Chevron B28 car-by-car histories
Chevron built two updated F5000 Chevron B28s for VDS in 1974, and Peter Gethin won four races that season in his car. Despite that success, no other sales were made.
Teddy Piltte, Peter Gethin and Steve Thompson had all won races in Chevron B24s during 1973; Pilette had won the British F5000 Championship; and Gethin then won the 1974 Tasman Championship, so Chevron prospects for sales in 1974 seemed strong. However, the Lola T330 and its new T332 derivative was the car everyone wanted, and Chevron's only sales of the revised B28 design were to Count van der Straaten's VDS team. With Pilette and Gethin retained as drivers, the VDS team were the dominant force in the first half of the season, Gethin winning four of the first ten races, and Pilette taking three pole positions but was robbed of victory more than once. But as Bob Evans got the McKechnie Racing Lola T332 sorted, he took control, and the B28 seemed to have reached the limit of its development. Gethin remained in contention, but a series of retirements in the autumn allowed Evans to seal the title.
Although only two complete B28s were built, Chevron records indicate five monocoques were built, so identification of the remaining is cars is not as straightforward as it might appear. The differences between the B24 and B28 were minor, and both of the 1973 VDS B24s were converted to B28 specification during the Tasman series in January and February 1974. This later caused some confusion as Tony Dean referred to his ex-VDS B24 as a B28 at the same time that he also owned a 'real' ex-VDS B28. It is possible that this particular B24 has got muddled up with the two genuine ex-VDS B28s or that the ex-works B24/B28 development car is now in the mix.
Of the two B28s currently being races in historics, one has now been identified with confidence but the other still has a stubborn gap in its history around 1980. As there is a B24/B28 also still missing, which like the B28 is "ex-Gethin" and "ex-VDS", it is not yet possible to make the same positive identification of it. The other problem is that the chassis plates on the cars are not what would be expected from the histories: Keith Norris's car was been wearing the chassis plate "B28-74-02" since 1983 or earlier, and Johnty Williamson believed his car to be "B28-74-01" as long ago as 1979. So there may be a mistake in the identification of these cars even as early as 1974.
Thanks to Wolfgang Klopfer, Roger Andreason, Marcus Pye, Ted Walker, Jeremy Jackson, Simon Hadfield, Nick Shrigley-Feigl, Keith Norris, Ian Stronach, Chris Townsend, Steve Wilkinson, Dan Rear, John Monson, Bob Birrell, Daryl Taylor, Robert Romeril, Vic Norman and John Harper for their help constructing these histories.
Built for 1974 season. VDS for Teddy Pilette: raced in UK 1974 - Tony Dean: raced in UK 1975 (first raced at R9 Mallory Park 10 Aug but Dean then arrested on smuggling charges; entered by Dean for Ingo Hoffman last four races of 1975) and in libre (e.g. probably the car used to win at Croft Sep 1975) - Bobby Howlings: UK libre and G8 1976 (R1); advertised 26 Feb to 8 Jul 1976.
Next seen with Victor Cartmill (Formby, Merseyside) at the Castle Howard hillclimb on 3 April 1977 ("[Tony] Dean's last F5000 mount"), then presumably the car raced by David Flanagan at the Lancs AC Woodvale sprint on Easter Sunday 10 April 1977. Driven again by Cartmill at Woodvale in early June. Advertised from Liverpool from January to May 1978. Sold to Ian Stronach (Manchester): 1979 libre racing (photographed in Autosport at Aintree in October where it shows a striking resemblence to the Hoffman picture shown here even including apparantly mismatched mirrors); and then advertised from Manchester as ex-Pilette/Dean B28 in October 1979. Sold to Robin Darlington (Overton-on-Dee) 1979, then to Vic Norman 1980. Vic's recollection is that he sold the car to John Harper but Harper does not remember owning it.
Subsequent history unknown but believed to be the Norris car.
Driven by: Teddy Pilette, Tony Dean, Ingo Hoffmann, Bobby Howlings, Victor Cartmill, David Flanagan and Ian Stronach. First race: Brands Hatch (UK R1), 16 Mar 1974. Total of 31 recorded races.
Built for 1974 season. VDS for Peter Gethin: raced in UK 1974 - RAM Racing 1975: raced by Dave Walker. To Dennis Leech (Exeter, Devon) for 1976. Leech first appears in the car at R5 Thruxton 31 May 1976 where Autosport described it as an 'ex-RAM Chevron B28', implying B28-74-02 and it carried the old RAM number of #77. The photographs here show that Leech had merely painted out the Thursdays logos for that first race. Leech: raced in UK 1976, UK 1977 (retired at Brands Hatch 26 Jun, DNS at Oulton Park 9 Jul, seventh at Donington 31 Jul, retired at Brands 29 Aug, sixth at Thruxton 11 Sep).
Then unknown until bought from F. Dariani (London) in May 1979 by Johnty Williamson (UK). Williamson recalled it as being "B28/74/01" and it was sold to him as the ex-Leech car. Raced in UK sprints 1979, 1980 (when it was described by Autosport as ex-Leech), 1981 - Alan Smith (UK) Autumn 1981 - via Bobby Howlings (AMCO) to Robert Romerill (Channel Islands) as rolling chassis early 1983.
Romeril fitted the car with Jaguar V12 engine and used it for hill climbs and sprints from October 1983 up to 1994 when he fitted a 5.7-litre Chevy engine. Finding this somewhat powerless, he acquired the 6-litre Chev engine from the ex-Mick Hill VW Beetle Supersaloon then being broken by Mathew Mortlock. After just one further hillclimb, Romeril agreed to exchange the car for the 6-litre Chev-powered March 86B of Paul Gardner (Preston, UK). Romeril has always regretted the deal, not least because a flawed rear upright casting caused him to crash in March heavily on his first outing in it.
Gardner sold the B28 to Nick Shrigley-Feigl (Andreas, Isle of Man) about 1997 and he raced it in the FORCE Historic F5000 series (UK) in 2000 and 2001. Raced at the Chevron 40th at Oulton Park August 2005. Sold to Bob Birrell (Driffield, Yorks) January 2006 and raced in DBT. Sold to New Zealander Ross Maxwell (London) August 2007, and raced in HSCC events between 2009 and 2013. Bought from Maxwell by Christian Pittard (Walton-On-Thames, Surrey) in May 2021.
Driven by: Peter Gethin, Dave Walker, Alan Jones, Derek Bell, Dennis Leech and Johnty Williamson. First race: Brands Hatch (UK R1), 16 Mar 1974. Total of 44 recorded races.
The mystery cars
There were two B28s originally and there are two B28s today so it may be seen as over-cautious to refer to mysteries. However, the mid-1973 development B24 is also missing and it is possible that one of the B28s below could be an updated B24. It is also worth noting that there would have been a spare B28 monocoque floating around after about August 74 when Gethin's B28-74-02 was subject to a precautionary rebuild. This tub would be tired but not too bent, and presumably useable.
By the late 1970s, one of the B28s had settled in the north of England, around Manchester, and the other was last seen in the southwest, with Dennis Leech in Devon. A mystery car appeared in London in 1978, and although that seems likely to have been the ex-Leech car, that conclusion may be rash. The former works development B24, which had been updated the B28 specification in 1974, was also in London in 1975 when John MacDonald had owned it. MacDonald was involved with Super Saloon racing, and the advertisements for this mystery London B28 also included a Chevrolet Corvair Super Saloon. Connections such as this can just be coincidences: it is probably just a coincidence that the history of 'the Keith Norris car' can be traced back to Plymouth in Devon, not far from where Dennis Leech's car had lived. The current owners of the B28s may be understandably frustrated by this reluctance to reach a positive conclusion, but more information is still needed.
Advertised from 01-883 5338 (Autosport 17 Aug 1978 p68) then later from same number evenings/weekends (with Chevy Corvair Super Saloon) "in excellent condition" (Autosport 9 Nov 1978 p67, also 16 Nov 1978 p52). Another advert appeared from this number in 1979 offering a reward for the return of an ex-Mick Hill, Tony Rosen Super Saloon Capri and gave addresses in Welwyn, Herts and Stanhope Street, London NW1 (Autosport 8 Mar 1979 p53). Marcus Pye believes this would have been Tony Strawson. No other information known.
Bought from Plymouth car dealer Fred Davis by Keith Norris August 1981: used in libre racing from 1983 onwards (seventh in a Mallory Park libre 10 Jul 1983; sixth in Brands Hatch libre 14 Aug 1983), raced in 1984 McLaren Open Championship (BRSCC libre) and raced in FORCE Historic F5000 series (UK) 2001. Still being raced in historic racing 2005 in the HSCC Derek Bell Trophy series.
Sold to John Monson (Beverley, Yorkshire) January 2006 and raced in DBT. Sold to Daryl Taylor (Bristol) August 2007. Raced by Taylor in the Derek Bell Trophy events in 2008 and 2009, and at the Tasman Revival in New Zealand in 2010. Returned to HSCC events in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Raced by Daryl Taylor at HSCC Silverstone October 2016.
Driven by: Keith Norris. First race: Mallory Park, 10 Jul 1983. Total of 3 recorded races.
Built by Simon Taylor using many original parts from his brother Daryl Taylor's B28. It was finished in Thursdays livery, as used on RAM Racing's B28 in 1975. The Taylors have been entirely open about the origins of this car.
Raced by Simon Taylor at Silverstone July 2012, Brands Hatch July 2013, Brands Hatch July 2014, Brands Hatch June 2015, Brands Hatch July 2015, Oulton Park August 2015, Silverstone May 2016, and Brands Hatch July 2016.
A note on chassis number identification
The chassis numbers above are taken from the original Chevron 'chassis register'. They largely agree with the numbers used in Paul Sheldon's Formula 1 Register Fact Book: Formula 5000 1972-1981. One exception is at the first round of the 1976 season where the F1 Register book calls Howlings' car "B28-74-03". Leech's 1976 car is also a problem: the F1 Register record this as a B28 (B28-74-01) in 1976 and as a B24 (B24-72-01) in 1977 but neither attribution looks convincing. Leech's 1975 car had been a B24 but B24-73-06, last seen when he crashed it at R15 Mallory Park 12 Oct 1975.
In 1983, Mallory Park regular Dan Rear saw Keith Norris's B28 at a libre race on 10 July. He noted '02' next to it on his entry list implying that it was wearing the 'B28-74-02' plate. Wolfgang Klopfer also saw the car at Watkins Glen in June 1999 and also reported that "according to the chassis plate, it is car # 2".
These histories last updated on .