Dan Gurney sadly passed away at the age of 86 this past January after complications with pneumonia, but we’re still celebrating the star racer’s life well-lived.
And once upon a time, Dan Gurney shipped a Chevrolet Impala to Britain to do battle in the British Saloon Car Championship. Lined up against a pack of Jaguar sedans was a 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS. Gurney was so sure of its dominance that the car remained basically stock, too—even the radio remained.
Goodwood’s Ed Foster retold the story of the Impala as the car’s latest owner. He bought the car two weeks before Gurney passed away. According to him, the racer ordered the Impala SS with police suspension, brake upgrades and 409 cubic inch V8 engine. The only modifications to the big sedan were cooling ducts for the brakes and Corvette’s sway bar installed at the rear. Everything else was identical to a Impala SS sitting in an American suburb driveway.
After grabbing pole position with the Impala SS at the first race, Gurney pulled away from the pack of Jaguars immediately and led nearly the entire race at Silverstone. He even managed a lap record with the car. But, two laps away from finish, it was the end of the road. A tire came loose from the Impala SS and ended his race.
Gurney planned for new modifications for the next race, including NASCAR wheels and tires, but organizers quickly banned him from competing in the series. Although he never knew why exactly organizers banned him, Gurney blamed Jaguar’s racing manager at the time, Lofty England.
The racer sold the Impala shortly afterward and the car ended up in Australia for the majority of its life. Recently, Foster tracked it down after it was sent back to the U.S. for sale. Fans will be able to see the famed Impala SS race once again at Goodwood Revival.