By the time I met Dan Gurney, he had already accomplished everything as a driver, race-car constructor, and team owner anyone can locate by typing his name into an internet search engine. My great fortune was Gurney’s lifelong passion for motorcycling, which led to periodic trips to All American Racers with other members of the Cycle World edit staff for updates on his series of feet-forward “Alligator” two-wheelers.
The walls of the hallway leading to Gurney’s office in Santa Ana, California, were an ever-expanding visual patchwork of his life. He would often stop and point to a particular photograph and explain why it was important to him. When Gurney suggested lunch, we’d scramble for a place in his Toyota minivan. He kept the seatback reclined so far that you’d swear, even at 6-foot-4, he couldn’t see over the steering wheel. Yet he drilled every apex.
Gurney was a regular at the Golden Truffle in nearby Newport Beach—“You may not be sure what you’re eating,” the joke went, “but it’s always delicious.” One day, bike designer Pierre Terblanche was in town so we phoned chef/proprietor Alan Greeley—an avid rider himself—and asked if we could reserve a table. Greeley agreed, and we piled in our big Chevy van. When Greeley saw Terblanche, he phoned Gurney, who arrived shortly with son Justin.