A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to receive today’s featured photo’s from Geoffrey Horton of a Shadow Mk II , a vehicle that had been built for Jackie Oliver to drive in the 1971 Can Am Series.
The story of the Shadow racing team begins with an orphan Don Nichols who as a child was influenced by The Shadow radio series, after service in the ’39 – ’45 war and a career in military intelligence Don appears to have gravitated to the world of motor racing supplying American tyres to the Japanese racing fraternity during the 1960’s.
In 1970 Don founded Advanced Vehicle Systems which built a red vehicle notorious for it’s tiny size and wheels designed by Trevor Harris called the Shadow Mk I. The car qualified well with first George Folmer and then Vic Elford at the wheel, but was hampered with a 100% unreliability record not finishing any races.
in 1969 Peter Bryant had designed and entered his titanium chassised Ti 22 Can Am car which Jackie Oliver had been qualifying even better, than the Shadow, ever since it was first seen and managed two 2nd place finishes in 1970.
Bryant ran out of funds for the Ti 22 and both he and Jackie Oliver joined Don Nichols for the 1971 season. Don was keen that Peter keep the frontal area of the Shadow Mark II to a minimum and so the Mk II was designed around Formula One size wheels and tyres which were smaller than those ordinarily found in Can Am.
Powered by a 8.1 litre / 494 cui Chaparral prepared Chevrolet V8 Jackie scored a best third place finish at Edmonton when the car appeared painted white with black lettering on all the upward facing surfaces except the rear wing. Jackie used chassis Mk II #1 through out the 1971 season.
As we shall see next week Peter Bryant was responsible for designing the 1972 Shadow MK III and Jackie for driving it. What I did not know until recently was that Advanced Vehicle Systems built three Mk II monocoque tubs and that all three were used to build the Shadow Mk III which ran on full size Can Am tyres.
In 2009 Don Nichols sold off the chassis, seen here at Marin Sanoma Concours d’Elegance where it won it’s class, which is actually the third chassis that was only ever raced in Mk III specification. Mr Losher the owner decided, that as the first two chassis are still in 1972 Mk III spec, he would build his up to the older 1971 Mk II Formula One wheel spec.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for sending me these photographs.
Thanks for joining me on this “Formula One Wheels” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho” on tyres”, next week I’ll be looking at the Shadow Mk III on Americana Thursday, meantime I hope you will join me for another edition of Ferrari Friday tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !