Recapturing Youthful Fantasies Through Porsches, Eagles and Auctions
Updated: Mar 4
Everyone buys a collector car for a different reason. It is believed that the car that you dreamed about as a youth drives your desire to own it today. The Gooding & Company auction at Amelia Island provided Air Brigade with that opportunity when two cars from earlier in the Commander’s life were hitting the auction block.
One was Dan Gurney’s first Formula One American Eagle that was up for sale. As a youth I breathlessly waited each week for “Competition Press & Autoweek” to appear in my mailbox to read about the latest formula one race in Europe. When Dan Gurney, the all-American racer built the Eagle and started to campaign it in Europe, it gave this 12-year-old boy an American hero to follow and route for. Dan finally won at Spa in 1968 with one of his Eagles and remains as of today, to be the only American Driver and car owner to win a formula one race.
The Eagle for sale at Gooding & Company was number one and carried that number. The Eagle that won at Spa carried number 36 and happens to be the number I sport today on Turbo Bear, my 2009 Porsche 911 Turbo that I use at track events. This is in homage to Dan Gurney and my youth, and the fact that 36 continues to resonate in my life, such as my current address is 36.
Besides the winning history, the Eagle was probably the most beautiful formula one car ever created with the spaghetti pipe exhaust system and the eagle beak nose. As of this writing the sale of this car has not occurred but is scheduled to achieve a sale price of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000. (Editor's note: the Eagle did not make reserve and is available for purchase at $3,000,000.)
The other car in the sale that took me back in time was a former race car of mine, the #48 1969 Porsche 911 T/R. I owned this car in the early 2000’s and raced it spectacularly in HSR races at all the famous tracks: Sebring, Daytona, Watkins Glen, Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta. It was a former Porsche factory car with oodles of history from its beginnings in 1969 through the heyday of Sports Car racing in the seventies and eighties. I put it back on the track after its recommissioning to its 1969 livery. I wasn’t much of a racer but I had fun with the fantasy of being Dan Gurney in my #48 Porsche.
What is the connection to Dan Gurney?
Well Dan Gurney gave Porsche its only formula one win and his first formula one win in the 1962 French Grand Prix driving the Porsche 804 formula one racer. And, when Dan returned to the American racing scene, number 48 became his number when he drove and campaigned the Olsonite Eagles at Indy and stock cars at Riverside. So, in reality a #48 Porsche was a direct extension of Dan Gurney fandom for this man who idolized him from the 60’s.
I sold the car for a price far from the current sale estimate of $450,000 - $650,000. (Editor's note: #48 sold for $467,000.) To me it was an old race car with memories and history and was due a new owner who could perhaps drive it to victory again. The provenance and price now makes it a collector item that will only appear occasionally, but it was great to be reconnected with one of my former loves, especially since it was side-by-side with my first love, the Formula One Eagle.
Key words: Amelia Collector Auctions, Porsche 911 race car, American Eagle formula one, Gooding & company