Ten years after winning his first World Championship driving for BRM, in 1963, and five years after winning his second World Championship driving for Lotus, in 1968 (Norman) Graham Hill had become the senior citizen of the sport with wins at Indianapolis in 1966 and at Le Mans in 1972 to make a unique triple crown of victories which only he has achieved, making him arguably the most versatile driver in the history of the sport. Graham was also the first man to win the Monaco Grand Prix five times a record that was not equaled until 1992 and beaten until 1993 when Ayrton Senna won his fifth and sixth Monaco Grand Prix victories.
As the wise cracking head of Embassy, UK brand cigarettes, quipped in 1973 at the launch of Graham Hills Embassy sponsored Formula One Team every ambassador needs an Embassy. Graham’s was built by, the then relatively unknown in Europe, Shadow a team that had cut it’s teeth in Can Am primarily with Graham Hill’s former Lotus Team mate Jackie Oliver.
The Shadow DN1 was designed by Tony Southgate who’s CV includes designing the last two BRM’s to win major races the P160, an example of which Jackie Oliver had driven in 1972, and P180 which bears a familial resemblance to today’s featured DN1 apart from the fact that the latter is powered by a by 1973 ubiquitous Ford sponsored Cosworth V8 which Graham Hill had been instrumental in testing back in 1967.
Under the umbrella of Mr Shadow, Don Nichols, sponsored by UOP Lead Free fuel the Shadow team ran two black works cars for Jackie Oliver and 1972 Can Am Champion George Follmer and sold a third car #DN1-3A to Graham Hill for him to run as a privateer. Not for the first, or the last, time none of the Shadow cars were ready for the start of the season the works team missed two races before making their debut in South Africa where George starting 21st came through to finish 6th and score a single world championship point on his Grand Prix debut.
Graham’s car was ready at the next race the Spanish Grand Prix where Graham qualified 22nd but failed to finish after experiencing problems with his brakes, while George Follmer came through to a seasons equal best 3rd place finish in his second championship Grand Prix. At the Belgian Grand Prix Graham qualified 23rd and came through to finish ninth which would prove to be his best result in an otherwise totally frustrating year for his fledgling Embassy Racing Team.
The works UOP Shadow teams debut season was similarly also fraught with disappointment until the Canadian Grand Prix where Jackie Oliver scored his a career equaling best third place finish, five years after he had finished 3rd in the 1968 Mexican Grand Prix. For the 1974 season Graham Hill took his Embassy sponsorship to Lola while Jackie Oliver and George Follmer returned to the Can Am series where they finished 1st and 2nd respectively when the series finally stopped one race short of the scheduled season.
Jackie Oliver became increasingly involved in the management of the Shadow team while keeping his hand in driving the mighty Dodge powered Shadow DN6 Formula 5000 cars and put in a one off final Formula One appearance at the 1977 Swedish GP where he finished 9th.
Daryl Taylor is seen at the wheel of #DN1-3A at recent Silverstone Classic events.
Thanks for joining me on this “The Ambassador’s Embassy” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !