alongside their regular chassis 206 and their Gerhardt, raced by Rutherford in 1967 and Ronnie Bucknum in 1968. Weinberger bought a new Eagle for 1968, relegating chassis 205 further down the order. Appeared at the Indy 500 in 1970 as the #49 entry. Sold to Ludwig Heimrath (Scarborough, Ontario, Canada) and fitted with a Chevrolet V8 engine for F5000 in 1972. Retained to 1975 then sold to Don Ludewig (Clarkston, MI). Don retained the car until 2014 when it was sold to Peter Dyson (Winnetka, IL). At the vintage Indycar event at Indianapolis in May 2015.
Driven by: Lloyd Ruby, Jim McElreath, Norm Brown, Johnny Rutherford, Bobby Unser, Charlie Glotzbach and Ludwig Heimrath. First race: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (R3), 30 May 1966. Total of 12 recorded races.
'the Weinberger car (206?)'
Sold new to W & W Enterprises, which was Sidney Weinberger, a wealthy sportsman and building contractor from Ulica, Michigan, and his partner Frank Wilseck. Tentatively identified as chassis 206. Fitted with a Ford quad cam engine and entered by Weinberger Homes for Gordy Johncock at the 1966 Indy 500 as the #5 car. Johncock preferred his 1966 #72 Gerhardt at Indy and elsewhere and the #5 Eagle only raced at Fuji, where Bobby Unser took it to second place. After Johncock and chief crew Duane Glasgow left, the Eagle was entered by Weinberger at the 1967 500 for Johnny Rutherford to drive, now with Wally Meskowski as chief crew. Raced later in the year by Rutherford, still with its Ford V8, as the team also now had another '66 Eagle with an Offy turbo. Probably the Ford-powered car raced by Ronnie Bucknum for the team in 1968 and probably raced by Larry Dickson once as the #49 in 1969, now with an Offy turbo. Identified as the #45 entry for Charlie Glotzbach in 1970. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Gordon Johncock, Bobby Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Ronnie Bucknum, Larry Dickson and Charlie Glotzbach. First race: Fuji (R15), 9 Oct 1966. Total of 21 recorded races.
The mystery cars
the Don Smith Collection car
The collection of Donald E. Smith (Terre Haute, IN), a veteran sponsor and supporter of racing in Indiana, included a 1966 or 1967 Indy Eagle restored in the livery of the 1966 Lindsey Hopkins #8 G. C. Murphy entry driven by Roger McCluskey. The car was housed in his "500 Museum of Wheels" in Terre Haute. Featured in "Griot's Garage Treasures" on YouTube in November 2012. In June 2018, the car was auctioned, and just before the auction, it was announced that restorer Walter Goodwin had found that it was assembled from a '66 and '67 Eagle, and it was being offered on that basis. The car sold for $170,000 to Ray Skillman, an auto dealer in Greenwood, Indiana.
the IMS Museum car
A car in the livery of Lloyd Ruby's #14 AAR Bardahl Eagle livery was on display in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum as early as May 1975, when it was on loan by the Museum to an Indianapolis bank, and continues to be used as part of the backup collection. The origins of this car are not known. Still in the Hall of Fame museum May 2005 but later withdrawn from display. Exhibited at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2011 and at Indiana International Airport from January to March 2014. Back at the IMS Museum in May 2015.
An earlier version of this page had the Lloyd Ruby car (205?) as the one in the IMS Museum and the Weinberger car (206?) as the car owned by Don Ludewig. Don's research into these two cars made a compelling case that his car was 205. In the light of the misidentification of the Don Smith Collection car, it is not possible to be confident about the identity of ther IMS Museum car, so that has been moved into the mystery cars section as well.
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