Most people think of the Gurney-Eagle race cars as something you see at the Indianapolis 500 race or other types of paved speedways. There have always been a few owners and drivers at the PPHC who like to think out of the box. In the 1930s it was the “Hunt-Jenkins” Studebaker that graced both the Indy 500 and Pikes Peak. Louis Unser the “Old Man of the Mountain” drove a the Maserati 8CTF and Johnny Mauro drove an Alfa Romeo and a Ferrari that took on both the Peak and the brick yard. So why not, in the early 1970s, wouldn’t you take a Gurney Eagle off the pavement and onto the 12.4 miles course to the Summit. Makes sense doesn’t it?
Two Gurney Eagles
The last production MK5 Gurney Eagle in 1969 was chassis number 514 and was sold brand new to Jim Busby in April 1979, who crashed it shorty thereafter. The second owner Floyd Sable had it completely rebuilt and only owned it for a short time before selling it to Larry Orhdorf of Colorado Springs.
During it’s time at Pikes Peak from 1974 to 1979, it normally ran a Traco Chevrolet V-8, running Weber carburetors and rated at 500 horsepower. The suspension height was adjusted with increased tire size and chassis adjustments to give it about three inches of ground clearance. Roll cage requirements changed in 1972 making it mandatory for a four point cage around the drivers area. All six years the car carried the number 45. Best time for the car was in 1978 running a 12:38.30 .
The current owner has taken great care of the car since the late 1980s.
There was a second Gurney-Eagle too.
The second Gurney was a 1968 model and it also ran a Chevy V-8, both cars were owned by Larry Orhdorf. Just running the Pike Peak Hill Climb the one year 1976, very few pictures are available.
Below is a newspaper article about a practice incident in 1976 with the second car, driven by Bud Hoffpauir.
The car raced at PPHC running number 47 and was a “did not finish”.
Thanks for saving these cars.
Both cars survive and someday I hope to have a close up look at them. Just glad the owner has taken great care of both of them.
Check back later and hopefully I will have updates.