Historic early AAR Gurney Eagle headlines Gooding’s Sale of Amelia Island

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Fans of rare American cars will want to pay close attention to Gooding & Company’s upcoming Amelia Island sale. The auction house will offer several high-profile classics, including the first of four AAR Gurney Eagle built race cars and a 1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster.

Dan Gurney made his name as a racing driver before he started building cars. He has driven for Ferrari, British Racing Motors and Shelby, among other teams, and has entered numerous big-name races including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. When it came time to build his own cars, he secured funding from Goodyear and teamed with none other than Carroll Shelby to create All American Racers (AAR) in 1965.

The firm designed a Formula 1 car called the Eagle which used a 2.7-litre Coventry Climax engine. Four examples were built, and the one destined for the Asta Amelia (chassis number 101) is the first. It raced on both sides of the Atlantic and was ridden by Bob Bondurant, Phil Hill and Gurney himself, among other drivers. He also raced in the 1967, 1968 and 1969 editions of the Canadian Grand Prix.

Businessman and car collector Tom Wheatcroft later bought chassis 101 and kept it in his collection for over 38 years, according to Gooding & Company. The current owner and seller purchased it from Wheatcroft in 2009 and had it restored by J & L Fabrication in Puyallup, Washington. His goal was to race, so he had the shop install a reproduction engine to ensure the original engine remained intact. The original engine is included in the sale and the anonymous owner raced the Eagle in the 2014 Monaco Classic Grand Prix.

Gooding & Company estimates that the AAR Gurney Eagle will sell for between $3 million and $4 million, and that number is entirely believable: We’re talking about an incredibly rare and historically significant racing car with a documented past.

If that’s too much, or if your automotive interests lie somewhere away from a racetrack, there are plenty of other interesting cars crossing the auction block. One is a 1931 Duesenberg Model J sedan convertible with a short wheelbase frame and body done by California coachbuilder Murphy; it is expected to bring in between $2 and $2.4 million. The aforementioned 851 SC Boattail Speedster, which was fully facelifted in 2010, is expected to fetch between $800,000 and $1.1 million, and a 1937 Cord 812 S/C Cabriolet “Sportsman” could sell for as much as $475,000.

If there’s a hole begging to be filled in your collection, Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island Sale begins March 2 at 3:00 PM Eastern.

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