Chevron B20 car-by-car histories
The Chevron B20 was Chevron's 1972 single-seater design, intended for F2, F3 and Formula B, but designed primarily for F2. It was panelled spaceframe based largely on the B18 but with a full-width 'sports car' nose.
Derek Bennett completely rethought the aerodynamics of the B18, and replaced its ugly front wing with a full-width nose which was essentially a squared-off version of the front of the company's B19 sports car. The B19 bodywork had in turn been cribbed from the Porsche 908/3 at the recommendation of Brian Redman, who was a Porche works driver as well as having a very close relationship with Chevron. Although Chevron get much credit for introducing the 'sports car nose' to F2, the Surtees TS10 also had the same style of nose from the start of 1972, and it had been Tyrrell that had first introduced a Porsche 908/3-inspired nose to single-seaters when such a 'bluff' nose was added to Jackie Stewart's Tyrrell 003 in June 1971.
Despite its unpopularity, the B18 had shown some potential, and Chevron's continuing success in sports car racing ensured some customers were found for the new single-seater design. Fred Opert, the US agent, bought cars for Formula B customers Jim Grob, Bobby Brown and Brian Robertson, and in early 1973 sold a fourth car to Peter Ferguson. Pierre Maublanc was now the French agent and bought one car for himself, which proved to be very effective in French hillclimbs. Also a car was sold to the far east for the 1600cc twin cam formula. In the UK, singleton cars were sold for Formula 3, to Chris Skeaping, and for Formula Atlantic, where Bobby Howlings bought a car for John Lepp to race. Skeaping's Vegantune-engined F3 car was a complete flop, but Lepp was more competitive in Formula Atlantic, winning one round of the British series at Croft in August. But most of Chevron's focus was on the Formula 2 project, where Peter Gethin drove the works entry and won at Pau in early May. A second F2 car was finished off in time for John Watson to race at Oulton Park in September.
There are still several mysteries and a number of missing cars. If you can add anything, please contact Allen Brown (email@example.com).
The prototype Chevron B20 was completed in Formula B specification delivered to Jim Grob (Ft Lauderdale, FL) in time for the 1971 Run-Offs. Grob then raced the orange car at the Bogotá races in early 1972 and then in Southeast Div and Pro FB in 1972. He retained the car for 1973 and 1974, racing it in a total of four Run-Offs, before selling it to Peter Symonds (Rowley, MA) for the 1975 season. Symonds only raced it four times: two SCCA Regionals in 1975 and another two in 1976. Symonds advertised it in 1977. Its next owner was Jack Van Dell who raced it in Regionals in 1985. It was sold to Pierre Haverland (Belgium) in 1988 and then to Nelson Todd (Belfast, Northern Ireland) in 2000. To Laurent Fort (Arles, Provence, France) in 2006, then to Michael Henderson (Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland) in 2007. In November 2016, the restoration was stalled as he was busy on other projects. Still owned by Henderson in May 2021.
Driven by: Jim Grob and Peter Symonds. First race: Road Atlanta, 27 Nov 1971. Total of 23 recorded races.
New to Chris Skeaping as a works Formula 3 entry for 1972. Skeaping had numerous accidents in the car and his only significant result was third place at Silverstone in mid-May. Not seen again after Skeaping's race at Thruxton in late-October 1972. Advertised by Chevron Cars as "immaculate and ready to race" in August 1973. It was acquired by Alex Lowe (Liverpool) as a rolling chassis, part of a package that included a spare monocoque and the rear end of another car. He raced the ex-Skeaping Chevron B20 in Formula 4 from 1975 to 1978, and then in Monosposto in 1979 and 1980. In September 1980, he had a major accident at Oulton Park, damaging the monocoque beyond immediate repair, so Lowe rebuilt the car on the spare monocoque. He retired from racing at the end of that season. In 1982, he moved to Wales, and sold off the B20. He cannot remember the buyer. According to Chevron Cars (then owned by Roger Andreason and Tim Colman), they bought two B20s from Lowe in 1986 and stored them. In 1994, the ex-F3 car was sold to Nick Crossley, restored to F3 spec and raced in HSCC events, winning the Classic F3 Championship in 1995. Then unknown until acquired by Tom Powell (Potterton, Aberdeenshire, Scotland) in June 2007. Restored again, this time to original livery, and raced in Classic F3.
Driven by: Chris Skeaping and Alex Lowe. First race: Brands Hatch (R1), 5 Mar 1972. Total of 60 recorded races.
Chevron Racing Team entry in Formula 2 in 1972, raced by Peter Gethin and Vic Elford. Gethin won at Pau in early May. Also raced by John Watson with a 1900cc Cosworth FVC in the Rothmans 5000. Believed to be the car leased by Ed Reeves for David Morgan to race in the Torneio do Brasil at the end of the year. Morgan crashed in practice at Interlagos when the car hit the Armco barrier head on and went between the two sections, luckily stopping just before the cockpit. The car was "extremely badly bent" and a fortunately unhurt Morgan had to be cut out of the car. It is likely that the car would not have been repairable after this, but it is possible it survived in some form.
Driven by: Peter Gethin, Vic Elford, John Watson and David Morgan. First race: Mallory Park (R1), 12 Mar 1972. Total of 15 recorded races.
Sold via Fred Opert to Bobby Brown (Hicksville, NY) for SCCA Formula B, and finished third and first in the two Bogotá races early in 1972. Brown then used it in the SCCA Continental Championship for Formula B, winning the round at Lime Rock in July from pole position. The car is unknown through the 1973 season, and was next seen when entered by Freeman Racing Enterprises, the Chevron agent, for Price Cobb (Dallas, TX) in the Pro Formula Atlantic races in 1974. It was advertised by Cobb in early 1975, then advertised by Richard Jackson (Dallas, TX) in August 1975 as "ex-Brown" but still wearing the #2 that Cobb had used in 1974 and with updated bodywork, and advert that was repeated in February 1976. It was advertised by Cobb from Dallas again in December 1976, when it was available with new body and and with or without a BDA for $4500 or $3000, and again in April and June 1977. Next seen when sold by a dealer, Paul Lindell (Houston, TX), to James Sawyer in January 1978. Offered for sale on race-cars.com in February 2003, when it still had the same nose seen in the 1975 adverts, and was still in Texas. From Sawyer to Jeff McKay (Tacoma, WA) then on to Walt Pawluczkowycz (Evergreen, CO). Sold by Pawluczkowycz to Steve Marschman (Idaho Falls, Idaho) in May 2004. Still with Marschman in October 2020.
Driven by: Bobby Brown and Price Cobb. First race: Bogotá, 27 Feb 1972. Total of 8 recorded races.
To Bob Howlings Racing Team for John Lepp (Altrincham, Cheshire) to race in British Formula Atlantic in 1972. Won at Croft in August and had several other good placings. Last seen in the UK at Oulton Park on 30 September 1972, and then unknown until early 1974 when sold by Howlings to Nelson Todd (Lisburn, Northern Ireland), and raced in Irish Formula Atlantic, winning at Kirkistown in October 1974. To Jim Sherry (Lisburn, Northern Ireland) for a couple of races at Mondello Park in 1975. This must be the "little used" Chevron B20 advertised by Gerry Kinnane in Belfast in June 1976. Raced by Mike Nugent (Cookstown, County Tyrone) a couple of times later that year. Then to Dick Parsons (Dundonald, County Down, Northern Ireland) for 1977, when it was described as a ex-Kinnane. Sold to Tom McMillan in Scotland, then on to Bill Lord for 1978 and used in Scottish hillclimbs, reputedly with a Hart 420R Formula 2 engine, but this seems unlikely. Retained for 1979 and presumably the Chevron B20 with Cosworth FVC engine advertised from Dunfermline, Fife in November 1979.
Driven by: John Lepp, Nelson Todd, Jim Sherry, Mike Nugent, Richard Parsons, Bill Lord and Alastair McDougall. First race: Croft, 12 Mar 1972. Total of 38 recorded races.
Sold via Fred Opert and entered for Brian Robertson (Brockville, Ontario, Canada) in Formula B in 1972. To Ferguson/Wilson Racing Team for 1973 and raced by former Miss Canada pageant finalist Linda Wilson in Canadian Formula B. Due to be driven by Ric Forest at Trois-Rivières in September but teammate Peter Ferguson "wiped out" the sister car on the Saturday so took over Wilson's car for the race. Only one of the B20s was seen in 1974, driven by Ferguson, and it seems likely it was the ex-Wilson car. Advertised by Fred Opert in June 1975, suggesting it had returned to Opert in part exchange for Ferguson's new Chevron B29. Advertised again by Opert in early November 1975. Subsequent history unknown until bought as a rolling chassis by Ed Swart from somebody on the east coast who had been trying to restore it. It was black at that stage, and Ed repainted it to orange, the Dutch racing colours, and fitted a BDA engine as he completed the restoration. Raced by Swart from 1989 to February 1993, winning VARA's historic Formula Atlantic West coast title in 1992. Swart then acquired a Chevron B45, and the B20 was sold to Richard Morrison in Tennessee in February 1996. History then unknown again until February 2019, when the ex-Swart car was advertised from Las Vegas, NV. Acquired by Chuck Raggio (Linden, CA) in March 2019. In September 2019, Raggio said that after its time in Canada, the car went to Fred Opert and then to Dan Carmichael.
Driven by: Brian Robertson, Linda Wilson and Peter Ferguson. First race: Sanair (R1), 28 May 1972. Total of 23 recorded races.
Sold to Pierre Maublanc (Rillieux, Lyons, France) and fitted with a 2-litre Hart BDA for French hillclimbs. Won at least six courses de côte in 1972, and numerous other high finishes. To Roger Damaisin (Villeurbanne, Lyons, France) for 1973, and won at Mont Ventoux in September. To Guy Baria (Monte Carlo) for 1974, 1975, 1976 and early 1977, still with its Hart engine. Advertised by Baria in August 1977 with a 2-litre FVC engine. It is highly likely that this was the B20 raced by Bernard Vezon (Alès, Occitanie, southern France) in 1979. Later bought by Guy Gasiglia in 1982, who used it as the basis of a Renault-engined silhouette class car. Then to Patrick Caisson in 1989, then to Dutoya in 1989. Sold to Rupert Marks (Maldon, Essex) in 2001. Still with Rupert in January 2007.
Driven by: Pierre Maublanc, Roger Damaisin, Guy Baria and Bernard Vezon. First race: Monts du Jura, 30 Apr 1972. Total of 56 recorded races.
Sold via Fred Opert to Ferguson/Wilson Racing Team for 1973, when it was described as brand new. Raced by Peter Ferguson (Toronto, Ontario) in the Canadian FB series, but then "wiped out" in practice at Trois-Rivières in September. Ferguson then took over the team's second B20, and it is likely that was the car he drove in 1974. According to documentation later submitted to CAMS, his original car was owned by Players from 1974 to 1978, then was in storage from 1978 to 1984. It was owned by Alex Polsinello from 1984, then George McLean in 1991, then Russell Sewell in 2010. It was bought by Martin Bullock (Western Australia) in 2011. Raced by Bullock in Australian historic racing from 2013 onwards.
Driven by: Peter Ferguson. First race: Mosport Park, 29 Apr 1973. Total of 10 recorded races.
Appeared as a second Chevron Cars F2 entry for John Watson at Oulton Park in September 1972, but that was its only race in the European season. Photographs show that this was the car sold to Tony Martin for South African racing in 1973. Martin's car was described by Motoring News as ex-Gethin, but this may be because he was due to get the car that Ed Reeves had hired for Dave Morgan to drive in South America, but then received a different car after Morgan wrecked that car. As Martin's car has several featuires that exactly match the Watson car, we can deduce that Morgan had wrecked the ex-Gethin B20 72-2. Raced by Martin in 1973, when it was fitted with a 2-litre BDA and later a FVC engine. Raced by Glenn Martin a few times in 1974. South African historian Ian Hebblethwaite reports that Martin crashed the car heavily later that season. He understands that the tub was unrepairable and the other components were used on the team's B25s. Paul Owens has confirmed this story, and said that all that was left was the rear wing.
Driven by: John Watson, Tony Martin and Glenn Martin. First race: Oulton Park, 16 Sep 1972. Total of 12 recorded races.
New to John S Green in Formula B specification but there is no evidence of this car being delivered before the end of 1972. Green ran it in the Gap Hill Climb in January 1973, but only circuit raced it once, in the Singapore Grand Prix in April 1973. Green died in early 1974, and the Chevron was sold to David Schollum for Steve Millen in South-East Asian races that year. Then shipped to New Zealand and fitted with a 1980cc Cosworth FVC engine for the 1975 Tasman series. Used by Millen in 1600cc form at Batu Tiga and Macau later in 1975. Sold to Ian Grey in 1976 and raced with a Cosworth BDM at Macau in 1976 and 1977. Later sold to Dick Ward (Perth, Australia) and George Stacey about the end of 1979, and then to Harry Hickling (ACT, Australia). Sold to David Innes late 2014.
Driven by: John Green, Steve Millen and Ian Grey. First race: Gap Hill Climb, 21 Jan 1973. Total of 17 recorded races.
Chevron B20s in 1972
Two Chevron B20s do not quite fit, the car that Bobby Brown raced at the JAF GP in Japan in May 1972, and the one that Dan Carmichael drove during 1972. Brown's car was thought to be his regular Formula B car, but Kevin Hodgkinson rightly points out that there was not time to return it to America and refit its usual Ford twin cam before the Laguna Seca race the following weekend. Carmichael was very quick in his car in SCCA Nationals, running second at the Road America June Sprints before he crashed, so it is unlikely that it was his previous Chevron B18 updated. One possibility previously considered is that Carmichael was the first owner of chassis 72-7, and that it was sold to Canada as a new car after he had it, but Lee Johnson's discovery that Carmichael's car went to Joe Shepherd for 1973 ruled this out. At the moment, both of these are unresolved puzzles.
'the 1972 Japanese GP car'
At the JAF Grand Prix at Fuji on 3 May 1972, Bobby Brown raced a Chevron B20 with a Cosworth FVC engine. There was not time to get this car back to the US for the Laguna Seca Formula B race the following weekend, so this must have been a different B20. Nothing more known.
Driven by: Bobby Brown. First race: Fuji, 3 May 1972. Only one recorded race.
'the Dan Carmichael car'
Dan Carmichael (Columbus, OH) raced a Chevron B20 at the Road America June Sprints and at the 1972 SCCA Runoffs. He finished the season with 25 points, indicating that he used the car at a minimum of three other SCCA Nationals during 1972. Carmichael acquired a new Brabham BT40 for 1973 and the Chevron was sold to Joe H. Shepherd (Indianapolis, IN), who raced it in Canadian and SCCA Pro Formula B in 1973, entered by Xanadu Racing, and also scored three points in SCCA Central Division FB. Retained by Shepherd for Players Canadian Formula Atlantic and SCCA Formula B in 1974, but he did not score any points in Central Division that season. He appeared again in 1975, but his only certain outing that season was in the Hoosier Grand Prix SCCA National at IRP in September. The car was advertised by Shepherd in January and February 1976, and his recollection is that it went to someone in the southeast US, perhaps on the coast.
Driven by: Dan Carmichael and Joe Shepherd. First race: Road America, 18 Jun 1972. Total of 14 recorded races.
Chevron B20s in 1973
Nearly all the B20s can be traced into 1973: 71-1 still with Jim Grob, 72-5 and 72-7 with Peter Ferguson, 72-6 with Roger Damaisin, and 72-9 with John Green. The only one missing was the ex-Bobby Brown 72-3 (which previously versions of this page incorrectly placed with Chip Mead in 1973), but that car reappeared with Price Cobb in Texas in 1974. Of the two F2 cars, one had been effectively destroyed when David Morgan was cut out of it in Brazil, and the other went to South Africa. The ex-F3 car, 72-1, was advertised by Chevron during 1973 and does not appear to have raced that year. The missing car is Bobby Howlings' Formula Atlantic car, 72-4, which disappeared at the end of 1972, and does not turn up again until early 1974 when Nelson Todd bought it from Howlings. Howlings' company, Bobby Howlings Racing, went into liquidation in early 1973 and it is possible this car was tied up with the liquidators during 1973.
As it now seems clear that Howlings' Formula Atlantic car did not go to the US, the car of Dan Carmichael and Joe Shepherd is a mystery. It cannot have been 72-7, as previous version of this page suggested. One possibility is that the ex-Willie Green Chevron B18 had been updated to B20 specification at the factory after he last raced it at the Rothmans 50,000 and was sold to the US, but this car was in England again in the 1980s, so that now looks very unlikely. However, there was one Formula B Chevron B18 that cannot be accounted for in 1973, and as the B18 and B20 chassis were very similar, an upgraded B18/B20 is quite plausible. Even if the B18's inboard front suspension was left unchanged, replacing the B18's nose with a B20 nose may result in a car being described as a B20.
Later mystery Chevron B20s
In June and November 1975, Fred Opert advertised the ex-Robertson 72-5, latterly for £3500 as a rolling chassis. In March 1976, Joe Grimaldi's The Race Shop (Adrian, MI) advertised a Chevron B20, described as a "good National Formula B or Formula C car" as a roller for $3500. As Joe Shepherd still had his car only a month earlier, it seems likely that Grimaldi had acquired 72-5 from Opert.
From November 1976 to June 1977, Bill Scott Racing (McLean, VA) advertised a Chevron B20 with a freshly rebuilt Hart twin cam engine. By this time the B20s in North America were 72-3, which stayed in Texas from 1974 onwards; 72-5, last seen as a rolling chassis with Opert in November 1975; 72-7, which was then with Players in Canada; and the Dan Carmichael/Joe Shepherd car that Shepherd had advertised in February 1976. Of these, the only car likely to still have had a Ford twin cam engine would be Shepherd's. In September 1978, Bill Graf Racing (South Ozone Pk, NY) advertised the "1972 Players Champ" B20, so presumably the ex-Robertson 72-5, for $4,000.
A Chevron appeared with Mike Stevens and later Andrew Florentine in Yorkshire from about 1976 or 1977 onwards that was entered as a B20, although it really doesn't look like one. Earlier suggestions on this page that it could have been the ex-John Lepp/ex-Nelson Todd 72-4 or the ex-Barrie Maskell Chevron B18 can now be ruled out. It may be an older Chevron, or quite possibly an entirely different car that was just wearing Chevron B25 bodywork.
The other unidentified B20 is a car sold to Lee Johnson by Chevron Cars Ltd in 1989. This was based on a crashed monocoque acquired from Alex Lowe, which may be the chassis damaged in his accident in 1980.
'the Mike Stevens car'
This car is first known when raced by Mike Stevens (Holmfirth, West Yorkshire) some time between 1976 and 1979. This may be the 1600cc Ford-engined "Stevens S1" he entered for a hillclimb at Harewood in April 1976. It was bought in Holmfirth by Andrew Florentine (Richmond, North Yorkshire) in 1978 or 1979, and he raced it in the 1600cc class in hillclimbs from 1981 to 1984. It was described in a variety of ways, including as a Chevron B9 twice in 1982, and as a Chevron B20 on other occasions. In 1981, it was said to be in Monoposto specification, but had a BDA engine in subsequent seasons. Andrew's recollection is that it may have sold it to a dealer in Chesterfield, Derbyshire around 1988. Although it wore Chevron B25 bodywork, photographs of the car show few other features suggesting it was a Chevron. Although listed here as a B20, because that is what it was most often entered as by Florentine, it is also possible that it is even older, such as a B9 or a B15, or that it was not a Chevron at all.
Driven by: Andrew Florentine. First race: Harewood (R8), 12 Jul 1981. Total of 3 recorded races.
'the Lee Johnson car'
Lee Johnson (Taos, NM) bought a Chevron B20 chassis from Chevron Cars Ltd (Roger Andreason and Tim Colman) in 1989/90. Lee has continued the rebuild of this himself over many years. By November 2019, he had a 1860cc Cosworth BDA engine and Hewland FT200 gearbox full rebuilt and ready to install.
Opportunities for further research
There is still much about the B20s that we do not know, or do not feel completely confident about. One possibility is that Chevron updated one of the ex-F2 B18s to B20 specification, or that parts were provided so that Fred Opert could update one of the ex-Formula B B18Bs to B20 specification. Pictures of Dan Carmichael's Formula B car (1972) and Joe Shepherd's Formula B car (1974 to 1976) may provide some of the answers to this. Carmichael won the SCCA amateur Formula Atlantic title in 1995 at the age of 75, and died in July 2014 aged 96.
Much credit for the research into this model must go to Harry Hickling, a previous owner of B20 72-9, the car that was sold to the Far East. The chassis numbers used on this page come from Derek Bennett's hand-written notes on the B20s which were kindly provided by a one-time director of the Chevron company. Thanks also to Chris Townsend who researched the Formula B cars in great detail, to David Innes for his work understanding the fates of these cars, including contacting John Lepp and Nelson Todd to determine the history of the car they both owned, and to Lee Johnson for locating and interviewing Joe Shepherd. Also to David McKinney, Ian Hebblethwaite, Steve Wilkinson, Bryan Miller, Michael Henderson, Marcus Pye, Alan Brown, Rupert Marks, Steve Marschman, Alex Lowe, Dan Rear, Andrew Florentine, Lee Johnson, John Lepp, Nelson Todd and Kevin Hodgkinson for their help in getting to this point. Thanks also to Ted Walker, Alan Cox, Keith Lewcock, Steve Wilkinson, Danie van den Berg, Nelson Todd and Paul Nemy for providing photographs. Last but not least, I am grateful to Tim Colman and Roger Andreason for information provided from their Chevron B20 files.
These histories last updated on .