1981 AAR Eagle Indianapolis
$30,000 - $40,000Offered without reserve
RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 2019 - Offered on: Thursday, January 17, 2019
- Historic Gurney Eagle with well-known provenance
- 9th overall at the 1982 Indianapolis 500, driven by Herm Johnson
- Formerly of the Bob Pond and Thomas Mittler collections
Dan Gurney had a well-proven reputation at the Indianapolis 500, his All American Racers (AAR) having won the famous race three times in Eagle cars in 1968, 1973, and 1975. New rules in 1981 dictated that naturally aspirated Chevrolet and Cosworth engines would have to replace the newly outlawed turbocharged powerplants previously allowed.
This Chevrolet-powered example, chassis no. 8104, was purchased new by John Menard, who campaigned it in the CART series beginning at Watkins Glen in 1981, where it was driven by 1977 Formula Super-Vee champion Herm Johnson. Johnson then raced it in Mexico City, placing 8th, finishing the season by coming in 9th in Phoenix. After racing again at Phoenix and Atlanta early in the 1982 season, the Eagle’s last professional competition would be at the 1982 Indianapolis 500, wearing #28. The car qualified at a speed of 195.929 mph and earned 14th placement on the grid for the start. By the end of the race, Johnson had worked his way up to 9th.
In 1989, the car was purchased by Thomas Mittler, of South Bend, Indiana, who lent the car to the Studebaker National Museum for display during the 1990 Studebaker festival. During Mittler’s ownership, the car was kept on static display. By 1993, the car became part of the Pond Collection and campaigned under the banner of Bob Pond Racing. It was driven in the final round of the American IndyCar Series at Willow Springs International Raceway by former Shelby American employee and Nissan factory driver John Morton. Morton finished 2nd overall on Saturday, and in the subsequent race the following day, Morton placed 1st overall, in what would be its final race under the Bob Pond Racing banner. It was then acquired by the current owner from that esteemed collection.
This well-pedigreed race car presents a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of American racing history.