As we saw last week Shadow owner Don Nichols had a thing about keeping the frontal area of his Can Am challengers to a minimum by using under sized wheels. For the 1972 season Shadow Mk II designer Peter Bryant convinced Don it would be better to build a car with bigger wheels in order to gain an increase in cornering performance that would be the result of the improved suspension geometry bigger wheels would afford.
Two Shadow Mark III’s were built two using the Shadow Mk II chassis tubs raced in 1971 and a third Mk II chassis tub was built and appears to have remained unraced in either 1971 or 1972. Confusingly that third unraced chassis tub, has been built into the only car now in the 1971 Shadow Mk II spec which I looked at last week.
Aside from the larger wheels and improved suspension geometry which required new suspension pickup points, the Mk III had mid mounted radiators which replaced the single front mounted radiator of the Mk II. A variety of different front aerodynamic appendages were tried on the front of the Mk III as the season progressed suggesting that moving the weight of the radiators back may not have done any favours to the front end handling of the car.
Jackie Oliver was again retained as the teams primary driver and he proved capable of competing with the other Chevrolet powered Can Am challengers in qualifying, only failing to qualify inside the top 10 on one occasion, however by 1972 Porsche has significantly raised the bar with a pair of Penske entered RC Cola Porsche 917’s. Reliability was still not Shadow’s strong suit and Jackie managed only a single second and third place finish during the season. Joining Jackie as team mates during the year were Brazilian Carlos Pacé, who managed a 4th place at his third and final run in the car at Edmonton, and NASCAR winner Donnie Allison.
In fact Donnie only ended up doing some qualifying laps in the final race of the season at Riverside, seen on this link wearing the red helmet, before having to hand his car over to Jackie Oliver who had attempted to qualify his own car, that had been fitted with a turbocharged Chevrolet big block, before it blew a piston.
Today’s featured car, which I believe is built around the first Shadow Mk II chassis tub, is owned by Fred Cziska and seen here at Goodwood Festival of Speed with Scott Dmek at the wheel.
Thanks for joining me on this “Full Size Wheels” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again for Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !