CHEVRON GROWS A EW WI G
Long after the death of its founder, the racing marque adds another twist to its story HE COMPLEX HISTORY OF THE Chevron marque gained another wrinkle with the announcement that the modern GR8 is now to be
produced by the Jordan Will racing team while Chevron Racing will continue with the heritage side. That winged badge graced the nose of a long line of successful 2-litre sports cars from the 1960s into the ’70s, not to mention single-seaters up to F5000 culminating in Peter Gethin’s cheeky victory over a mixed F5000 and Formula 1 field in the 1973 Race of Champions.
They say every Chevron model was a winner, and for scores of drivers a Chevron was part of their career. Gethin and Brian Redman were famed Chevron pilots, while Lauda, de Angelis, Rosberg, Attwood and Elford also raced them.
But Chevron stalled with the loss of Derek Bennett, a driver turned inventive constructor, who conceived all those successful models. When he died in a hang-gliding accident in 1978 the marque lost impetus, folding in 1981.
Since then two separate Chevron companies have been operating. Chevron Cars, now in Hampshire under Roger Andreason, put new models on the grid for some years and now builds FIA-approved B8s and B1 6is from the original drawings and jigs. Chevron Racing, in Cheshire, also assembles these classic racers, but recently developed the GR8, a new GT racer and road car which in GT3 spec has been going well in British GT for Anthony Reid and Jordan Witt Now the With team takes over the GR8, moving production to a new facility where it will develop the racer. Meanwhile Chevron Racing continues with the classic models plus a road version of Bennett’s first Bl.
“Nearly all the staff are staying with us,” says Helen Bashford-Malkie, whose husband Vin Ma lkie worked with Bennett and started the new firm in 1981. 2013 would have been Bennett’s 80th birthday, and Helen wants to gather as many period B1 and B2 drivers as possible for a Shelsley meet and possibly a Monterey event, while Vin plans to race Bennett’s original B1 in Sportscar Masters.
Like a venerable rock band Chevron has grown multiple identities, but that yellow badge is still on the race track. Bennett would be pleased.