Can Am


Buy from Amazon


Buy from Amazon


Buy from Amazon


Buy from Amazon







 



Can Am
 

Shadow DN4

“Don Nichols turned up in Can-Am in 1970 with that stupid car with tiny cotton-reel wheels, the first Shadow. He approached me, but I told him his car was rubbish. I said, ‘You’re going to run out of money with stupid projects like that. What are you doing, spending your own money on racing? Get yourself some sponsorship, and get Peter Bryant to design you a conventional car.’ So he did. The money came from Universal Oil Products, who were into oil refinery technology. That was the start of my relationship with Don. “He was an unusual man. When he was small his parents were killed in a car crash – he was in the car, but survived – and he was brought up by his grandmother. In the 1930s there was a radio serial in the US, rather like Dick Barton in the UK, called The Shadow. The Shadow wore a black cloak and a black hat, and the catchline was, ‘Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.’ Don loved that as a kid, so when he came into racing the cars were called Shadows. They were black, and Don wore a black cape, a black beard, a black toreador hat and dark glasses. Different…

“At the end of 1972 the writing was on the wall for BRM, because there was no budget for a badly needed new engine. Jackie Oliver, whom I’d worked with at BRM in ’69/70, had been driving for Don Nichols’ Shadow team in Can-Am, and he persuaded Don to move into F1. He suggested I come on board and design the car, the DN1. I got on fine with Don, but he was always a mysterious, you could say Shadowy, character. He sported a black beard and a black Spanish hat, and liked to tell you about his time in the CIA. George Follmer joined Jackie as No.2 driver. George was 39 and had never done F1, but he just got in the car and got on with it. In our first race, at Kyalami, he finished in the points, and in our second at Barcelona he got on the podium. That rather pissed Ollie off. From then on we had various problems and crashes, and didn’t score another point until Jackie was third in Canada. Shadow DN4Don also insisted I did the DN2 Can-Am car. His engine man came up with a 1200hp twin-turbo Chevy V8 which he said was going to win everything, but my sums said it’d do 2mpg. I drew a big car with fuel stuffed in every corner, and massive drive shafts to cope with the power. But that engine blew up every time you looked at it. We had to run with a normal V8 and it was just too big and heavy. For 1974 I said to Don, ‘let’s do Can-Am right’, and I did the DN4: smaller, neater, better-packaged, and Oliver won the title.”

Well, obviously, the DN4 was a tremendous car," he states, "and the fact that it was constructed in only 90 days meant it was ready long before the Can-Am season started in June. So I was determined to grab this opportunity to make the car absolutely bulletproof, and to this end we spent a week at Riverside and put about 1800 miles on the car. Lee Muir, who was in charge of preparing the Chevy engine, had also done a superb job."

“Don Nichols turned up in Can-Am in 1970 with that stupid car with tiny cotton-reel wheels, the first Shadow. He approached me, but I told him his car was rubbish. I said, ‘You’re going to run out of money with stupid projects like that. What are you doing, spending your own money on racing? Get yourself some sponsorship, and get Peter Bryant to design you a conventional car.’ So he did. The money came from Universal Oil Products, who were into oil refinery technology. That was the start of my relationship with Don."

Jackie Oliver

Shadow DN4“He was an unusual man. When he was small his parents were killed in a car crash – he was in the car, but survived – and he was brought up by his grandmother. In the 1930s there was a radio serial in the US, rather like Dick Barton in the UK, called The Shadow. The Shadow wore a black cloak and a black hat, and the catchline was, ‘Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.’ Don loved that as a kid, so when he came into racing the cars were called Shadows. They were black, and Don wore a black cape, a black beard, a black toreador hat and dark glasses. Different…