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Event Report

The AAR Eagle Indy Car, the historic Formula Car Driven by Dan Gurney, Wins the 2018 Gran Turismo Trophy

The 68th annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance was held on August 26 (local time) at Pebble Beach in Monterey, California. Gran Turismo Series Producer Kazunori Yamauchi was at the event and awarded the Gran Turismo Trophy to the AAR Eagle Indy Car (1966).

This is a formula machine built by AAR (All American Racers), the racing constructor established by American racing driver Dan Gurney who was active in all categories of racing including F1, Indy car, NASCAR, and the Le Mans 24-Hour race. 10 cars were produced in 1966 to participate in both F1 and Indy car races, which at the time shared similar regulations. This #31 car is said to be the one Dan Gurney himself raced with in the Indy 500 mile race. Powered by a Coventry Climax V8 producing 425hp and with a 4 speed transmission, the opening of the front nose resembles the beak of an eagle from which it takes its name.

Other nominees for the Gran Turismo Trophy were as follows:

Cadillac 425A Pininfarina (1931)

While consumer cars led by the Model T Ford became a smash hit in the roaring 20s, many high class cars were also manufactured for the wealthy in the booming economy. The most produced cars at the time were the Cadillacs of GM: the 1931 model were made available with 12 or 16 cylinder engines, and while most of these were fabricated with a robust Fleetwood body, this car is a rare exception with its Pininfarina body. The European boat tail creates a sleek style.

Ferrari 250TR (1958)

This is a car created by Ferrari to participate in the FIA Sportscar Championships that were to be raced with 3 litre engines from 1958. "TR" is an abbreviation for the Italian word “Testarossa”, which translates to “Redhead” referring to its red cylinder heads. There were a total of 34 Testarossas built, and this car is one of the 19 commercial pieces. Completed in June 1958, it was delivered to Dick Morgenson, and has a long recorded history in racing in Riverside, California.

OSCA MT-4 Prototype (1952)

OSCA (Officina Specializzata Costruzione Automobili) is a company established by the Maserati brothers who built their fame in motorsports, after leaving the company bearing their own name. OSCA was good at creating light weight, Spartan sports cars, and these cars excelled in races like the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, and the Sebring 12-Hour race in the U.S. This car is a regular at the Concours d’Elegance, but it is also a car that competed in the original Pebble Beach Grand Prix through the pine forest in ’53, ’54, and ’55.

Tucker 48 (1948)

This is a unique car conceptualised and manufactured by Preston Tucker, who was both an entrepreneur and engineer. It was powered by a 5.5 litre flat 6 engine mounted in the rear, which is rare in American cars, and had extra considerations for safety. The styling was by Alex Tremulis who also worked with Cord Automobile and Duesenberg, and introduced many features ahead of its time including its triple headlights and doors that wrapped around to the roof. A movie was made about Tucker's dream for cars in 1988, and this is the very car that appeared in that movie, owned by the movie director Francis Ford Coppola.

The AAR Eagle Indy Car that won the Gran Turismo Trophy is planned for inclusion in a future edition of Gran Turismo. The "Best of Show" award for 2018 went to the 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta.

(Car description supported by Hideo Kodama)