Tag Archives: PC1

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This #5 – Connew PC1 002

One of the many highlights of 2015 were a precious few hours I spent cleaning and polishing all manor of wheels, wings, aluminium panels and nut’s and bolts in the company of Peter Connew and his family with his cousin Barry Boor.

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The reason circumstances brought us together was that Peter, seen at work on his lathe above, kindly accepted an invitation to give a talk about his experience building and racing the Connew PC1 to The Nostalgia Forum Hertfordshire UK Film Show at Ware Village Hall in May.

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Peter and Barry, seen below, devoted a huge amount of time to finding and cleaning the bit’s, many of which had not been seen or handled for forty years, to put as much as was possible of the car back together.

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Along with the foot pedals, steering wheel, instruments, cables, fluid bottles and original leather seat one box contained a couple of Hewland DG300 gear ratio’s which caused Alain de Cadenet to seek a discount when he bought the rest of the gearbox from Peter for his de Cadenet Le Mans car.

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In the absence of springs and shock absorbers pieces of wood were cut to replace them to keep the front suspension in shape, and in the absence of a Ford Cosworth DFV engine or Hewland DG 300 gearbox a sheet of wood was cut to support the rear of the chassis the correct 2″ inches off the ground.

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Peter’s kids Chris and PC all chipped in on the day before the talk as did Peter’s wife Iris, who helped out back in the day when the car was originally built and on this occasion painted the lettering into tyres, amazingly the 40 year old Firestones and Mag wheels still hold pressure though one would not want to use them for anything other than display purposes.

Connew PC1, TNF Herts Film Show, Ware Village Hall

As you can see by the comments on this link, the first appearance of the Connew PC1 in public since the 21st of October 1973, when a broken shock absorber caused Tony Trimmer to crash in to the barriers at Brands Hatch, and the talk by Peter were both welcome and well received.

Peter and Barry are keen to locate a Ford Cosworth DFV engine block and Hewland DG300 gearbox casing so that they can attach the rear wheel’s if you can help locate either at a sensible price please get in touch so that “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This #6” is not too long in the making.

Thanks for joining me on this “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This #5” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Desert Racer. Don’t forget to come back now !


Pursuing The Unfair Advantage – Penske Cosworth PC3

After Mark Donohue drove his Penske PC1 to a 5th place finish in the 1975 Swedish Grand Prix Roger Penske, forever pursuing an unfair advantage, gave Geoff Ferris the go ahead to build a new car and ordered a March 751 for Mark to drive in the interim.

Penske PC3, Silverstone Classic

Mark finished 5th from 15th on the grid in the March on it’s debut at the 1975 British Grand Prix, retired with a damaged tyre on lap 1 of the German Grand Prix and then succumbed to injuries received from an accident during practice for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Penske PC3, Silverstone Classic

Skipping the Italian Grand Prix Penske returned to the fray at the 1975 United States with today’s featured car the Penske PC3 chassis #PC3/01 and John Watson as his new driver.

Penske PC3, Chris Drake, Silverstone Classic

With it’s shovel nose the 3 litre / 183 cui Cosworth V8 powered PC3 bears some resemblance to the March 751 which Mark crashed in Austria however it retained the rear suspension layout of the PC1, and was, aside from it’s tall airbox, fully compliant with new regulations that would be mandated from May 1976.

Penske PC3, Silverstone Classic, Press Day,

John qualified 12th for the 1975 US Grand Prix, but after a misfire was detected swapped over to take the start of the race in the older PC1 in which he finished 9th.

Penske PC3, Silverstone Classic, Press Day,

#PC3/01 was raced on four occasions in 1976 with John scoring the models best finish in South Africa with a fifth place finish from 3rd on the grid.

Penske PC3, Silverstone Classic

But even as the team was celebrating it’s improved qualifying form Geoff was working away on the new PC4 which made it’s debut at the 1976 Swedish Grand Prix.

Unlike #PC3/01 the second PC3 #PC3/02, in which John retired from each of his three starts, was immediately sold on and had a second career in the 1976 and 1977 British Shellsport Group 8 Championships, Derek Bell drove the car to a win at Oulton Park in April 1977.

Today’s featured car is seen at a recent Silverstone Classic meeting with Chris Drake at the wheel.

Thanks for joining me on this “Pursuing The Unfair Advantage” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Volvo powered Marcos. Don’t forget to come back now !


Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This #4 – Connew Chevrolet PC1 02

For my final blog on cars that participated in the 1973 Formula 5000 grid I am thrilled to be returning to Chadwell Heath and Peter Connew’s team who against all odds managed to build a car with beer money, run it on a wad of French Francs and made one world Championship start in the 1972 Austrian Grand Prix. After the Austrian Grand Prix where the team won £40 for completing more than 1/3rd distance before the suspension collapsed the Connew team entered a couple of non championship races at Brands Hatch. At the first the engine blew up after which they parted ways with driver Francois Migault. For the second Lec Refrigeration paid for the engine to be rebuilt in exchange for running David Purley who inadvertently knocked the steering wheel mounted kill switch off, that he had insisted on having fitted, on the warm up lap.

Connew Chevrolet PC1, Whalebone Library, Chadwell Heath

The freshly rebuilt Ford DFV motor was sold at the end of 1972 to pay off outstanding bills and Peter Connew struck a deal to run Swiss driver Pierre Soukry who had Formula 5000 Morand Chevrolet motor he had been using in his McLaren M10B for French Hillclimb events, European Formula 5000 races and had tried to qualify for the two non championship events which the Connew team had attempted at Brands Hatch in 1972. Mechanics Pinky and Perky are seen above sitting on the front wheels of the Connew with Pierre left and Peter right behind in this photograph taken outside the Whalebone Library Chadwell Heath just down the road from the Connew teams lock up.

Connew Chevrolet PC1, Mallory Park

The Connew PC1 02 is seen above in this photo by Don Shuttleworth taken at Mallory Park where the PC1 in F5000 guise was to have made it’s debut. Unfortunately before it had completed much more than a flying lap of practice Pierre had to return to the paddock to have an oil leak fixed. The problem proved insurmountable, the team tried to qualify for a F5000 race at Brands Hatch in August 1973 but again Pierre did not set a competitive time nor one representative of the speed he had shown in his Trojan built McLaren M10B #400-20.

03 Copyright Barry Boor Collection 1973 soukry

After the Brands Hatch Meeting Pierre was never seen or heard of again which is odd because he appears to have competed with a German licence since at least July 1967, when he won his class racing a FIAT Abarth at the Hockenheimring and was quite well known in hill climbing circles with an Abarth. Equally nothing has been heard of his 1971 ex team VDS Tasman McLaren M10B chassis 400/20. If you should happen to know what became of Pierre please do not hesitate to chime in below, Peter Connew would welcome any news of him.

Tony Trimmer, Connew Chevrolet PC1, Brands Hatch

For the final race of the 1973 Formula 5000 championship Peter did a deal with Portobello Inn Racing to run Tony Trimmer in the car. Tony qualified 23rd one spot behind his Portobello Inn Racing team mate Arie Lyendijk who on this occasion was driving a McLaren M18. After several laps of the race Tony suffered a suspension failure which put the Connew into the crash barrier with neither driver or car suffering further damage.

The Connew was taken home for the final time with many parts sold off, that might ordinarily be the end of the story but 40 years later there are plans afoot to put the old girl back on her wheels. Stay tuned.

My thanks to Peter Connew, Barry Boor and Don Shuttleworth for sharing their photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This #4” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the last model to be built by ISO Rivolta . Don’t forget to come back now !

Brighton Speed Trials Under Threat of Permanent Cancellation !

In their infinite wisdom, Brighton & Hove City Council are seeking to ban the Brighton Speed Trials from 2014.

If you care about speed and or motorsport history, please sign this linked petition to save Brighton Speed Trials in 2014 and beyond.

It’s a faf to Register before signing, but relatively painless compared to loosing the event which has been run with few interruptions since 1905.

You do not need to be resident in Brighton or even the UK to sign.

Thanks and please spread the word through whatever social media you have at your disposal.