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01/10 2018

HERE’S YOUR CHANCE TO OWN TWO OF SMOKEY YUNICK’S INDY CARS

 

A 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G and a 1969 AAR Eagle head to auction

BY:  WESLEY WREN

 

Henry “Smokey” Yunick was best known for his interesting workarounds for the NASCAR rulebook, as well as his tuning wizardry with internal combustion engines.

While NASCAR was his bread and butter, Yunick ventured into various forms of motorsport including drag racing and Indy cars. He wasn’t as successful with his open-wheel endeavors as his full-body affairs, but his cars managed to live past their prime and fall into collectors’ hands.

Two of Smokey’s open-wheel racers are headed to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the Worldwide Auctioneers auction: a 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G, which didn’t qualify for the Indianapolis 500, and a 1969 All-American Racers Eagle that took sixth place in the 1969 Indy 500.

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SCOTTSDALE AUCTIONS

1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G

Lot 30

While Yunick did own this 1957 Kurtis Kraft 500G, he bought it second-hand. Originally purchased and campaigned by Lee Elkins, this Offenhauser-powered roadster did well in 1957 — a few wins and usually placing in the top half of the field. Yunick bought the car the following year and wasn’t as successful. Driven by Paul Goldsmith, the car failed to qualify for the 1959 Indianapolis 500 and was sold before the 1960 season.

After Smokey, the car raced in the supermodified class before falling into the hands of an Indy car collector. As collectors tend to do, the car received a full restoration and participated in the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England and the Rolex Monterey Reunion at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The car also showed at the 2011 Concours d’Elegance of America in Michigan, proving it’s just as capable as a piece of history.

Worldwide Auctioneers anticipates this roadster to sell for $300K-$375K.

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SCOTTSDALE AUCTIONS

1969 All-American Racers Eagle-Santa Ana

Lot 31

After a few years of experimental efforts at Indianapolis, for 1969 Smokey purchased one of Dan Gurney’s All-American Racers Eagle-Santa Ana race cars. Powered by a 2.6-liter DOHC Ford V8 engine that sported a turbocharger and fuel injection — reportedly making over 800 hp — the car debuted at the 1969 Indianapolis 500, where it finished sixth.

Yunick held onto this car, chassis No. 69-703, until 2001. The car was fully restored by A.J. Watson and was featured in the Karl Ludvigsen book “Gurney’s Eagles.” Like the Kurtis Kraft 500G, this car has also run up Lord March’s hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Worldwide anticipates this Indy racer will fetch anywhere from $275K-$350K.

Both cross the auction block Wednesday, Jan. 17 in Scottsdale, Arizona.