The Gurney Weslake Eagle – The Most Beautiful Grand Prix Car Ever?
Daniel Sexton Gurney was a successful race driver and with Enzo Ferrari and Bruce McLaren he has in common that he founded his own race team while his career as a motor sportsman was still ongoing.
One week after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Dan made history by driving the number 36 Eagle to victory in the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. Designed by Aubrey Woods and manufactured by Harry Weslake, it features an intricately fabricated titanium exhaust system. The car weighed only 1178 lb due to the use of a titanium suspension and a magnesium monocoque. Gurney’s win made him the second American to drive an American car to Grand Prix victory since 1921 and the 1st to do so in a car of his own construction.
The shark mouth distantly reminds of the Ferrari 156 of the early sixties, but unlike the Italian that still breathes the air of the fifties, the Eagle stands in a row with the sleek, strung-out proportions of the Lotus 49 that ruled F1 in the late sixties. Gill-like air intakes at both sides of the monocoque re-connect to the shark motif and the deep blue paint job fixes the eyes to the car.
There’s something about this car, something connected to its proportions, the way it stands on the road, its forms and its colour that casts a spell over its beholders. The pictures were taken in summer 2017 in Petersen Automotive Museum.
7 additional images. Click to enlarge.