Chevrons

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Sir,

It was very interesting to read the article about Geoff Temple’s Chevron B1/1, but for historical accuracy I must make a comment or two. To the best of my knowledge all of the Chevron Clubmans cars still exist. Vin Malkie’s B1/2, originally Brian Classic’s, is well documented. Brian Classic owns two, the Parade Motors BMC-engined car known as the ‘thintube model’, and one of the twincam cars, possibly Peter Crossley’s car which I bought in Yorkshire during 1973 while working for Rodney Bloor’s Sports Motors company, and sold to Brian. One car is in the Ashley area of Cheshire, and the fourth, I have been reliably informed, is hibernating in Yorkshire.

It is wrong to say that building a Clubmans car was an easy option for Derek either as a constructor or driver. In 1966 he had been racing for several years, originally in the 750/1172 formulae in a Special of his own and in a Terrier MkII which I owned and he prepared, in Formula Junior in a car of his own, GT cars in a Lotus Elite and occasionally a TVR, F3 in a Gemini and Brabham BT9 and various sports-racing cars of other people’s. In fact while building the prototype Clubmans cars he was racing a Brabham BT14 Twin-Cam very successfully for Robert Ashcroft. All of this and much more is in Robin Gordon’s excellent book Chevron — The Derek Bennett Story. At that time, Derek’s mechanic Paul Owens was very keen for Derek to build a GT car, but for various reasons, not the least being financial, the Clubmans route was taken.

It is also unfair to say that the B1 was based on the Brabham -Derek was anything but happy with the BT9 F3 car. He used Brabham wheels because they were the best available at the time and were cheap. Derek had raced and developed Lotus Elites over a couple of seasons and used the Elite diff housing on the Clubmans. He also used the ubiquitous Triumph Herald front suspension uprights, steering arms and rack, but I have never heard it suggested that he copied his design from Lotus or Triumph!

I have written much more than originally intended, but feel that while some of us “older members” who were there at the time are still alive we should put our memories down on paper before racing and racing car manufacture is rewritten, and to give credit to a very talented and under-rated racing car designer/builder and very fast race driver.

Doug Linton, Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire.