Twenty years after it last raced in Grands Prix, a six-wheeled Tyrrell has returned to the track at the Nurburgring with German ace Jost Kalisch at the wheel, following its complete restoration by AdamsMcCall Engineering in Britain.
Despite the expertise of Kerry Adams’s team, problems assembling the complex double front suspension and steering geometries were only overcome with great input from Derek Gardner, the car’s designer. The advantages of the concept four small front wheels offering an increased contact patch area and a reduction in drag were apparent when Scheckter and Depailler finished first and second in the 1976 Swedish Grand Prix, its fourth race.
Five more second places carried the drivers to third and fourth places in the championship, but the 1977 car, while it picked up points with Depailler and Peterson up, was never a challenger for outright victory.
Development of the unique front tyres had fallen behind that of the standard rears, to the detriment of chassis balance. Making the small tyres again was huge problem, for the moulds were destroyed long ago. New patterns were created and crossplies made by a concern in India!
Gardner, who designed Stewart’s Championship-winning Tyrrells of 1971 and 1973, left the team in 1977, but remains convinced that the sixwheel Tyrrell would have worked on radial tyres.