Legendary auto racer Dan Gurney passes away

Designer of the Alligator motorcycle

AMA News Author (no byline)

Legendary auto racer Dan Gurney, who also designed and built the Alligator motorcycle, died Sunday, Jan. 14. He was 86.

Gurney was the first driver to notch wins in Formula One, IndyCar and NASCAR. He retired from racing in 1970 with 51 victories.

In the early 2000s, Gurney invented the Alligator motorcycle, which featured a lowered riding position and a foot-forward design.

Dan Gurney Alligator motorcycles Inc., a division of All American Racers Inc., built 32 of the bikes in 2002.

Dan Gurney Introducing the Alligator Motorcycle at the Peterson Auto Museum. Photo courtesy of All American Racers Inc.

The Alligator website says Gurney “set about working on a riding position that was much lower ‘into’ the bike and this had the added benefit of lowering the center of gravity dramatically. This is a familiar concept in race cars but not something that has been explored greatly on motorcycles.”

“In the modern day world of design by computer, committee and consensus, this machine is the product of one man’s idea in the tradition of the great motor men of the past like Porsche, Ferrari, Ford, Tucker, Bloor, Britten and Honda,” Alligator says.

The Alligator project continues, with prototypes being updated and ridden on Southern California roads.