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Chevron and Derek Bennett (merged)


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#1 rdrcr

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Posted 01 June 2002 - 17:13

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Old Chorley Road, The Home of Chevron Racing Cars - Circa 1966

The legacy of the Chevron Marque is one of speed, beauty and success. The founder and creator of these cars, what many consider to be some of the most beautiful of the sports racers, was Derek Bennett. Born in Manchester in 1933, he fought poor health as a child, suffering from asthma and dermatitis and contracting pneumonia. In those circumstances he had little chance to shine academically and he went automatically to the Secondary Modern school close to his home.

After leaving at 15 he took up an apprenticeship as an electrical engineer, but he left his job as soon as he was 21 to turn his passionate interest in building and repairing cars into a full-time occupation. Working for himself in a tiny lock-up in Salford he soon got his first taste of racing on the shale speedway track at Manchester’s Belle Vue, first with a stock car, and then in an open-wheeled Midget racer – the first racing car he built himself. Success hadn’t come easily for Bennett though. When he worked all night at Gerry Kinnane’s garage off Belfast’s Falls Road to get his Clubmans car ready for its first race at Kirkistown he was just completing another shoestring project in a line stretching back ten years.

The recent growth in the popularity of historic racing has brought a resurgence of interest in Chevrons through Derek Bennett’s early sport scars, particularly the ubiquitous B8, and the B16 coupé. Bennett’s designs covered virtually all categories of national and international racing during the late ’60s and the ’70s, and won in Formula 3, Formula Atlantic, Formula 5000 and Formula 2 as well as sports car racing. No fewer than six future Formula 1 World Champions were among those who raced Chevrons at important stages in their careers.

I bring this up as I've just been catapulted into the ownership ranks of a B16 coupe. ol' Harry just wouldn't let go of a prospective buyer... I saw this car when I was in CO a couple of weeks ago... We talked about it and discussed it's fine condition and the all important price point that was within budget... I loved the shape, but I was really looking for a bit more grunt. When he called and told me that this car would be perfect as an entry level historic racer for me and mentioned that it really wasn't a sloth with 300 hp moving 1,500 lbs. And when he mentioned that it's performance characteristics are similar to my old CSR, I rethought the situation. It was a perfectly refurbished car and all important structural elements have been gone through and either replaced or checked. All logs were in order and its history was thoroughly documented. There is some refitting of the pedals that had to be done to accommodate my length, but once inside, I feel very comfortable in the closed cockpit. I've signed up with The Chevron Association and the next stop, WSIR in late July to give it and me a proper shakedown drive. Then into the fray! But enough about that for now...

More to the story

At the time of Derek Bennett’s death, Chevron was an established volume racing car manufacturer, competing on a level with the likes of March, Lola and Ralt throughout the world. But many of Derek’s cars’ most memorable victories came in the earlier years as Chevrons fought against the odds, David and Goliath fashion. They tended to involve two drivers, Brian Redman and Peter Gethin, whose successes passed into Chevron legend.

The ability of so many of Derek Bennett’s cars to win from new was all down to the extraordinary way in which the cars were built, and the potent combination of Derek’s skills as driver and engineer. With no technical qualifications, he had no need for a drawing board. Sometimes he would commit an idea to the back of a paper serviette in a café, but generally he carried everything in his head. Left in a corner with a pile of steel tube and a welding torch he would set to work making a racing car.

Designing it and building it were one and the same process, and when the prototype was finished, Derek became the test driver, hurling the new car round Aintree, Oulton Park or Croft until he had it set up to his liking, occasionally dashing back to the factory to make a small modification, and then returning to finish the job.

When the prototype was ready to race Derek would hand it over to his men at the factory so that they could dismantle it again for the draughtsmen to draw. Only then could the jigs be built and the parts ordered to put the new model into production.

The advent of monocoque construction forced Derek to alter his design methods somewhat, but he continued to build and test all his own prototypes. His success as a designer had forced him to give up his aspirations as a racing driver, but he retained his ability on the track and was as quick as all but the very best in testing, even at the wheel of a Formula 2 or F5000 car.

Derek was killed just as motor racing was about to move into the era of the wing car and the question of how he would have responded to this fundamental change in design is a tantalizing one. He lamented the passing of the space frame, which was so well suited to his intuitive design methods, but at the same time he had a fascination with aerodynamics, kindled in his teenage years when he was a keen aeromodeller, and revived by his discovery of hangliding. Tragic was his end, a result of another pursuit of passion.

I'm sure there are some here who could elaborate on the actual drivers and events where the Chevrons battled and won over greater cars. I understand that there was quite a history of competition between Lola and Chevron at one point.

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#2 ensign14

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Posted 02 June 2002 - 21:42

Check out 'Chevron: The Derek Bennett Story' by David Gordon, published by PSL some years back. Mind you, Chaters have it at £60...a lot more than I paid...

#3 merlyn6

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Posted 02 June 2002 - 22:18

:up: Congratulations Richard, I wouldn’t exactly call a B16 entry level; it’s closer to the deep end of the pool. Awesome car, you will find that group to be very competitive. HSR West runs that group, as do several other sanctioning bodies. See you at the races. :)

#4 Crazy Canuck

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Posted 02 June 2002 - 22:59

Glad to hear you joined the chevron club!! I have a '78 B45 F/A formerly driven by Rosberg. I got it from Simon Hadfield in England as a bunch of bits in numerous box's. The restoration is progressing sloly as I have had some parts scratch made since the original bits were a bit tatty. At the moment I'm waiting for two new front engine mounts. I still have to do all plumbing for brakes and motor and electrical system. Then I've got to get the bodywork fitting nicely. I'm hoping to be complete by mid-summer so I can get at least one event in before winter.


CC

#5 rdrcr

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Posted 03 June 2002 - 14:30

ensign, thanks for the lead, I'll check into it...

Merlyn, thanks and just to clarify, I thought of the car as "entry level" because it's a just 4 and not a large displacement engine... but it should handle quite well indeed. See you out there, probably in the Fall sometime. I'm really looking forward to doing some of the events, the camaraderie and competition look like a lot of fun.

CC, Nice Chevron you have. Mine doesn't have near the lineage, just a privateer car. Best of luck in your restoration. IIRC, you're in or around BC.

#6 Crazy Canuck

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Posted 03 June 2002 - 15:17

Originally posted by rdrcr

CC, Nice Chevron you have. Mine doesn't have near the lineage, just a privateer car. Best of luck in your restoration. IIRC, you're in or around BC.


I'm in the southern Ontario area but the car is in the south eastern states!!

CC

#7 merlyn6

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Posted 04 June 2002 - 01:48

RDRCR, I was refering to the fact that that group, FIA makes, is about the fastest group on any given weekend. Only a few F1 cars are quicker, except for the occasional well driven Can-Am car.

#8 D. Heimgartner

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Posted 04 June 2002 - 17:53

I'd love to see some pics of these cars... because my imagination of these cars only manages to discern the color and shape of the tires. (In other words, I ain't got a clue how these cars look.)

#9 David M. Kane

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Posted 04 June 2002 - 17:58

Crazy Canuck:

You should try to do the Zippo GP at Watkins Glen in September. Last year
they had a very high quality field. In fact they had 58 Formula Atlantic,
Formula 2, Indy Cars and F1 cars. The more the merrier, hopefully we can
get an extra race put in this year so they can be more class differentiation.

#10 biercemountain

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Posted 04 June 2002 - 19:26

Beautiful car!

I really love the Gulf livery. Next to the John Player Special Lotus GP cars the Gulf sponsored cars have always had my favorite markings.

#11 Carlos Jalife

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Posted 05 June 2002 - 00:35

Now that you mention Chevron, the B16 spyder was raced by Rodolfo Junco and Freddy van Beuren in Mexico and Daytona, Sebring and other IMSA events in 1972, both very ggod mexican drivers whose sons became drivers and are now retired (the 4 of them). Rodolfo and freddy called themselves Mexican American racing Team (MART) and they had a society with Fred Opert and something called Libra International. Their car had a 2 liter Ford engine and was quite a threat to the larger prototypes.

#12 paulb

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Posted 11 July 2002 - 19:30

Wow, Richard!

That is one beautiful car, immaculate :up: :up:

Are those the original colors?

#13 FEV

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 13:34

One Chevron question I always asked myself (not a crucial one I reckon :) ) : why hasn't there been any 'double digit' Chevrons ? AFAIK there were no B11s, B22s, B33s ? Is there a rational reason for this or was it some kind of superstition from DB ?
Thanks for the nice piece and pics Richard !

#14 Crazy Canuck

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 14:04

Hi again!!

Sorry about my delayed response...I've been on a much needed vacation!! Below is a picture of my B45. I have more pics of my restoration job but none are digital :|

Posted Image

Richard: your car is beautiful! :love:
David: do you have any links or additional infor on the Zippo GP? It sounds like a great event!


CC

#15 rdrcr

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 17:51

Originally posted by FEV
One Chevron question I always asked myself (not a crucial one I reckon :) ) : why hasn't there been any 'double digit' Chevrons ? AFAIK there were no B11s, B22s, B33s ? Is there a rational reason for this or was it some kind of superstition from DB ?
Thanks for the nice piece and pics Richard !

FEV, Your welcome, an interesting observation you made regarding "double digit" numbered cars i.e. B22 ... I suppose that it was just the way Bennett did it. He may have been partial to odd numbers out of simple preference or perhaps there was some superstition involved... I haven't found anything yet to indicate one way or another what his premise was in naming his cars.

Originally posted by Paulb
That is one beautiful car, immaculate... Are those the original colors?

Thanks. Regarding the original color scheme, I don't know for certain... yet.

Edit: TTBOMK , there were never any Gulf sponsored cars "in period". There were two 16's that I know of that have been painted in the Gulf livery.

CC,
Thanks... but it's not near as rare as your car, thank you for posting a photo of your famous racer. How's that long distance restoration coming?

This is what I've dug up so far... As in many cases the lineage is chequered with racing heritage, ownerships and the like.


Chassis Engine Year Group First owner Next owners(year) Comment  

B05-DBE01 BRM 1967 Gr.4 Green/Redman/Williams		

B06-DBE03 BMW 1967 Gr.4 Arthur Moore		

B06-DBE06 BMW 1967 Gr.4 John Bamford		

B06-DBE08 BMW 1967 Gr.4 Chris Skeaping		

B08-DBE32 - 1968 Gr.4 Trevor Twaites  Peter Lee  Champion of England by Twaites (1970), raced in Supersports by Lee 

B08-DBE37 BMW Gr.4 Phil Silverstone  => Tomy Evangelist => Robin Smith => Ed Burnell => Bob McGregor => Ray McGowan => Barry Samson => Pat Smith => Lem Tuckey => John Maycok...=>

Alain Schlesinger/F (2000)  Restored in 1990 by Roger Andreason.  

B08-DBE71 BMW - Gr.4  James Tangye		

B08-DBE84 BMW - Gr.4  Mike Knight		

B08-DBE87 BMW - Gr.4  Roger Heavens		

B12-DBE01 Repco 1968 GT  John Woolfe Racing  => Cowin/J. Wilson ... => Detlef Vanselow	 

B16-DBE01 - 1969 Gr.5/6 Ken Walker		

B16-DBE02 Ford Gr.5/6 John Bridges		

B16-DBE04 Ford Gr.5/6 Chevron Cars  => Brian Robinson	 

B16-DBE06 Ford Gr.5/6 Worcestershire Racing Asocciation (Burton)		

B16-DBE07 Ford 1970 Gr.5/6  Red Rose Racing (J. Bridges)		

B16-DBE08 Ford 1970 Gr.5/6  Willie Tuckett		

B16-DBE09 BMW1970 Gr.5/6  Koepchen Tuning		

B16-DBE10 - 1970 Gr.5/6		   

B16-DBE14 Mazda 1970 Gr.5/6 Levis Int. Racing		

B16-DBE19 Ford 1970 Gr.5/6 Eris Tondelli		

B16-DBE21 Ford 1970 Gr.5/6 R.D. Holub  

B16-DBE26 BMW 1970 Gr.5/6 Chevron Racing Team		

B16-DBE34 - 1970 Gr.5/6 Tilmant		

B16S-70-01 Ford FVC 1970 Gr.6 Chevron Cars (Redman)  => Team Gunston ...=> Jo Siffert Automobiles Racing Ltd....=> Don Shead	 

B19-71-004 Ford FVC 1971 Gr.6 Worcester Racing Association  Colin Pool => Richard Arnold (end

1989)  Raced bby Colin Poolin historic races  

B19-71-007 Ford FVC 1971 Gr.6  Red Rose Racing (J. Bridges)		

B19-71-008 Ford FVC 1971 Gr.6  Red Rose Racing (John Hine)		

B19-71-010 Ford FVC 1971 Gr.6  Worcestershire Racing Association (John Burton)		

B19-71-011 - 1971 Gr.6 Kent Abrahamsson  Raced by Abrahamsson in Supersports  

B19-71-012 - 1971 Gr.6 Canon Cameras Racing (E.Swart)		

B19-71-023 - 1971 Gr.6 Don Brooks  by Brooks for sale  

B19-71-034 - 1971 Gr.6 ~Tilmant		

B19-71-070 - 1971 Gr.6 Jonas Qvarnström  Raced by Qvarnström in Supersports  

B19-71-124 - 1971 Gr.6 Helen Bashford  Raced by Bashford in Supersports  

B21-72-01 Ford FVC 1972 Gr.6  Willie Tuckett  => Ember Racing (1973)	 

B21-72-02 Ford FVC 1972 Gr.6  Intertech Steering Wheel (Twaites)		

B21-72-03 Ford FVC 1972 Gr.6  ~Martin Raymond		

B21-72-07 Ford FVC 1972 Gr.6  Red Rose Racing (Juncadella)		

B21-72-26 Ford FVC 1972 Gr.6  Martin Raymond		

B21-72-29 Ford FVC 1972 Gr.6  Red Rose Montjuich Tergal		

B21-72-32 Ford FVC 1972 Gr.6  Red Rose Racing		

B21-72-45 - 1972 Gr.6 Peter Beckhauser  Raced by Beckhauser in Supersports  

B23-73-05 Ford 1973 Gr.6 KVG Racing (Grob)		

B23-73-08 Ford 1973 Gr.6 Red Rose Racing (John Bridges)		

B23-73-09 Ford 1973 Gr.6 Escuderia Monjuich (Juncadella, de Bagration?)		

B23-73-10 Ford 1973 Gr.6 Ember Racing (Goodwin)		

B23-73-12 Ford 1973 Gr.6 Red Rose Racing (Lepp)		

B23-73-14 Ford 1973 Gr.6 Mauricio Marcotulli		

B23-73-16 Ford 1973 Gr.6 (Motor Race Consultants)		

B23-73-26 Ford 1973 Gr.6 Raymond (Peter Humble)		

B26-74-01 Ford 1974 Gr.6 John Lepp		

B26-74-08 Ford 1974 Gr.6 Richard Piper		

B26-74-12 - 1974 Gr.6 Richard Evans  Raced by Evans in Supersports  

B36-0010 - 1979 Gr.6 Georg Olbrich  Raced by Olbrich in hill climbs, in 1991 some its parts used in

his new car known as Rigol R 001. Maybe not original Chevron chassis.  

B36-76-06 ROC 1976 Gr.6  Société R.O.C.		

B62-85-01 Ford 1985 Gr. C John Barlett Racing	 Raced in WSPC  

B71-95-01 Ford 1995 WSC Chevron Motorsport		

B73-95-02 BMW 1996 WSC Target 24 Racing		

EBS-003/81 - 1981 Gr.6  ~Wolfgang Hentschel Raced by Hentschel in hill climbs. Probably not orginal Chevron chassis.  

TJ-01 ROC 1987 Gr. C José Thibault Le Mans 1987 Chevron B36ROC


(I wish I could figure out how to space these lists properly.... anybody have a clue?)

EDIT: Thanks Allen

#16 petefenelon

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Posted 06 September 2002 - 16:18

Originally posted by FEV
One Chevron question I always asked myself (not a crucial one I reckon :) ) : why hasn't there been any 'double digit' Chevrons ? AFAIK there were no B11s, B22s, B33s ? Is there a rational reason for this or was it some kind of superstition from DB ?
Thanks for the nice piece and pics Richard !


There's a sort of rational reason :)

Derek Bennett had an accident back in his early racing days in a car numbered 11, and was apparently in hospital for 11 days.... (David Gordon's superb book on Chevron discusses other myths and legends and 11s related to the accident). Derek being Derek stubbornly decided that he wouldn't use 11 or multiples thereof in his chassis types.

I was a little surprised to see
B19-71-011 1971 Gr.6 Kent Abrahamsson Raced by Abrahamsson in Supersports
as I was also vaguely thinking that they skipped 11 and multiples thereof on individual chassis numbers.

Incidentally, if you don't fancy paying 60 quid for the book:
have a look at David Gordon's website - apparently Roger Andreason has some copies of it for 20.

#17 Allen Brown

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 21:41

Originally posted by rdrcr
(I wish I could figure out how to space these lists properly.... anybody have a clue?)

I use the Code tags which use fixed-width characters and allow you to create simple space-padded tables. So:
123   4	7

12	34   12

1	 7	4

etc   etc  etc
If you hit the quote button for this post you'll be able to see how it works.

Allen

#18 rdrcr

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Posted 10 September 2002 - 19:29

Pete,

I don't know, it was a good story but I think it's just a case of superstition. I've been in close contact with Roger Andreason and asked him about the numbering of the cars. He told me that he had heard that story, but he believed that it was just a case of plain and simple superstition. He remarked, in fact, that there is also a B19 with a 33 designation.

Allan,

Thanks for the "code - /code" tip for displaying lists.

I guess I'm going to have to get started on uploading my pics to my Atlas website as I see that some of my linked pics have vanished...

I also have some very interesting and exciting news concerning Chevron Cars Ltd. Which will be forthcoming very soon!

:cool:

#19 Vicuna

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 01:12

For reasons I can't quite explain, there seems to be greater affection for the Chevron marque than many or even most of their contemporary competitors in the production car market.

Maybe my gut feel is right, maybe not.

I was thinking of adding to the 'Headlines you wished you'd read' thread with a post to the effect that

'Derek Bennetts savours Indy 500 win/Le Mans victory/ 1st GP win'

when it occurred to me - what do we think would have happened to Chevron had DB never taken up hang gliding and was still around today.

This is of course highly subjective but given the way customer racing car companies have gone (Ralt, March, Lola, Reynard), would the only means of survival been F1 or being purchased by/ aligned with a manufacturer for sports car racing.

Would Derek have been suited to the world of F1?

Would he have ended up doing very nicely making road going versions of the B8 and B16 and largely turning his back on racing?

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#20 Ruairidh

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 02:11

See this thread which somewhat addresses some of the above

http://forums.atlasf...t=derek bennett

#21 Vicuna

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 11:05

Anyone else?

#22 ian senior

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 11:38

My theory, and it is only a theory, is that Derek would have turned Chevron towards the manufacture of hang gliders,and eventually microlight aircraft.

He was well clued up on the practical application, if not the theory, of aerodynamics. This showed up in his early fascination with model aircraft. Flight was always in Derek's mind, hence his love for hang gliding when such contraptions became more widely available.

I reckon he would have enjoyed the application of aerodynamic to racing cars, which was becoming a serious thing at the time of his death,but NOT the slightly later way of manufacturing cars from such materials as carbon fibre and kevlar. Sad to say, I think he would have been a bit out of his depth there.

Reading between the lines in David Gordon's excellent book, I think Derek was getting a bit disillusioned with being a big(ish) time manufacturere of racing cars. Hence his ferquent absences to play with airborne death traps. The lengthy gestation period of the Chevron F1 car also suggests that perhaps he wasn't as commited as he used to be to new projects.

I liked Derek Bennett, and all that he stood for, very much indeed. I wish he was still with us.

#23 petefenelon

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 12:13

Originally posted by ian senior
My theory, and it is only a theory, is that Derek would have turned Chevron towards the manufacture of hang gliders,and eventually microlight aircraft.

He was well clued up on the practical application, if not the theory, of aerodynamics. This showed up in his early fascination with model aircraft. Flight was always in Derek's mind, hence his love for hang gliding when such contraptions became more widely available.

I reckon he would have enjoyed the application of aerodynamic to racing cars, which was becoming a serious thing at the time of his death,but NOT the slightly later way of manufacturing cars from such materials as carbon fibre and kevlar. Sad to say, I think he would have been a bit out of his depth there.

Reading between the lines in David Gordon's excellent book, I think Derek was getting a bit disillusioned with being a big(ish) time manufacturere of racing cars. Hence his ferquent absences to play with airborne death traps. The lengthy gestation period of the Chevron F1 car also suggests that perhaps he wasn't as commited as he used to be to new projects.

I liked Derek Bennett, and all that he stood for, very much indeed. I wish he was still with us.



I broadly agree, Ian. I think the days of "do half a dozen laps round Oulton and if it's a bit wrong let's move that tube there" were Chevron's heyday, and you can't do that if you need to bake a new tub in the autoclave or spend a week running CFD on the new wings... Derek was one of the last of the "instinctive" engineers in the top echelons of racing (arguably the last was Gary Anderson, and I think it was fairly obvious he was out of his depth by the mid 90s).

I'm not sure Derek would've liked the direction F1 took through the later 70s and 80s - and I don't think his character would've made him a good F1 team principal. Maybe he would've tied up with an existing team of some kind -- (imagine if Maurer had come to Chevron when Derek was still alive rather than picking up pieces after his death?) . I can imagine Chevron as a constructor, but not (easily) as a works F1 team. For a start, they were at the wrong end of the country to do much testing! - F1 in the UK has always been based largely in a broad arc between South/West London and Silverstone... I definitely can't imagine Derek leaving Bolton!

I think Chevron might, had it stayed in racing, have concentrated on minor formulae and sports cars - nobody ever really made customer cars and ran a works F1 team properly after the very early 70s, and I think Derek would have been more likely to "stick to what he knew". I can definitely imagine "proper" Chevron Group Cs, a long line of F2s and F3s and maybe even F3000s - possibly CART...

Of course, it might've made him a prime candidate for an ambitious young lad like Reynard to take over in the 80s - remember, Adrian's of Northern stock too (albeit from t'wrong side of t'Pennines).

I think the point of departure for Chevron really hitting the heights was Gethin's win against an F1 field in the B24 - stick a DFV in the back of that chassis (or.... dream on.... in a B30!) and with a few tweaks I reckon you'd have a fairly useful GP contender. The barrier to getting into F1 was lower at the time... by not capitalising on that win, I think Derek made it pretty apparent where his real interests lay and they were one step down from F1...

Deeply and sadly missed though, Chevrons were always the highlights of my racing childhood. To me they always just "looked right". And stick an FV or a BD or a big Chevy V8 in the back of one and they sounded pretty good too ;)

#24 Twin Window

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 12:15

Originally posted by Ruairidh
See this thread which somewhat addresses some of the above

http://forums.atlasf...t=derek bennett

That thread has now been merged with this one.

#25 MCS

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 12:40

Originally posted by rdrcr
More fact finding info requested...

In Gordon's book, he lists all of the wins of Chevron cars, but to my knowledge, there isn't a list in there of the championships that were won by the Chevron Marque.

Does anyone have such a list, or know where I can obtain one?

Again, thanks in advance.


Richard

There is a list! See page 266 :)

Regards
Mark

#26 ian senior

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 13:06

I agree with you too, Pete. The success of the B24 showed that, if Derek had put his mind to it, he could have had an almost instant F1 car had he wanted to produce one. I suspect he would have not have enjoyed involvement with F1 at all; even in those days, there was sufficient male bovine excrement about to put off a down to earth Lancashire lad. Even producing a car for a private entrant may have been beyond the pale to him.

There's no way I'm criticising Derek for any of this, which in any case is mainly conjecture on our part. After all, there is more to motor racing than Formula 1. The fact is that Chevron produced some hugely succesful racing cars and they were all (B18 apart!) lovely to look at too!

#27 rdrcr

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 13:09

Oh I know... I found it eventually, but thanks anyway Mark... it's a good sized read. A whole lot has happened since I first created this thread...

I have original copies of the Chevron Association News which was produced by Helen Bashford-Malkie that might be of interest - unless you've read them all Pete! ;) . I will scan some and present them here. I will also see if Vin would care to speculate on some of the questions posed here. Since he actually worked with and knew Derek quite well in the late '60's & '70's his insights should be worthy of a read.

As Pete has previously theorized, and IMHO, I don't think they would have capitalized a great deal further from their B41 effort. Instead, I think they would have gone into what would become the LMP classes and perhaps produce limited production road cars from their racing efforts.

...back in a bit.

#28 ian senior

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 13:39

Digreesing slightly, does anyone know what was Derek's last appearance as a racing driver? I have a feeling it was in a B19 at Croft in 1971, but I stand to be corrected on that.

#29 Twin Window

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 13:45

Originally posted by ian senior

The success of the B24 showed that, if Derek had put his mind to it, he could have had an almost instant F1 car had he wanted to produce one.

Wasn't the 1979 F1 B41 loosely based on the B24? Sort of?

#30 rdrcr

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 15:00

Here is a copy of an interview by Helen with Brian Classic - the first DBE customer and backer of Derek Bennett's Chevron Racing efforts.

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If you like this and want to see more of them, just let me know. I think they provide a decent bit of insight into the famed marque of Chevron. I also have other bits of info concerning campaigns across the pond and other adventures of the Chevron Racing Team.

#31 MCS

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 15:38

Originally posted by rdrcr
Here is a copy of an interview by Helen with Brian Classic - the first DBE customer and backer of Derek Bennett's Chevron Racing efforts.

Images removed...

If you like this and want to see more of them, just let me know. I think they provide a decent bit of insight into the famed marque of Chevron. I also have other bits of info concerning campaigns across the pond and other adventures of the Chevron Racing Team.


Just read this Richard - very interesting. I would certainly like to read more!

Mark

#32 rdrcr

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 15:51

Sure thing... I'll toss a few more up in a little bit. Are the images loading quick enough now? I've reduced the size of the files. And, are they easy to read? Not everyone has the same hardware / baud rate and as such, may be at a disadvantage. What are you running Mark?

#33 rdrcr

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 16:22

Here is an interview with John Bridges, former director of Chevron and a successful driver in his own right. This was done for the December 1990 Issue of Chevron Association News.

Enjoy.

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#34 rdrcr

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 16:30

In the interview above, there maybe some insights as to Bennett's thoughts about pursuing F1 vs. the sports car and endurance racing arenas.

Edit: I've also refreshed some of my earlier posts as a few of the links had disappeared...

#35 petefenelon

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 17:34

Oh my goodness..... any chance of interesting Brooklands Books or someone in publishing a collection of Chevron articles? I'm sure you've got at least one good book there with just club mag pieces -- brilliant sfuff indeed.

#36 rdrcr

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 17:50

Hmmm... haven't got a clue if Brooklands would be interested or not. Frankly, we haven't the time to explore such avenues at this time... Though I do know that David Gordon is pursuing a 2nd edition.

If you care to investigate on our behalf, have at it. There are volumes of this material - published by Helen and David over a period of about 2 years I think.

Glad you like the excerpts, I have lots more and will post some later.

#37 Vicuna

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 17:52

Very interesting theories guys, thanks.

#38 MCS

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 19:00

Originally posted by rdrcr
Sure thing... I'll toss a few more up in a little bit. Are the images loading quick enough now? I've reduced the size of the files. And, are they easy to read? Not everyone has the same hardware / baud rate and as such, may be at a disadvantage. What are you running Mark?


Everything loads fine, Richard. Just hope there's going to be more of it :love:

No idea what the connection is at work, but it's ADSL "Broadband" at home (512Kbps) and I can't say I've noticed any discernible difference between the two.

Mark

#39 rdrcr

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 19:49

...more of it.

An interview with Wendy and Geoff Smith. Wendy is the youngest of the Bennett children and here, she reflects with Helen, the early days of Derek and his Chevron Racing exploits.

Great stuff, if I do say...

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#40 rdrcr

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 01:09

Originally posted by Twin Window
Wasn't the 1979 F1 B41 loosely based on the B24? Sort of?

While I was researching something about the B24 / B41 connection, I found this passage in an 8W story by Mattijs and Don:

"...The Ferrari Ralts failed to bring home any results for Minardi, the team switching to Chevron B41 chassis mid-season. (ed. mid-77) It was hardly an improvement, apart from a freak win on aggregate by Leoni at Misano. On paper Martini's Martini should have been a competitive proposition. The works Ecurie Renault Elf cars driven by René Arnoux and Didier Pironi were top runners all year long, René winning the '77 Euro F2 title by a country mile. But for Giancarlo Martini the season was a disaster. His best result was a meager eighth spot at Nogaro while several retirements also hampered his campaign. After the difficult '77 season and a total of 22 points earned in his European Formula 2 Championship career, Giancarlo Martini now quickly faded from the scene.

For the '78 season Minardi continued with the Dino-engined Chevrons. Youngster Elio De Angelis raced the B42-Ferrari without success while Argentinean Miguel Angel Guerra handled a BMW-powered B40. De Angelis was unimpressed by the Ferrari V6 and wanted a similar BMW to the one his team mate Guerra enjoyed. The disagreement turned to heated argument and Minardi's sacking of De Angelis. The fast Italian was duly picked up by the works ICI Chevron team..."

I thought the B41 car was a "one-off"? Is this a misprint/typo/error ...or? I think they meant the B40 which was developed in late '76 for the 1977 season.

Regarding Twinny's theory that the B41 was developed from the 24. I have no record at hand nor can find a reference to that in the Chevron book regarding such an evolution. If memory serves, Roger Bywater was involved with the 24 and there I can't find a mention of him regarding the 41. However, as many "original" chassis configurations which were devised by Bennett, there is a great probability that much of what was learned from the successful B24 was put in place for the B41. It would be logical as they were both v8 powered single seaters designed for essentially the same thing.

On another tangent...

Upon reflection of Ian's speculation that Bennett might have gone into the light plane manufacturing business is interesting. I think he just enjoyed flying.

I wonder if his "mechanical grip" engineering background, derived from hands-on, tried and true testing isn't exactly in keeping with aerodynamics and their applications. I'm not inferring that he couldn't have learned by independent means in lieu of proper schooling, rather those applications in testing are inherently problematic. As ironic fate would have it, we'll never know.

#41 Mac Lark

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 03:27

Has to be a misprint

You're right B40 was the 1977 F2 car.

If the B41 owed anything to a F5000 car, I'd have thought it more likely to be the B37 that was a few steps on from the B24.

#42 rdrcr

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 05:15

The next installments from The Chevron Association News:

From the summer of 1989, this article with the creator of the GROPA cars ~

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and this article reprinted from "Autosport" March, 1969 has some interesting insights, including the story of how Bennett came to name his cars Chevron.

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#43 rdrcr

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 18:42

Dear Members of TNF,

As you may know, 2005 marks the 40th anniversary of Chevron racing cars. If you own a Chevron or know of someone who does, please make them aware of the Chevron 40th Anniversary Tour. Other dates are being scheduled for the UK, though I do not have the details yet.

Below is a copy of the tour invitation (slightly revised for use here). If you would like an entry form, you can contact me directly via PM.

EXCITING NEWS FOR CHEVRON OWNERS!

~ Announcing ~

The Chevron 40th Anniversary Tour

January 2005

Dear Chevron owner,

2005 marks the 40th anniversary of the Chevron Racing cars – the great, winning creations of Derek Bennett.

We are very pleased to present the "Chevron 40th Anniversary Tour" program and we hope you will participate in some or all of these selected events.

The Chevron 40th Anniversary Tour features:

Special "Chevron only" races.*

A designated Chevron paddock area including a fully equipped hospitality tent.

A welcome party with noted Chevron celebrities present from England and the USA.

Also available, special hats, T-shirts and sport shirts with "Chevron 40th Anniversary” logos

We are also providing 18 x 24 uniform display signs with owner and car information.

This is a very celebrated and unique occasion for all of us to display and race our Chevron cars together. We encourage you to join us in celebrating 40 years of Chevron racing cars.[/size]

* (Depending on number of entrants)


Schedule of Events*

May 20 – 22 The Jefferson 500 at Summit Point Raceway, West Virginia (HMSA)

June 24 – 26 The Southern California Historic Sports Car Festival at California Speedway,
Fontana, California (HSR-West)

August 19 – 21 Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca - Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca, California
(General Racing)

August 27 – 28 The Gold Cup at Oulton Park - Cheshire, England (HSCC)

Sept. 17 – 18 Fontana Historic Races at California Speedway, Fontana, California (HSR-West)

In order to organize the 40th Anniversary Tour and to get these special events secured we do need a commitment from you as soon as possible.

* Be advised, dates are tentative - we are required to have a minimum of 20 original Chevrons for the Monterey Historics and a minimum of 15 Chevron entrants for the other events.

After receiving your response, we will get back to you with further details, e.g. event confirmations,
when and how to enter, entry fees and any other extra requirements or offers.

If you have any questions, please contact in the U.S. - Ed Swart at 310-530-9731, For Europe and the UK, please contact Helen Malkie at 565-777-395.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you at the races!

The 2005 Chevron Tour Committee

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#44 Michael Oliver

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 22:09

Originally posted by rdrcr
Here is a copy of an interview by Helen with Brian Classic - the first DBE customer and backer of Derek Bennett's Chevron Racing efforts.


Not sure why I missed this first time round but very entertaining! Is Mr Classic still with us?

#45 petefenelon

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 22:34

August 27 – 28 The Gold Cup at Oulton Park - Cheshire, England (HSCC)


I think we have to start thinking in terms of a TNF meet there don't we?;) Britain's most beautiful circuit and most beautiful cars?....

#46 David McKinney

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 05:55

Originally posted by Michael Oliver
Is Mr Classic still with us?

Certainly is :up:

#47 ian senior

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 09:46

Originally posted by petefenelon


I think we have to start thinking in terms of a TNF meet there don't we?;) Britain's most beautiful circuit and most beautiful cars?....


Exactly. Great idea. Can't think of anywhere better to see lots of Chevrons, especially as that's where most of them were developed.

Is there going to be a "Derek Bennett Trophy" race or summat of that ilk?

#48 Mallory Dan

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 13:31

Lets hope there are a good few single seaters as well as the sportscars. B8s/16s/19s are great, but it'd be nice to seem some F2/FAts/5000s as well.

#49 MCS

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 13:50

Must admit to being tempted to comment on the somewhat American slant to the 40th Anniversary Tour in terms of the venues that Richard has listed :

But, whatever, I'm certainly going to put Oulton Park in my diary.

Look forward to it!

Mark

#50 rdrcr

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 15:53

Just a few words on this that and the other....

Michael,

I think Brian Classic still has a hand in motoring... I believe he has a classic car brokerage in England. I trust he'll be at the Oulton Park meeting along with many other Chevron personalities.

Dan,

There should be an assortment of cars - Chevron Racing Ltd. will be putting up special pages on the Chevron website which will have details about special cars and guest drivers amongst other happenings.

Ian,

The "titling" for the race at Oulton is still being sorted out. However, it is hoped that something like what you have suggested will come to fruition.

Mark,

You may not be aware of what goes on in England behind the scenes as far as getting the dates locked down. As I understand it, it takes substantially longer for the UK and European venues to fix their dates for each new season. Exacerbating things this year for the UK, is the ramification of the Goodwood FoS date change. Since that has now been sorted, the rest of the dates can be secured... This is why you see more US dates than UK and European dates. Chevron Racing Ltd. is working to get at least a couple more special races at other tracks and perhaps at S.W.