ALL-AMERICAN CAR TO BE CONSERVED BY ALL-AMERICAN RACERS Company press release.
One of the race cars American racing legend Dan Gurney is most closely associated with is the Ford Mark IV that he and A.J. Foyt took to a historic victory at the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Gurney will get a chance to become even more familiar with the car he helped make famous when his All-American Racers shop in California takes possession of the car's conservation on behalf of Henry Ford Museum, it was announced today.
'I don't think we could have found a better person or better organization to conserve this very special race car,' said Christian Overland, executive vice-president, The Henry Ford. 'Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt made this Mark IV famous with their win at Le Mans, and to have Dan, his son Justin, and their employees take on the job of conserving it for future generations seems so right. There is no doubt in our mind they will take the upmost care in this job because of what this car meant to their family's history.'
Gurney and Foyt teamed with legendary car owner Carroll Shelby to run the Mark IV at Le Mans. Their victory in 1967 remains the only time an All-American built car (built by Kar Kraft), powered by an All-American engine, driven by American drivers and fielded by an American team has won Le Mans overall.
'I am looking forward to getting re-acquainted with one of the great cars from my career,' said Gurney, chairman, All American Racers, Inc. 'After all those years, we are still loyal to Ford, and our company cars all bear the blue oval.'
'The younger generation of engineers, fabricators and mechanics at All American Racers is excited and proud to help conserve this car, which is of such great historical significance,' said Justin Gurney, president and CEO, All American Racers, Inc. 'We thank Ford and Henry Ford Museum for entrusting this special task to us.'
Justin Gurney was in Dearborn recently to see the historic racer, and it will soon be on its way to California to start the project. The Mark IV recently returned from Europe, where it was on display for several events last year marking the 45th anniversary of the Le Mans win. While in transport, the car sustained some minor damage, which will be repaired during the conservation.
The famous red No. 1 car, powered by a 7.0-liter Ford V8 engine, was specifically designed for endurance racing. It had a NASCAR-style roll cage around honeycomb panel construction. It was one of only six Mark IV's built for competition, and this one featured what became known as a Gurney-bubble, a round indentation on the roof to accommodate Gurney's head and helmet.
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The car was known to hit approximately 220 mph on the Mulsane Straight at Le Mans, an incredible speed even today. Gurney and Foyt took the lead at 90 minutes of the 24-hour event, and ended up winning by four laps.
This will be the second major conservation in recent years of a historic race car from Henry Ford Museum's 'Racing in America' collection.
The Lotus Ford 38/1 Indy car that Jim Clark drove to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500 recently was conserved by Classic Team Lotus in England, led by Clive Chapman. Clive is the son of Colin Chapman, who fielded the car at Indianapolis.
The Clark Indy-winner was the first rear-engine car to ever win the 500-mile race, and is considered one of the most significant Indy cars in history.
After being conserved, the Lotus 38/1 was first run at the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed, before returning to Indianapolis in September 2010 for a demonstration run by three-time 500 winner Dario Franchitti.
The Lotus 38/1 is now on display at Henry Ford Museum.
To follow news about the conservation of the Mark IV race car, follow Racing in America on the web: www.racinginamerica.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.