1970 Webster 5000

Chassis Num: 1
In the mid-1960s, SCCA began introduced new single seater formulas in an attempt to bring the Grand Prix FIA Formula 1, 2, and 3 cars to North America (Formula A, B, and C respectively). Unfortunately, none of these were very successful. What was successful was the new Can-AM Cup series introduced in 1966. This was basically an open series with few restrictions. Rules stated two-seat bodywork but this wasn't always enforced. Prizes were lucrative and attracted several Formula One constructors who could make more in a few Can-Am races than in a full season on the GP circuit.

In 1968, SCCA attempted to bring the Can-Am concept to single seaters, by adding 5-liter stock block engines to the single seater regulations. Formula A was opened to small blocks from Ford, Dodge, Plymouth and Chevrolet that competed in TransAm series. These powerplants were relatively inexpensive, easily serviced and tunable. Formula A soon became F5000. Marques such as AAR Eagle, Lola, McLaren, Surtees, Shadow and Chevron built F5000 race cars. Drivers included Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren, Jim Hall, Mark Donohue, Peter Revson, Dan Gurney, Lothar Motschenbacher, Sam Posey, Jerry Titus, Chuck Parsons, Skip Scott, Ronnie Bucknum, and John Surtees.

The money was good, the competition was stiff, and the cars were fast.

Jerry Eisert was a Champ Car constructor and an independent mechanic. He worked with J. Frank Harrison to field Chevrolet-powered mid-engined cars during the late 1960s. In 1965 he built the Harrison Special with a monocoque tube and was the first car at Indy to try a wing to increase aerodynamic downforce. The car was awarded that year with the Mechanical Achievement Award for imagination and skill in design.

The Eisert/Harrison partnership would continue through 1967. At the time, SCCA Formula 5000 was in its infancy but was showing much potential for the talented Eisert. He turned his attention to this class of racing, designing a low, nearly wedge-shaped car. One of the cars he built went to Marvin Webster. It was prepared to race the Indianapolis 500 but it didn't attempt to qualify in 1972 or 1973.

After Indianapolis, the car was returned to its F5000 configuration and raced sparingly. After its racing career came to an end, it was stored at Webster's gear company in Mill Valley, California. The current owner acquired the car in 1987. It was then treated to a re-commissioning with special attention to retaining its originality. The current engine is a Gurney-Weslake V8 with four-Weber carburetors and Webster's preferred eight upswept exhaust pipes.

The car has been vintage raced on a few occasions from 1988 through 2003.

In 2012, the car was offered for sale at the Quail Lodge Sale presented by Bonhams auction. The car was estimated to sell for $100,000 - $150,000. Unfortunately, a buyer willing to satisfy its reserve was not found. it would leave the auction unsold.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2012
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