The UK and US have a long and successful racing history. The AC Cobra, the Ford GT40, Lola, Chevrolet-McLaren and many more all prove that Anglo-American collaboration can produce an incredible racing car. The Anglo-American Racing Eagle Weslake Mk1 however, did not.
Built by American Formula 1 driver Dan Gurney the Eagle Weslake Mk1 wowed crowds when it debuted at the start of the 1966 season. The car initially raced with Dan at the wheel powered by a Coventry-Climax four-cylinder engine, until it’s purpose-built Gurney-Westlake V12 was ready for the ’67 season.
Often cited as the most beautiful Formula 1 car ever built, if the newly-engined V12-powered Mk1 went as well as it looked it would be a championship winner.
Despite obvious speed allowing the Mk1 to qualify at or near the front of the grid almost all season, chronic fragility of the Gurney-Weslake V12 engine meant the car retired from every race bar two. The two races in which it did finish were both podiums though, proving the speed was there and making Dan Gurney one of only three drivers ever to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix in a car of their own making.
However the Eagle-Weslake’s statistics don’t make for great reading. Of the 26 races the Mk1 started the car finished just six, and in three of those it was powered by the old Coventry-Climax engine. By the end of 1968 Anglo-American Racing closed its doors and Gurney returned to the ‘states under the All American Racing banner to continue competing in domestic championships.
Nevertheless the Gurney-Weslake Mk1 was a race-winner and thus deserves its place in the Formula 1 Hall of Fame. TLCB Master MOCer Luca Rusconi (aka RoscoPC) has recreated the Mk1 in spectacular detail, as he continues to upload his huge back-catalogue of historic racing cars to Flickr.
First built in 2013 (when it appeared here) Luca’s model has been beautifully re-photgraphed, and it features working suspension, functioning steering, and an accurate replica of the unreliable Gurney-Weslake V12 engine. A whole host of stunning images are available to view at Luca’s Eagle-Weslake Flickr album – click here to take a look.