From this point, still in absolute secrecy, things moved forward rapidly.
“Jackie went for a seat fitting in the mock-up,” continues Neil, “and then Maurice Gomm built the chassis. But it was still very much a secret project. When the chassis came down to Ockham I started building up the car with Roland Law and when he put the Cosworth on the back we could see that the whole thing wasn’t square, the chassis had a wind in it, so Derek drew up a special engine mount for the bottom of the engine which squared it all up.”
Nobody else in the paddock knew what was going on. All the parts, including wheels and tyres, had been sent to Derek Gardner’s house and anyone who asked questions was told some story about a Formula 5000 car. But how long could it last?
“We were racing in Austria with the Marches and both cars packed up,” says Neil. “So we loaded up as soon as we could. Then Ron Dennis, who was with Brabham, came over and said, ‘What are you blokes up to? You’re up to something aren’t you?’ He was very sharp, old Ron, even then – and he’d guessed we were involved in some big new project. Anyway, we said nothing, and went back to England. How we kept it a secret, I don’t know, but we were all so loyal to Ken. It was different then.”
So, in an old army shed, in a timber yard in Surrey, just eight people completed the first ever Tyrrell Grand Prix car to be designed and built by the team.