Martin Stretton, of Martin Stretton Racing, recounts how the Antiques Roadshow helped to bring an ex-Jackie Stewart F1 machine to his attention
I’d have to choose Tyrrell 005 in which I won the 1995 Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championship as my favourite restoration. The reason is that we restored this ex-Jackie Stewart car with the advice and mentoring of its designer, Derek Gardner, who went on to be my race engineer in TGP. That car has great memories for me.
I’d started working with Derek on the BDA-engined March 712M in which I’d won the Euro Formula 2 Championship the previous year. I’d contacted him because I wanted a better design of a period rear wing, and one thing led to another and he ended up coming to every race. We demolished the opposition. That car was owned by Simon Bull, the clock and watch expert on the Antiques Roadshowat the time, but he got bored with the March. He wanted another project, and he and Derek came up with the idea of getting an old Tyrrell Formula 1 car.
Getting the 005 from 1972 was Derek’s choice. He understood how I drove from F2. We did look at a later 007, but ended up with 005, which had been owned by Harley Cluxton over in Arizona. The 005, basically the prototype for the 006, is short-wheel-based and fairly lively, and he thought I could get the most out of it. It was a running car that hadn’t been used much. I’m told Harley only used to drive it up and down a runway occasionally, but it still required a full rebuild. The car needed to be in a specific configuration and we opted for the 1973 South African Grand Prix, because that was the last race where the rear wing was allowed to be mounted way back. It was also before they added the crush zones, which allowed us to make the car a bit lighter.
The car was taken down to the bare monocoque and we had to make new brake shafts — because it ran inboard brakes — and go through the suspension. I remember getting a phonecall from Derek asking us to take the differential out and describe it to him. When we did, he started chuckling. It was an original viscous differential, which he’d designed but not raced at the time because of concerns over its reliability.
We got the car just after Christmas in 1994 and raced it for the first time at Thruxton. I managed to get the car onto the overall podium against much newer cars and on class-based results I won the championship. It was a special time.
A car driven by Danny Sullivan, Michele Alboreto, Stefan Bellof and Martin Brundle in period – and now in its 1983 Benetton livery – is currently being campaigned by Stretton in the FIA Masters Historic F1 Championship. Status: Trying to sort the car after a change in damper regulations ahead of Dijon in October.
Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/TT/3
This is a long-term project that came in for some chassis engineering work on the suspension and has turned into something much bigger. Status: Engine issues have delayed the car’s return to the track – it’s currently away being rebuilt.