Grand Prix driver Dan Gurney and fellow countryman Carroll Shelby, creator of the
legendary Cobra sports racing cars, joined together to form All American Racers (AAR). The
team which was sponsored by Goodyear was formed to win Indianapolis which was then
dominated by Firestone equipped cars. Gurney currently driving for Brabham in Formula 1
also wanted to construct a proper Grand Prix car to race on the road courses of Europe.
Based in Santa Ana, California, they hired ex-Lotus designer Len Terry. Fresh from his
success in designing the Lotus Type 38 that had just won at Indy in the hands of Jim Clark
he designed a similar car that was intended for both Indy and Europe. Rather than the
offset suspension of other Indy cars the Eagle had symmetrical suspension, the better to
race on road courses. Four chassis were completed for the 1966 season. The GP team was
call the "Anglo-American Racers" in deference to its British Weslake engine.
This engine was created by ex-BRM engineer Aubrey Woods. The design had previously been
rejected by BRM in favor of their H16.
Woods had been a disciple of Peter Berthin and Raymond Mays who started English Racing Automobiles (ERA) prior to the war. For the Eagle Woods built a beautiful 4-valve per cylinder double overhead cam 12-cylinder 3-liter engine.
The total budget for four new engines (including the prototype) was roughly $600,000.
After starting the season using a 2.75-litre
Coventry-Climax engine the Weslake was ready for Monza. Unfortunately fuel problems and
overheating ended the cars race after 17 laps. Continued overheating marred the last two
races of the season. After starting the 1967 season in one of the Coventry-Climax powered
cars the Eagle-Weslake returned for the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands
Hatch. Joined by new teammate Richie Ginther the team ran 1-2 in the final before
brake trouble halted Ginther's race. Gurney still in the lead managed to hold off a fast
charging Ferrari to claim his team's first race. Ginther who was not able to qualify for
Monaco abruptly retired. After putting the heavy Eagle on a diet, Gurney was ready to
challenge the leaders. At Spa history was made as Gurney set a new lap record on the way
to a stirring victory thus becoming the first American to win a Championship Grand Prix in
an American car of his own make. This victory would prove to be the high point of Gurney's
career and also that of Eagle. In 1968 Gurney severed his ties with Weslake, as the Sussex
firm was not up to the rigors of Formula One. A homegrown engine was under development and
did actually race but lack of funds soon put an end to AAR's European racing efforts.