My Car Quest

February 22, 2018

Dan Gurney Has Died

The great Dan Gurney has died.

You can read more about Dan Gurney’s career here.

The article below was originally posted in April 2011 under the title,

Dan Gurney – A Man Of Many Firsts

by Mike –

Dan Gurney is an American racing driver, race car constructor, and race car team owner.

1969 All American Racers Eagle

1969 All American Racers Eagle

He has had a very successful career and has achieved many firsts in racing:

Dan Gurney

Dan Gurney

1) Gurney is the first driver to win races in Sports Cars, Formula One, NASCAR, and Indy Car. This feat has only been matched by Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya.

2) He is the only driver to score the first Formula 1 victories for three different manufacturers—Porsche, Brabham and his own team, All American Racers. None of these three teams are in Formula 1 today.

3) He created a modification to the race car rear wing, called the Gurney flap, that increases downforce with a small increase in the drag.

4) At the 1968 German Grand Prix he became the first driver ever to use a full face helmet in a Formula 1 race.

5) He is the first American driver to win a Formula 1 race in an American car.

All American Racers Eagle

All American Racers Eagle

6) The hump in the roof line of some Ford GT40 race cars is called the Gurney hump and allows the 6 foot 3 inch tall Gurney to fit in the car. I do not believe that any other driver has a hump named after him.

7) He was the first driver hired by Jack Brabham for the Brabham Racing Organization.

8) And last, but not least, in 1967, after winning the 24 hours of Le Mans with co-driver A.J. Foyt, he sprayed champagne while celebrating on the podium. This is now a racing tradition much to the delight of the Champagne makers and the dread of any race official who does not exit the podium before the spraying begins.

All American Racers Eagle

All American Racers Eagle

All American Racers Eagle

All American Racers Eagle

This is the list of firsts that I came up with but I suspect that there are many mores firsts for Dan Gurney.

Dan Gurney - Castrol

Dan Gurney - Bell Helments

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

 

 

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Dan Gurney Has Died
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Dan Gurney Has Died
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Dan Gurney, the great race car driver has died.
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Comments

  1. wallace Wyss says:

    I met Dan a few times in writing articles and/or books . He was always incredibly modest, considering his achievements. I got a kick out of his relationship with Shelby with whom he was a sometime partner in various projects. Where Shelby was always swaggering, with a retinue, Dan was quiet and shy. Sometimes he would drive Cobras for Shelby but as soon as the race was done, he would want to go off and work on his own ideas for race cars. Sometimes he would set up a chassis different than Shelby’s crew wanted to do it and Shelby would have to take the car back in the shop and switch it back (I think that happened on the Mk. IV that he won LeMans with in ’67, co-driving with Foyt) . Sometimes he persisted developing something his own way and a good result came along like the Gurney Weslake heads. And let’s not forget the “Dan Gurney for President campaign started by Car & Driver fans (looking at it from 2018 he was as qualified as who we have now). When I remember him, I picture in my mind those old pictures of him in Europe, when driving for Porsche and such, just a callow California kid, like his pal Ritchie Ginther, taking a chance on catching a ride.

  2. Ron Spangler says:

    Michael

    He was one fine member of our community and let’s not ever forget it

    Ron Spangler

  3. Raymond Zinn says:

    R.I.P Mr. Gurney. Maker of many fine weekends, for his fans.
    The times, they too fast approach and go by taking along with them our youth and our idols, but not our memories of some of the finest racing ever. Those years for those of us that lived them were the greatest, period.

  4. Super nice man, always willing to talk about cars with anyone who was interested. He was not only an amazing driver, he was an engineer, innovator, patent holder, and business man. He knew a great deal about cars, racing, and the business of making it profitable.

    There will never be another like him. The world of racing is far too different these days to cultivate such a thoughtful personality graced with intelligence, skill, and determination to not just succeed, but to deliver at a level of excellence beyond everyone’s expectations.

  5. wallace wyss says:

    Also I think deserving of praise is that he married a beautiful woman (who was secretary at Porsche when he was driving for them) and has a wonderful family and that several of his sons followed him into the family business. I believe that before he left actively going there, they had turned to a new type of much higher paying client, the US government, building military contracts, so in my book that makes him a patriot as well.

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