Eagle 1967 Indy car-by-car histories
The 1967 Indy Eagle was only the slightest of enhancements over the 1966 model, and the chassis numbering actually continued from the earlier car. Bobby Unser's Rislone/Leader Cards car was the most successful of the batch in 1967, winning two races.
Four customer cars were delivered by Dan Gurney's All American Racers (AAR) in 1967, and were delivered to Leader Card Racers for Bobby Unser to drive, to Lindsey Hopkins for Roger McCluskey, to stock car mechanic 'Smokey' Yunick for Denny Hulme, and to John Klug's Pacesetter Homes for Jochen Rindt. The AAR team also retained two cars for its own purposes, and these were entered at the Indy 500 for Dan Gurney and Richie Ginther. Ginther could not get his car into the race and it was taken over by Friedkin Enterprises before qualifying finished, and was put into the race by Jerry Grant. Rindt wrecked his car during practice but Unser, McCluskey, Hulme and Gurney all qualified. AAR did not enter a car in the later championship races as Gurney was focused on the F1 Eagle, and his Indy 500 car was sold to AJ Foyt. Both Unser and McCluskey had good results in their cars, finishing 1-2 in each of the Mosport races, but elsewhere Mario Andretti's Hawk, Foyt's Coyote, Al Unser's Lola and even Gordy Johncock's Gerhardt proved to be quicker. Bobby Unser acquired a second 1967 Eagle and used both these cars in 1968 after his Indy 500-winning 1968 Eagle was wrecked, taking him to the 1968 USAC National Championship.
Like the 1966 cars, the chassis numbers of the 1967 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, Jud Phillips and others. The histories of chassis 207 and chassis 214 are proving especially difficult to unravel.
If you can add anything to our understanding of these cars, please contact Allen Brown (email@example.com).
'the Pacesetter Homes car (208?)'
Sold to John W. Klug, founder of California builders Pacesetter Homes, fitted with a Ford quad cam engine and entered for Jochen Rindt at the #88 car at the 1967 Indy 500. Arrived on 1 May but crashed heavily just eight days later and "damaged extensively". Believed to be the car later sold to SCCA racer Lou Sell (Fullerton, CA) and raced in road course events from July 1968 onwards. Crashed at Riverside in December 1968 when Sell was very badly injured and the Eagle was torn in half.
According to Mike Devin, writing on Facebook in June 2018, he used the front half of this tub and the back of the car crashed by Wally Dallenbach at Dover Downs in 1969, to build a Sprite show car for Jack Beckley, long-time chief mechanic on the Lindsey Hopkins Eagles. Beckley left Hopkins in June 1970, and Don Kenyon took over the whole operation. The subsequent history of the Sprite show car is unknown, but a comparison of photographs of the front of the monocoque indicate that it is the car that spent many years in the collection of Donald E. Smith (Terre Haute, IN), a veteran sponsor and supporter of racing in Indiana. It had been restored in the livery of the #8 G. C. Murphy entry driven by Roger McCluskey for owner Lindsey Hopkins in 1966, and was on display in Smith's "500 Museum of Wheels" in Terre Haute, where it was 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 was being offered on that basis. The car sold for $170,000 to Ray Skillman, an auto dealer in Greenwood, Indiana.
Driven by: Jochen Rindt and Lou Sell. First race: Continental Divide (R11), 7 Jul 1968. Total of 5 recorded races.
'the Smokey Yunick car (209?)'
Sold to legendary NASCAR mechanic Henry "Smokey" Yunick and entered as the #69 entry for Denny Hulme at the 1967 Indy 500, fitted with a Ford V8 and with support from the City of Daytona. Hulme finished fourth but Yunick did not run the car in any other events, so the Eagle was passed to the AJ Foyt team and Foyt himself raced it at Mosport in July. As Foyt had also acquired a 1967 Eagle from AAR, the Yunick was not needed, and later in the season it went to the Lindsey Hopkins team to replace a car damaged at Hanford. Exactly how it was used in 1968 is still being researched. It was not entered at the Indy 500 in 1969, but according to the Bob Laycock Card File it reappeared in 1970 at the Indy 500 as the #37 car for Mel Kenyon. This car is then said to have gone to Bob Dickson for engine builder Bruce H. Crower, and was the car fitted with Crower's 203 ci turbocharged Chevrolet V8 engine and raced by Rick Muther at Phoenix at the end of 1972. This car was then retained in 1973 as a backup to Crower's 1972 Eagle, and was then advertised by Crower in April 1974. Its movement are then unknown for nearly 20 years, but it was still in Crower's configuration when it was bought from Jim Mahoney by Thomas W. Acker (Largo, FL) in 1993. Acker sold it in 2003 to Don and Joan Lyons (Dowagiac, Michigan), who restored the car to 1967 specification. It was sold from the Lyons collection at the Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction in August 2009.
Driven by: Denis Hulme, AJ Foyt, Roger McCluskey and Rick Muther. First race: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (R3), 31 May 1967. Total of 6 recorded races.
'the Leader Card car (210?)'
Sold to the Jud Phillips half of the Leader Card team, fitted with a Ford V8 and entered for Bobby Unser as the #6 Rislone car from the start of the 1967 season. A second 1967 Eagle was acquired towards the end of 1967, and for 1968, Unser had the two 1967 Eagles and a new 1968 Eagle with Offy turbo engine which he used to win the Indy 500. Unser used his original 1967 Eagle mainly on ovals that season, with the second 1967 car set up for road courses. Unser won the 1968 USAC title using these three Eagles. All three were retained for 1969, alongside a new Lola T152 which was only raced once. After his second 1967 was heavily damaged at Phoenix in November 1969, Unser continued to race the team's original 1967 Eagle during 1970, with the 1968 Eagle being used on road courses.
When Unser and Phillips left Leader Card Racers later in 1970, their equipment was transferred to the AJ Watson half of the Leader Card team. The 1967 Eagle was raced by Watson's driver Mike Mosley to win at Trenton in April 1971, Watson's first Indycar race win in six years. It was also used by George Snider at Milwaukee, Pocono and Michigan in June and July, at Milwaukee in August and at Trenton in October.
At some point, this car was damaged, and the unrepaired monocoque was given by Watson to Bentley Warren, who raced the ex-Michner 1967 Eagle in 1972 and 1973. Warren never repaired the tub, and it remained with him until it was bought in the early 2000s, together with the ex-Michner car, by "Eagle Partners", a consortium formed by AJ Watson, Dave Thomas, Buddy Urbanski and Pat Santello. The consortium restored both cars, and the ex-Unser car, restored to its 1967 Bobby Unser livery, was sold in July 2005 to Aaron Lewis (Cessnock, NSW, Australia). Sold by Aaron in 2014 to Scott Borchetta (Nashville, TN), the founder of Big Machine Records, who ran it in the vintage event at Indianapolis in May 2015. Also appeared at the Historic Indycar Exhibition in May 2016. This car was part of the IMS Museum's "The Amazing Unsers" exhibition in 2018. At the Historic Indycar Exhibition in 2019.
Driven by: Bobby Unser, Mike Mosley and George Snider. First race: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (R3), 31 May 1967. Total of 38 recorded races.
'the Hopkins/McCluskey car (211?)'
Sold to Lindsey Hopkins, fitted with a Ford V8 and entered for Roger McCluskey as the #12 G. C. Murphy car from the start of the 1967 season. This is believed to have been the car McCluskey drove throughout 1967, although he also had the team's older 1966 Eagle available to him. This would then be the car wrecked in McCluskey's accident at Hanford in October, after which Hopkins' crew chief Jack Beckley acquired Smokey Yunick's '67 Eagle to add to the stable. The damaged car was rebuilt by Beckley over the winter with Brabham front suspension, and named 'Beagle'. It was tested by McCluskey at Indianapolis on 20 March 1968, but it was not present at the Indy 500 that year, and it is not clear how it was used during the 1968 season. Wally Dallenbach took over the Hopkins ride in 1969, with Sprite sponsorship, and is said to have driven 211 at the Indy 500 before crashing it at Dover Downs in August. However, it must have returned to the Hopkins stable, as its front suspension modifications are clearly visible in photographs of the car raced by Mel Kenyon at Milwaukee in August 1970. Returned to Indy in 1972, wearing #73 and still with its distinctive outboard front suspension. Probably the Eagle raced by Kenyon at several races later in 1972 before Hopkins acquired a new 1972 Eagle for him. Possibly appeared once more at TWS in 1973. Acquired by Jim Gilmore in Jackson, MI, painted in Gilmore Racing colours and displayed on the wall in Jim Gilmore Enterprises (Kalamazoo, MI). Later in the Gilmore Car Museum (Hickory Corners, MI). Sold at the Gilmore Estate auction in September 2005 to Bob Donahue (Indianapolis, IN). At George Lyons' Contemporary Motorcar Ltd (Erie, PA) for body, paint, striping and lettering restoration in March 2016. Appeared at the Historic Indycar Exhibition in May 2016 but still not mechanically complete. The restoration was finally completed by Peter Jamie in late 2018. Badly damaged at the Indycar historic event in May 2019.
Driven by: Roger McCluskey, Wally Dallenbach, Mel Kenyon and Jim McElreath. First race: Phoenix International Raceway (R1), 9 Apr 1967. Total of 30 recorded races.
'the AAR #74 car (212)'
The #74 AAR entry for Dan Gurney at the 1967 Indy 500, fitted with a Ford V8 and with support from Wagner Lockheed. Sold after the race to AJ Foyt and photographs show that it was the car raced by Joe Leonard at Mosport Park in July 1967, still in works livery. The history of the car over the next three years remains unknown but according to the Hungness Yearbook, it reappeared at the 1970 Indy 500 still as part of the Foyt team but now equipped with a turbo Ford and entered as the #83 Greer car for Donnie Allison, who finished fourth. Then sold to Bill Simpson (Los Angeles, CA) and raced by him with a Chevrolet engine and three late-1970 races. Fitted with an Offy turbo for Simpson in 1971 and 1972. Sold to Marv Carman (Union City, Michigan) and turned into a supermodified, but at some point the car was very badly damaged in a workshop fire. The remains of the car were acquired by Richard Bible and they were stored until 2008, when bought by Indycar collector Bill Wiswedel (Holland, Michigan). In 2012, Wiswedel sold the fire-damaged tub and its surviving components to Justin Gurney, son of Dan Gurney and then CEO of AAR. He sent the tub to John Mueller and Jerry Wise of Entrepreneur's Motor Sports (Fresno, CA), who built a completely new car to take its place, there being no part of the damaged tub that was usable. The new car was unveiled on Dan Gurney's 84th birthday in April 2015. On display in the Revs Institute (Naples, FL) in Feb 2017.
Driven by: Dan Gurney, Joe Leonard, Jim Hurtubise, Donnie Allison and Bill Simpson. First race: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (R3), 31 May 1967. Total of 20 recorded races.
Identifying the 1966 and 1967 Indy Eagles
The histories of the 1966 and 1967 Eagles are still far from complete, but significant progress has been made since this page was published in 2015. Although much of the early progress on this subject was based on Hungness yearbooks and mentions in the motor racing press, the more recent progress has been the result of comparing photographs of the 13 cars and identifying the small but unique features on each car. The patterns of rivets where the side skins are attached to the bulkhead behind the driver's seat are nearly all different in some way and do not change from season to season. Similarly, any duct cut into the top skin in front of the cockpit typically remains visible on the car often through to the current day, and holes in the skins left from tank fittings and mirrors are often visible. As an example, three of the cars had access panels cut into the front of the monocoque, but all those panels were slightly different to each other.
Two mysteries were previously listed here which were resolved during 2020 by detailed comparison of the cars using period photographs. Firstly, the car acquired by Jerry Hansen during the 1969 season has features around the front of the monocoque that show that it was the 1966 Eagle, chassis 201, that AAR had used in late 1967 and early 1968 for the Gurney-Weslake stock block engine. This agreed with press reports saying that the car was ex-Gurney, although those press reports incorrectly identified it as a 1967 car. The second puzzle concerned the pair of Eagles acquired by A.J. Foyt for road courses in 1967, and photographs have now shown that these were Dan Gurney's #74 entry and Smokey Yunick's #69 entry for Denny Hulme at the 1967 Indy 500. The only time Foyt entered both cars together was at the pair of races at Mosport in July 1967, where Foyt drove the ex-Yunick/Hulme car, now repainted red and entered as #14, and Joe Leonard had the ex-Gurney car still in AAR livery and entered as #4. The next time the Foyt team used an Eagle was at the Riverside 300 in November 1967; by this time the ex-Yunick/Hulme car had been sold on to the Hopkins team, and Foyt entered Jim Hurtubise in the ex-Gurney car, now repainted red and entered as #4. After this, the next known appearance of a Foyt-owned Eagle was not until 1970.
While the study of photographs has confirmed many aspects of the histories shown here and has solved some mysteries, it has also introduced new puzzles to be resolved. For example, photographs clearly show that Bobby Unser had two different 1967 Eagles, not just one, during his four-year spell with the Leader Card team. Other issues that are still being actively researched include the identification of Richie Ginther's car at the 1967 Indy 500, the history of chassis 207, and the identity of 'Beagle', the Eagle that Jack Beckley fitted with Brabham-style suspension for the Lindsey Hopkins team in early 1968.
'the AAR #42 car'
The #42 AAR entry for Richie Ginther at the 1967 Indy 500, fitted with a Ford V8. Ginther made two attempts to qualify but the car was sold on 21 May to Friedkin Enterprises Racing Division for Jerry Grant to qualify after his #78 entry, a 1966 Eagle, had been bumped. The #42 car was qualified by Grant but retired from the race. Photographs show that this was not the same car that Grant drove as Friedkin's #42 later in 1967. The history of this car after the 1967 Indy 500 is currently unresolved.
Driven by: Jerry Grant and Richie Ginther. First race: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (R3), 31 May 1967. Only one recorded race.
'the second Leader Card car'
Close study of photographs shows that Leader Card Racers had acquired a second 1967 Eagle for Bobby Unser by the end of 1967. It can first be seen at the Bobby Ball Memorial at Phoenix in November 1967, but Unser may have raced it ealier than that. In 1968, the two Eagles were very similar, but small differences indicate that this second car was the one Unser drove on road courses in 1968, still with its original Ford engine. In 1969, it can be observed at Phoenix in March and at Trenton in September, and is likely to have been his car at a number of other races. It is thought to be the car Unser crashed heavily at Phoenix in November 1969, as its features cannot be seen in photographs of Unser's 1967 Eagle during 1970. If so, its racing career may have ended in that accident.
Driven by: Bobby Unser. First race: Phoenix International Raceway (R20), 19 Nov 1967. Total of 15 recorded races.
The Michner Petroleum "1968" Eagle
The Michner Petroleum team appeared for the 1968 season with an Eagle that was a 1967 shape but does not appear to have raced in 1967. When first mentioned in press reports in early 1968, it was said to be "brand new" and a "1968 Eagle", and joined a stable that already included a 1966 Lola T80. Efforts continue to identify it.
'the Michner Petroleum car'
Walt Michner's Michner Petroleum team entered what was described as a new 1968 Eagle for Mike Mosley at the 1968 Indy 500, but photographs show it was a 66/67 Eagle. Mosley was replaced by Rick Muther before practice started, but he qualified the team's 1966 Lola T80, so the Eagle was reassigned to Ronnie Duran, and then to Bill Cheesbourg, who qualified it but was bumped. Norm Brown then took over the drive but was badly injured at Milwaukee in the accident that took the life of Ronnie Duman and destroyed the Michner Lola T80. Michner then recruited Johnny Rutherford to drive the "1968" Eagle for the rest of the season.
The Michner team had two Eagles for Rutherford in 1969, 1970 and 1971, by which time the team had become Patrick Racing. It would appear that the 1966 car, with a turbo Offy engine, was used on ovals in 1969 while the 1967 car, using Chevrolet or Ford engines, was used on road courses. By October 1969, possibly earlier, the 1967 car had acquired a distinctive oil radiator high on the left side of the cockpit. The team's 1966 Eagle acquired Colt-style wedge-shaped bodywork on the sides of the car during 1970, and became known as "Geraldine", with this more standard 1967 car, nicknamed "Old Shep", being the car qualified by Tony Adamowicz for the 1970 Indy 500, but bumped. In July 1971, the 1967 car was the first of the pair to be fitted with McLaren M16-style wings instead of the wedge bodywork used on "Geraldine" in 1970.
Pat Patrick reorganised the team for 1972 and the '67 car was sold to Bentley Warren, who raced it for his #36 Bay State Racing entry in 1972. Warren retained the car for 1973 and made one last appearance at Trenton in September 1974, after which the car remained in his garage. In the early 2000s, Warren sold the car to "Eagle Partners", a consortium made up AJ Watson, Dave Thomas, Buddy Urbanski and Pat Santello, who rebuilt the car to the 1971 wedge-sided configuration used on the sister car, "Geraldine". In 2006, the restored car appeared at the Amelia Island Concours, and in 2007 it was sold at auction by Kruse (Auburn, IN) to Chuck Haines. In 2008, Haines sold it to Jim Vieira, and it appeared at an Indianapolis historic event in 2009. By early 2011, it was at John Mueller of Entrepreneur’s Motor Sports (Fresno, CA), to be restored to Richie Ginther's 1967 #42 livery. In this form, it was sold in 2013 to Rob Dyson (Millbrook, NY). On display at the offices of RACER magazine in January 2014. On display at Indianapolis in May 2015 and at the Historic Indycar Exhibition in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Driven by: Bill Cheesbourg, Ronnie Duman, Johnny Rutherford, Tony Adamowicz, Jim McElreath and Bentley Warren. First race: Indianapolis Raceway Park (R13), 21 Jul 1968. Total of 28 recorded races.
My thanks to Michael Ferner, Simmo Iskül, Aaron Lewis and others for sharing the results of their very detailed research into the 1966 and 1967 Eagles. Thanks also to Chuck Haines, Jerry Entin, Jeremy Hall and Tom Schultz for their help on this subject, and to Dan Vaughan at Conceptcarz.com for the use of his photograph.
There is still much to understand about these cars, especially the cars that were in the Lindsey Hopkins stable, but also those in the Jerry Grant/Tommy Friedkin team and the related Marv Webster team. If you have any information that would help, or photographs of the cars that could add to our understanding, please email Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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