Chevron B34 car-by-car histories
Designed for Formula Atlantic, the Chevron B34 was also available in Formula 3 specification, where it proved highly successful, winning the European F3 championship with Riccardo Patrese, and helping Rupert Keegan to the BP British title.
The Formula Atlantic version of the Chevron B34 appeared for testing at Oulton Park in the first week of December, sporting Chevron B29 bodywork at first. Derek Bennett was doing the driving, and was very encouraged - as if he would have said anything else! A F3 variant was also due to be built, and Chevron was very optimistic about sales, as March's Italian importer Trivellato Racing had decided to move to Chevron, signing a three-year contract. Trivellato would run three Chevron B35s in Formula 2 plus a works-supported F3 car for talented youngster Riccardo Patrese. The Formula Atlantic version of the B34 sold very well, encouraged by the highly-visible development programme in December, and Fred Opert's very effective sales and support services based in New Jersey.
The production version of the B34 had much narrower bodywork than its predecessor, the Chevron B29, but had a wider track, making it slightly easier to control, especially in the wet in F3. It also had excellent braking characteristics which gave it an edge on tighter circuits. Reigning Formula Atlantic champion Bill Brack was Chevron's main customer in North America, but this time Gilles Villeneuve's March 76B proved too quick. In F3, Patrese's performances in his Trivellato B34 attracted much attention in Italy and resulted in a late-season flood of orders. The Chevron B34 came out on top in both of the dramatic end-of-season battles in F3 when Patrese snatched the European title from March's Conny Andersson at Vallelunga and then four weeks later Keegan fought off March's Bruno Giacomelli at Thruxton to clinch the BP British title.
To make it simpler to track these cars, they can be regarded as a number of distinct clusters:
Formula 3 (11 cars): 76-05 to Fredy Kessler of Toyota Switzerland, 76-06 for Riccardo Patrese, 76-12 for Alessandro Binati, 76-17 for Fernando Spreafico, 76-22 for Artemio Rosich, 76-24 for Geoff Lees, 76-27 for Rudolf Dötsch, 76-28 for Marc Surer, 76-29 for Rupert Keegan, 76-30 for Marco de Tomasi and 76-31 for Riccardo Patrese.
Formula Atlantic in North America (17 cars): 76-01 for Ken Duclos, 76-07 for Bobby Brown, 76-09 to Bill Scott Racing, 76-10 to Bill Scott Racing, 76-14 for Bill Brack, 76-15 for Gilles Léger, 76-16 for Wink Bancroft, 76-18 for Rick Bell, 76-19 to Fred Opert Racing, 76-20 for Kevin Cogan, 76-21 to Fred Opert Racing, 76-23 to Fred Opert Racing, 76-25 to Fred Opert Racing, 76-26 to Bill Scott Racing, 76-32 for Marcel Talbot, 76-34 to Fred Opert Racing, and 76-35 to Fred Opert Racing.
Formula Atlantic in South Africa (3 cars): 76-02 for Tony Martin, 76-03 which also stayed in South Africa with Guy Tunmer, and 76-08 for Basil van Rooyen. All three remained in South Africa.
Others (2 cars): 76-04 to Bill Anspach for SCCA Formula C and 76-37 for Albert Poon for Southeast Asian racing.
Numbers were used up to 76-37, but 76-11 and 76-13 were not built, as per usual Chevron practice, and the other two (76-33 and 76-36) are blank in Chevron records, indicating the monocoques with those numbers were used to rebuild damaged cars.
If you can add to our understanding of these cars, or have photographs that we can use, please email Allen at email@example.com.
New to Ken Duclos (Boxboro, MA) and used in Northeast Division Formula B, entered by Kay-Dee Automotive and sponsored by Trojan Tools. He won the NEDiv Formula B title with a maximum possible score of 54 points and qualified for the Runoffs, where he qualified second and finished third. Sold to Bill Marlowe (Martinsville, VA) for SCCA Regionals in 1977. Marlow retained the Chevron for 1978, tying for second place in Southeast Division behind Bill Anspach with 31 points and qualifying for the SCCA Runoffs. He had already arranged to buy Anspach's March 77B and recalls that he sold the Chevron as a rolling chassis at the Runoffs. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Ken Duclos and Bill Marlowe. First race: Lime Rock, 24 Apr 1976. Total of 13 recorded races.
New to Tony Martin for the 1976 South African Formula Atlantic championship, entered by Team Bic/South Coast Motors. Retained by Martin for 1977 as a spare car to his new B39 and raced only once that season, as a South Coast Motors entry for Evan Boddy at Kyalami in October. Raced by Boddy during 1978, entered again by South Coast Motors Racing. Raced again by Boddy in 1979, again entered by South Coast Motors.
Driven by: Tony Martin and Evan Boddy. First race: Killarney (R1), 24 Jan 1976. Total of 19 recorded races.
A works-backed Formula Atlantic development car entered for Bill Brack in STP livery in the opening two rounds of the 1976 South African Formula Atlantic championship. Then to Guy Tunmer (Sandton) who ran it for the rest of the 1976 season, entered by Paradise Beach/National Radio. Tunmer did not continue in Formula Atlantic in 1977, and in 1978 Andrew Thompson recalls buying a Chevron B34 from the Tunmers on behalf of Rembrant. Entered by Thompson for Abel d'Oliveira for a couple of races in early 1979. Then to Peter Haller, who fitted a 3-litre Ford Essex V6 for the new Formula South Africa. After Haller died in a racing accident, the B34 was bought from his widow Hettie by Michael Rudolph, who raced it in 1986. The car is reported to have later gone to Alan Macdonald. In 2012, it was being restored by Davey Leeding in Johannesburg. He was still working on it in 2020.
Driven by: Bill Brack, Guy Tunmer, Abel d'Oliveira and Peter Haller. First race: Killarney (R1), 24 Jan 1976. Total of 13 recorded races.
New to Bill Anspach (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) in SCCA Formula C specification with a 1.1-litre Cosworth BDJ engine. Anspach finished second in the SCCA Runoffs in this car in 1976, and won the Runoffs with it in 1977. It was sold to Mort Haaz (Santa Monica, CA) for 1978 and raced in Formula C for four seasons. In 1982 Haaz converted the car to C Sports Racing using Tiga bodywork and with the BDJ engine stretched to 1270cc by Steve Jennings. Haaz raced it in 1983 as the "DRR-2". To Stan Goldstein in 1985, and raced by him in 1987 and in Solo in early 1988 before it was "transformed back to F3" configuration. It is then unknown until around 1999, when it was bought from an advert by Charlie Falcone in the Los Angeles area by Todd Gerstenberger (Gardena, CA). Gerstenberger advertised it In January 2019, when the car still had its sports car bodywork and the 1270cc Jennings BDJ engine, but now had a Bahner monocoque. Sold to Tony Garmey (Seattle, WA) in January 2022.
Driven by: Bill Anspach and Mort Haaz. First race: Palm Beach International Raceway, 22 Feb 1976. Total of 25 recorded races.
New to Fredy Kessler of Toyota Switzerland. The Swiss national championship did not have a specific class for Formula 3 but one was due to be introduced for 1977, so this car may have been bought in preparation for that. It may be the mystery car used by Walter Frey at Swiss championship rounds at Monza and Österreichring in 1976, and at Hockenheim in early 1977. This car, still bearing chassis plate 34-76-05 but now with B38 bodywork, is now in the Emil Frey Museum (Safenwil, Switzerland). Curator Simon Bundi understands that it has been owned by the Emil Frey company since it was new. Still in the museum in October 2022.
Driven by: Walter Frey. First race: Monza (R4), 23 May 1976. Only one recorded race.
New to Trivellato Racing for Riccardo Patrese to race in the 1976 European Formula 3 championship. Patrese won four of the first eight races and finished on the podium in another three. Immediately after the final European round, at Vallelunga, the car was sold by Trivellato to Giovanni Carminati. He raced it once, but it was then raced by Piercarlo Ghinzani at Magione in early November, and advertised by Ghinzani in Autosprint. Raced by Carminati in 1977 and then according to a later advertisement the car was retained by Team Ghinzani until 1979, then sold to "Prema Racing who kept it for 25 years". It then went to Marco Milanese in 2005, then to Steve Worrad in France, who raced it at Pau in 2007. Then to Francis Boodts then Pierre Lemasson, who raced it from 2009 to 2012. Next seen with Shaun Lynn in historic F3 in 2014.
Driven by: Riccardo Patrese, Piercarlo Ghinzani and Giovanni Carminati. First race: Nürburgring (R1), 4 Apr 1976. Total of 16 recorded races.
New to Bobby Brown (Hicksville, NY) and used in the Players Canadian championship and in SCCA Nationals, entered by Bob Brown Racing with crew chief Carroll Smith, and sponsored by Audiovox. In June, Brown bought a March 76B instead, and the Chevron passed to Diana Black (Kew Gardens, NY/Briarwood, NY) who raced it for the rest of the season. Retained by Black for 1977 and 1978. Advertised by Black as "ex-Bobby Brown" in September 1978. This car is reported to have been used by Harry Crispen in EMRA racing for some years, and is believed to be the car driven by Bernard Juchli, General Manager of Jay Leno's Big Dog Garage, between 2006 and 2014. Raced by Juchli at Willow Springs in March 2015.
Driven by: Bobby Brown and Diana Black. First race: Palm Beach International Raceway, 22 Feb 1976. Total of 15 recorded races.
New to Basil van Rooyen for the South African Formula Atlantic series, sponsored by Wrangler Jeans. Van Rooyen significantly modified the car during the season, with a March nose and side radiators. Retained for 1977, again with Wrangler Jeans sponsorship. Van Rooyen recalls that he sold the car to Tony Martin, and it was at some point during this time that the car was raced by Desiré Wilson in the first few races of the 1978 series. It was raced by Tony Martin at some races in 1979 as an alternative to his unsatisfactory B45, but Bernard Tilanus recalls that "the tub was damaged when Tony fell asleep and went off the road writing the trailer and car off". Tilanus explained that Martin bought a replacement tub from Chevron and built a standard B34. This car "was sold to Rolly Nofke, then to Keith Horwood". Tilanus then bought the car and sold it to Mike Fergusson, but the restoration was still incomplete when Fergusson died. It was then bought by Colin Frost, who took it to Andrew Thompson to complete the restoration. Driven by Neil Lobb at Kyalami in 2014. In Frost's collection at Duimpies in Kyalami in August 2019.
Driven by: Basil van Rooyen, Desiré Wilson and Tony Martin. First race: Goldfields Raceway (Welkom) (R2), 14 Feb 1976. Total of 22 recorded races.
New to Bill Scott Racing, intended to be raced by Howdy Holmes in the IMSA and Players (Canadian) Formula Atlantic series in 1976. Holmes raced the car at Road Atlanta in April but it was "burnt to the ground while testing" before the second race at Laguna Seca. A new car, chassis 76-26, was built for Holmes to drive for the rest of the season, but 76-09 was evidently rebuilt at some point and was sold to Patrick Garmyn (Archbold, OH) for Formula B in 1977. Garmyn retained the car for 1978 but only raced it three times in 1978 as he "lost the engine and did not have the funds to replace it". He sold it to Kit Henry, younger brother of Paul Henry, who converted it to Formula C specification and raced it in SCCA Formula Continental in 1979. The Henrys retained the car until 2006, when they advertised their three Chevrons, with this FC car advertised as "Chassis #9". All three cars were acquired by David Gathercole in 2008 and returned to England. The ex-Garmyn car was restored in bright orange bodywork and raced by Clive Wood and Andy Huxtable in 2008, then driven by Paul Allen at Monza in 2009. It was then sold to Phil Gladman who raced it as a B34 in HSCC events in 2011, and then as a "B34D" in 2012 and 2013 when it was fitted with a Gathercole BDG engine. It was bought from Gathercole by Andrew Storer in 2018, and raced by him for the first time in HSCC Aurora Trophy races in 2021, now as a B34 but still in the Formula 2 class. Retained by Storer for 2022.
Driven by: Howdy Holmes and Patrick Garmyn. First race: Road Atlanta (R1), 11 Apr 1976. Total of 3 recorded races.
New to Bill Scott Racing and raced by Johnny Gerber in the IMSA and Players (Canadian) Formula Atlantic series. Gerber's car was white with red/green trim, representing Mexico, and was sponsored by Batab. After six races, he crashed his car at Gimli in June and was then said to be out of budget. Bill Scott himself drove it at Mont-Tremblant in July, and it was raced by John Barringer and Elliot Forbes-Robinson later in the season. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Johnny Gerber, Bill Scott, John Barringer and Elliot Forbes-Robinson. First race: Road Atlanta (R1), 11 Apr 1976. Total of 10 recorded races.
New to Trivellato for Alessandro Binati and raced in the first four rounds of the Italian Formula 3 championship., Subsequent history unknown. The car remained in Italy and was acquired in 2019 from Autoclassic Italy (Turin) by Paolo Galiotto. Still in Paolo Galiotto's collection in October 2022.
Driven by: Alessandro Binati. First race: Mugello (R1), 3 Apr 1976. Total of 4 recorded races.
New to Bill Brack (Clarkson/Toronto, Ontario) and used in North American Formula Atlantic, entered by Bill Brack Racing and sponsored by STP. Brack crashed heavily in the second practice session at Laguna Seca and "wrote off" the car, but was back up and running at Ontario Motor Speedway just a week later. He drove the B34 for the rest of the 1976 season. Brack moved to Doug Shierson Racing for 1977 to drive a March 77B, and the subsequent history of the Chevron B34 is unknown.
Driven by: Bill Brack. First race: Road Atlanta (R1), 11 Apr 1976. Total of 8 recorded races.
New to Gilles Léger (Lachute, Quebec) and raced in Canadian Formula Atlantic races in 1976. Unknown in 1977. Reappeared in 1978, raced by Jeff Smith (Vancouver, British Columbia) in the Labatts Formula Atlantic championship. To Gordon Munroe (Victoria, BC) for 1979, and raced in ICSCC events. Retained by Munroe for 1980 and 1981. Rex Thompson recalled in correspondence with Vince Howlett in 2008 that the Chevron went to "to a very nice guy in Nanaimo [BC]" who fitted a Mazda rotary engine. When he retired, he sold it to someone in Langley who crashed it heavily at Westwood. Thompson believed the tub was beyond repair. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Gilles Léger, Jeff Smith and Gordon Munroe. First race: Mont-Tremblant (R4), 11 Jul 1976. Total of 22 recorded races.
New to Hugh "Wink" Bancroft (Newport Beach, CA/Costa Mesa, CA) and run for him by Fred Opert Racing in North American Formula Atlantic in 1976. His car was entered by Performance Marketing, the tyres, parts and repair services company Bancroft had founded five years earlier. It appears that he moved from Opert to Shierson Racing in time for the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières in early September. Bancroft crashed the B34 in practice at Trois-Rivières, and it was reported to have been written off. The Chevron was replaced with a March 76B, but it is quite possible that the car returned to Opert and was repaired.
Driven by: Hugh "Wink" Bancroft. First race: Road Atlanta (R1), 11 Apr 1976. Total of 10 recorded races.
New to Trivellato Racing for customer Fernando Spreafico and raced in European and Italian F3 in 1976. Spreafico had a Chevron B38 for 1977, but he may have retained his B34 into 1978. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Fernando Spreafico. First race: Magione (R3), 6 Jun 1976. Total of 12 recorded races.
To Rick Bell (Lakeville, CT) and used in Northeast Division Formula B, entered by Bell Racing. Also raced in two Pro races in Canada in July and August. Retained for 1977 again for NEDiv FB, but also taking in two Pro races at Trois-Rivières and Québec City. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Rick Bell. First race: Bridgehampton, 16 May 1976. Total of 17 recorded races.
Tom Bagley (Centre Hall, PA) raced a yellow-and-blue Chevron B34 run by Fred Opert Racing in three IMSA Formula Atlantic races in early 1976, with Kent Oil sponsorship. This car was then raced by Juan Cochesa (Venezuela) in the Players Formula Atlantic series, starting at Edmonton on 16 May. Chris Waddell's report from Edmonton for Autosport described Cochesa's car as "an Opert B34 driven earlier in the year by Tom Bagley". Cochesa then moved to a new car, and the ex-Bagley car was sold to RJ Nelkin (Roslyn, NY/Woodbury, NY), who first raced it in an SCCA National at Summit Point in late June. He then raced it in Pro and SCCA races for the rest of 1976. Nelkin recalls that the car was then returned to Opert to be used as a spare car for Keke Rosberg and Mikko Kozarowitzky to use in the New Zealand Formula Pacific series in January 1977. After the 1977 New Zealand series, the car was sold to Norman Lankshear (Feilding, New Zealand) and raced in the Gold Star series in 1977/78 and 1978/79, and the International series in early 1978 and early 1979. It was then sold to Bryan Hartley (Palmerston) and raced by him in the 1981/82 season. The car was then sold to John Wigston (Auckland), fitted with a Ford crossflow engine and used in hillclimbs in New Zealand in the late 1980s. Wigston was reported to still have the car in October 2016.
Driven by: Tom Bagley, Juan Cochesa, Robert J. Nelkin, Keke Rosberg, Norm Lankshear and Bryan Hartley. First race: Road Atlanta (R1), 11 Apr 1976. Total of 43 recorded races.
New to Bill Brack Racing and raced by Kevin Cogan in the IMSA and Players (Canadian) Formula Atlantic series in 1976. Unknown in 1977 and 1978. By late 1978, it was in the hands of Del Schloemer (Philippines) and raced by him and by Cherie Schloemer in Southeast Asia in 1979. Then unknown in 1980, but raced by Amir Mokhtar at the Shah Alam Grand Prix in 1981. Subsequent history unknown. In 2011, this car was photographed in dreadful condition in a locked compound next to a Malaysian petrol station.
Driven by: Kevin Cogan, Del Schloemmer, Cherie Schloemmer and Amir Mokhtar. First race: Laguna Seca (R2), 2 May 1976. Total of 9 recorded races.
New to Fred Opert Racing for Jim Crawley in the IMSA Formula Atlantic series, appearing at Road Atlanta in April and Laguna Seca in May. He then missed the Ontario Motor Speedway as the car was reported to have been "destroyed" in a testing crash at Willow Springs. It was evidently rebuilt in time to be rented by Ric Forest at Edmonton in May. Crawley raced it again at Westwood, when it was pale blue and entered by Opert as #52. This is presumably the car then entered for Lloyd Callaway (Chicago, IL) to drive at Mont-Tremblant, Halifax and Mosport Park in July and August 1976, as his car was also pale blue and entered by Opert as #52. Like RJ Nelkin's similarly semi-private car, it evidently returned to Fred Opert Racing after these three races. It may then have been one of the cars hired from Opert for the SCCA Runoffs by Bill Anspach and Bill Kneeland. It is then thought to be the car used by Eddie Marcello at the Philippines GP in December. In January 1977, Opert took a team out to the New Zealand Formula Pacific series, and chassis 76-21 was identified as the car raced there by Keke Rosberg, winning three of the five races and taking four pole positions. It was then sold to Pocolo Ramirez (Philippines) and raced by him in southeast Asian races from 1977 to 1982. It is believed to have been imported into New Zealand from Asia by Graham Simms. It was then sold to Ken Smith and then Andy Higgins in New Zealand, then acquired by David Gathercole in 2009. He fully rebuilt it to Formula Atlantic specification by June 2011 for Rod Stead, who raced it at HSCC Donington Park in May 2012. Bought from Stead in November 2012 by Andy Huxtable. Raced by Huxtable in HSCC Derek Bell Trophy races in 2013. Raced by Huxtable in HSCC events in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Still with Huxtable in October 2022.
Driven by: James Crawley, Ric Forest, Lloyd Callaway, Keke Rosberg and José "Pocholo" Ramirez. First race: Road Atlanta (R1), 11 Apr 1976. Total of 28 recorded races.
New to Trivellato Racing for customer Artemio Rosich and fitted with a Repetto Lancia twin cam engine for European and Italian F3 in 1976. Rosich bought a March 773 for 1977, and the subsequent history of the Chevron B34 is unknown. Advertised by Luigi Moreschi Motorsport in October 2022.
Driven by: Artemio Rosich. First race: Enna-Pergusa (R5), 13 Jun 1976. Total of 4 recorded races.
Invoiced to Fred Opert Racing and believed to be the pale blue #5 Chevron B34 raced by Opert's customer Gordon Smiley in the first three races of the Canadian series, at Edmonton, Westwood and Gimli. It is then likely to be the pale blue car raced by Opert's F2 customer Juan Cochesa in the Canadian series races at Mont-Tremblant, Halifax and Mosport Park, and then at Trois-Rivières and Road Atlanta. As 76-19, 76-21 and 76-25 were all taken out by Opert to New Zealand and sold, this is the most likely candidate to be the spare B34 used by Opert's team in 1977.
Driven by: Gordon Smiley and Juan Cochesa. First race: Edmonton (R1), 16 May 1976. Total of 8 recorded races.
New to Geoff Lees to drive in the British F3 series, entered by Rob Roy Racing with D.J. Bond, but running with works assistance. A former triple champion in Formula Ford, Lees had a series of very good results in the Chevron, running immediately behind the championship battle between Bruno Giacomelli and Rupert Keegan. He took his first win at Silverstone in September, leading every lap. He followed that with two second places, and then won the season finale at Thruxton at the end of October after Keegan collided with Giacomelli at the start. The car was then used as a test car for prospective Chevron customers. At some point in this process, the car was rebuilt on a new monocoque and effectively divides, with the original tub used by factory fabricator John Lewis to build one car, and the retubbed car going to KWS for Jean-Louis Schlesser.
Driven by: Geoff Lees. First race: Silverstone (R3), 20 Jun 1976. Total of 12 recorded races.
A car built by John Lewis at the Chevron factory using a monocoque that had been in Geoff Lees' Chevron B34 (76-24) until it received a new monocoque near the end of the season. Lewis fitted a Richardson BDA engine and used the car in libre racing in 1977. Sold for 1978 to Richard Parsons (Belfast, Northern Ireland) and used in the Irish Formula Atlantic series in 1978. Retained for 1979, but Parsons missed a good part of the season due to eye problems. He retained the car again for 1979, when he competed in hillclimbs as well as in the Irish Formula Atlantic series. Parsons was still using the car in Irish hillclimbs in 1983. It was advertised by Parsons in January 1985 and sold to George Ritchie who used it in hillclimbs in Scotland and Ireland in 1989, with a 2-litre BDA engine, and in 1990, with a Swindon Hart 420R. After the 1990 season, Ritchie bought Roy Lane's Pilbeam MP58 and fitted the Swindon Hart 420R tot it. The Chevron went to Lane in trade, and he sold it to Bob Wilson as a complete roller with gearbox less engine. Wilson intended to race the car but a business venture required a change of plans and the car remained with him unraced, thereafter. Still with Wilson in Cheshire in December 2022.
Driven by: John Lewis, Richard Parsons and George Ritchie. First race: Aintree, 10 Sep 1977. Total of 37 recorded races.
Geoff Lees' Chevron B34 was rebuilt with a new monocoque near the end of the 1976 season, but as the earlier monocoque was rebuilt and reused, the car effectively divided. The car built on the new monocoque was sold to Jean-Louis Schlesser and run for him by KWS Freizeit Racing Team in European F3 in 1977. By mid-season, it had been updated with B38 bodywork.
Driven by: Jean-Louis Schlesser. First race: Paul Ricard (R1), 20 Mar 1977. Total of 7 recorded races.
Invoiced to Fred Opert Racing and believed to be the "brand new" pale blue #75 Chevron B34 raced by Opert's customer Gordon Smiley at Mosport Park in late August 1976. Then raced by Patrick Tambay at Trois-Rivières two weeks later, and by Elliot Forbes-Robinson in the IMSA race at Laguna Seca in early October. It was one of three B34s taken to New Zealand for the Formula Pacific series in January 1977, and was Mikko Kozarowitzky's regular car. After the series, it was sold to Narcisco de la Merced and raced by him in Southeast Asian races from 1977 to 1982. Then to Luis Camus for 1983. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Gordon Smiley, Patrick Tambay, Elliot Forbes-Robinson, Mikko Kozarowitzky and Narcisco de la Merced. First race: Mosport Park (R6), 22 Aug 1976. Total of 20 recorded races.
New to Bill Scott Racing for Howdy Holmes, replacing 76-09 burnt out at Laguna Seca. Sponsored by Jiffy Mixes. Raced by Holmes for most of the season, but by Tom Pumpelly in the final IMSA round at Road Atlanta. Crashed here and said to have been "destroyed" but likely to have been rebuilt. This is presumably the "ex-Howdy Holmes" Chevron B34 raced by Jim Lyles (Columbia, MD/Palm Beach, FL) in SCCA Regionals and Nationals from 1977 onwards. In late 1983 it was damaged in a racing accident and sold unrepaired to Dennis Austin in late 1983/early 1984. He rebuilt it and used it in the ECAR series in 1985 and 1986. Sold to Ron Parks (Florida) in 1987. Then unknown until raced by Jim Gowens at Silverstone in 2005. Last raced by Gowens at the HSCC Superprix in 2009, but still owned by him in February 2023.
Driven by: Howdy Holmes, Tom Pumpelly, James Lyles and Dennis Austin. First race: Edmonton (R1), 16 May 1976. Total of 14 recorded races.
New to KWS Autotechnik Team and run in German F3 for Rudolf Dötsch with Novamotor Toyota engine in 1976, replacing the team's March 763s and being delivered in time for the Hockenheim round of the German championship in early July . Retained for 1977, updated to B38 specification and run in European F3 races for Jochen Dauer. Then unknown until it appeared in Australia with Brian Mallarkye in 1987. To Peter Boel in 1996, then to Tony Simmons in 2000, and raced in Australian historic events. After Tony Simmons bought Peter Mohr's Formula Atlantic Chevron B34 at the end of 2008, the Formula 3 B34 was sold to the UK.
Driven by: Rudolf Dötsch and Jochen Dauer. First race: Hockenheim, 4 Jul 1976. Total of 6 recorded races.
New to KWS Autotechnik Team and run in German and European F3 for Marc Surer with BMW engines in 1976, replacing the team's March 763s and being delivered in time for the Hockenheim round of the German championship in early July. Retained for 1977, updated to B38 specification and run in European F3 races for Rudolf Dötsch and others. Also appeared in 1978 as a KWS entry for Werner Fischer. A car in Marc Surer's livery was seen on display at Autoworld Belgian Racing in 2013.
Driven by: Marc Surer, Rudolf Dötsch, Jörg Reto and Werner Fischer. First race: Hockenheim, 4 Jul 1976. Total of 11 recorded races.
New to Rupert Keegan in July 1976 and raced in the British F3 series with British Air Ferries sponsorship, winning three races and clinching the BP BARC title for Keegan. To David Brotherston (Edinburgh, Scotland) for 1978, and raced in the British F3 series. Brotherston continued to use the car in 1979 and 1980, again in British F3, after which he sold the car to Bob Howlings. It was next seen in 1987 when it was used in TF3 by Alistair Ferguson. Then unknown again until owned by Hugh and Jonathan Price in 2007. Sold to Bruce Bartell in 2009, and raced in HSCC events. Raced by his son Maxim Bartell in Classic F3 from 2014 to 2017. Raced by Louis Hanjoul in 2019.
Driven by: Rupert Keegan and David Brotherston. First race: Brands Hatch (R8), 17 Jul 1976. Total of 24 recorded races.
New to Trivellato Racing for customer Marco de Tomasi and raced in Italian F3 in 1976. De Tomasi did not continue in F3 in 1977 and the subsequent history of the Chevron B34 is unknown.
Driven by: Marco de Tomasi. First race: Monza (R6), 27 Jun 1976. Total of 5 recorded races.
New to Trivellato Racing for Riccardo Patrese to race in the final round of the Italian F3 championship in 1976, his European championship-winning car having been sold off at Valleleunga. Patrese won at Magione in this car to clinch the Italian title as well. It is believed to be the car raced by Marco Rocca in 1977. It was bought from Trivellato by Pietro Brigato's Old Cars Srl (Vicenza, Italy), and retained until November 2011, when it was sold to Tommaso Gelmini's GPS Classic srl (Soragna). Sold by Gelmini in early 2014 to Federico Ferioli, and raced by him in the 2014 Monaco Historics. Still with Ferioli in October 2022.
Driven by: Riccardo Patrese and Marco Rocca. First race: Magione (R11), 1 Nov 1976. Total of 2 recorded races.
New to Marcel Talbot (Granby, Quebec) and raced in Canadian Formula Atlantic races in 1976, entered by Tamaco Industries, replacing the Chevron B29 that he had used for the first part of the season. The B34 was prepared by Colin Hine and helped Talbot secure the series rookie of the year award. Talbot bought a new March 77B for 1977 and Colin Hine recalls that the B34 "was sold to someone in Florida". Subsequent history unknown but in 2005 and 2006, this car was raced by Amanda Whitaker in the Formula Atlantic class of the HSCC Derek Bell Trophy and Euro F2 series. At some point around 2008 it was acquired from Oskar Christen (Bättwil, Switzerland) by Hans Peter (Nebikon, Switzerland). Still with Hans Peter in 2022.
Driven by: Marcel Talbot. First race: Halifax (R5), 8 Aug 1976. Total of 4 recorded races.
New to Fred Opert Racing and believed to be the car raced by Alan Jones at Trois-Rivières in early September. To Butch Owsley (Aptos, CA/San Jose, CA) and raced in the IMSA race at Laguna Seca in early October. Retained by Owsley for SCCA Nationals and Regionals in 1977. Then raced by Bob Earl (Novato, CA) at a couple of late-season SCCA Regionals. The car was bought by actor James Brolin and run for Earl to drive by Ron Tourte's Tourté Racing in 1978, then Earl raced it in Pro events and SCCA Nationals. Earl did not get the results he expected, and also raced Doug Dreager's March 76B in one race, and ended the season in one of Fred Opert's newer Chevron B39s. The B34 went to Mike Buckenham (Stockton, CA) for 1979 and he raced it in SCCA Nationals until 1982 at least. The car was then taken by Joe Ordoqui (Boeing, CA) in partial payment for his March 80A. Ordoqui recalls that the Chevron sat in his garage for a couple of years but he is not sure where it went. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Alan Jones, Butch Owsley, Bob Earl and Mike Buckenham. First race: Trois-Rivières, 5 Sep 1976. Total of 17 recorded races.
New to Fred Opert Racing and believed to be the car raced by José Dolhem at Trois-Rivières in early September. Then to Paul Henry (Clyde, OH), and believed to be the car he drove in Formula Atlantic specification at Indianapolis Raceway Park two weeks later. Converted to Formula C specification with a Cosworth BDJ engine and raced by Henry at the SCCA Runoffs in October. Retained by Henry for 1977 and used in SCCA Nationals in Formula Atlantic spec. In 1978, Henry ran 76-35 in SCCA Formula A specification, still with the same engine but adding 100 lbs of weight, and won a Regional F5000 series based at Nelson Ledges. Henry retained the car until 2006, when he advertised his three Chevrons. All three cars were acquired by David Gathercole in 2008 and returned to England. Sold to Ken Thorogood, and raced by John Finch in HSCC events in 2013 and 2014. Crashed by Finch at Donington Park in 2015, and rebuilt by Thorogood over the next four years, reappearing when raced by Clive Wood at the Oulton Park Gold Cup in September 2019. Raced by Wood at HSCC Donington Park in April 2021.
Driven by: José Dolhem and Paul Henry. First race: Trois-Rivières, 5 Sep 1976. Total of 12 recorded races.
New to Albert Poon (Hong Kong), who referred to it as a 1977-series B35. It started out with a Cosworth BDM engine for Southeast Asian racing, and was then fitted with a Cosworth BDA for the Macau GP, which was held to Formula Atlantic rules, and the New Zealand Formula Pacific series in January 1977, before returning to the fuel-injected BDM for racing in Malaysia later in 1977. To Chong Kim Fah and Team Rothmans for 1978, but it is unclear whether Chong actually raced it that season. It is then presumably the "B39" that Chong raced in Formula Pacific in 1979. According to later owners, it then moved to Western Australia and was owned by Peter Nicol in 1979, Peter Morris in 1980, Jim Runciman in 1983. Then to Richard Fearon (Victoria) in 1994, Noel Robson (Victoria) at the end of 1998, and Peter Mohr (Queensland) in 2005. Sold by Mohr to Tony Simmons in November 2008, and raced by him through 2009 and in 2010. Next seen with Martin Bullock (WA) and raced by him at Sydney Motor Sport Park in November 2014, and at Barbagallo in 2016. Then taken to the UK by Bullock and raced at Brands Hatch in May 2019. Raced by Bullock at Sywell in September 2021.
Driven by: Albert Poon and Chong Kim Fah. First race: Jakarta-Ancol Jaya (R4), 24 Oct 1976. Total of 10 recorded races.
Chevron B34s in Formula 3
The first Formula 3 specification Chevron B34 was 76-06, built for the Trivellato team, and raced in European F3 by Riccardo Patrese. Also out early was Alessandro Binati (chassis 76-12), but he disappeared after Casale in June. Italian customers continued with Fernando Spreafico (76-17) appearing at Magione in June, then Artemio Rosich (76-22) with his Lancia-powered car at Enna a week later, and Marco de Tomasi (76-30) at Monza on 27 June. Walter Frey is believed to have driven Toyota Switzerland's car (76-05) in Swiss events, starting in late May. British representation finally began with Geoff Lees (76-24) at Silverstone on 20 June, then Rudolf Dötsch (76-27) and Marc Surer (76-28) raced a pair of new KWS B34s at Hockenheim on 4 July, and Rupert Keegan (76-29) made his Chevron F3 debut in the Grand Prix support race at Brands Hatch on 17 July. Patrese had a new car (76-31) at Magione on 1 November, bringing the total of F3 cars to eleven.
Chevron B34s in Formula Atlantic
Fred Opert again sold a large number of Chevron B34s for North American Formula Atlantic. Bill Scott Racing ran 76-09 for Howdy Holmes but he wrecked it at Laguna Seca in May, and it was replaced with 76-26. Scott also had 76-10, used by a number of drivers. Privateers included Bobby Brown (76-07), Bill Brack (76-14), Rick Bell (76-18) who only raced in a couple of Pro events, and Kevin Cogan (76-20). Canadians Gilles Léger (76-15) and Marcel Talbot (76-32) only appeared at a handful of races. Also in B34s in North America were Ken Duclos (76-01), who bought the early season sales car for use in SCCA FB, and Bill Anspach (76-04), who had a car built for Formula C. Opert's own team used another seven cars (76-16, 76-19, 76-21, 76-23, 76-25, 76-34 and 76-35) during the season, and is explored in more detail below.
Several cars went to South Africa for the new Formula Atlantic series: 76-02 to Tony Martin, 76-03 as a works demonstrator driven by Bill Brack which was then sold to Guy Tunmer, and 76-08 to Basil van Rooyen. Also, 76-34 in Formula Atlantic specification went to Asia for Albert Poon.
In November 1976, Chevron Cars loaned Jim Crawford what was described as a development B34 chassis, which was fitted with Crawford's own "rather tired two-year-old Hart Atlantic engine". Crawford's career had stalled in 1976, after his Lotus F1 testing contract expired at the end of 1975 and his plans for a F2 Chevron drive in 1976 had come to nothing. He raced the "B34D" in the ShellSPORT race at Brands Hatch in November 1976, after which it was not seen again.
Driven by: Jim Crawford. First race: Brands Hatch (UK R13), 7 Nov 1976. Only one recorded race.
Fred Opert Racing in 1976
It is possible to determine the first owners of all the B34s, but the problem is then knowing how the Fred Opert Racing cars were used. In total, Fred Opert Racing received seven cars: 76-16, 76-19, 76-21, 76-23, 76-25, 76-34 and 76-35. The team started the IMSA season at Road Atlanta in April with three drivers: Wink Bancroft (76-16, in yellow Performance Marketing livery), Tom Bagley (76-19, in yellow-and-blue Kent Oil livery) and Jim Crawley (76-21, in blue), and the same drivers appeared at the second and third rounds at Laguna Seca and Ontario. Then came the first round of the Players Canadian series at Edmonton on 16 May, where the Opert team had four cars and two new drivers, Gordon Smiley and Juan Cochesa, who was also driving for Opert in F2, plus Bancroft as usual and Ric Forest who had hired the Crawley car (76-21) from the team for this race. As Bagley was gone, never to return, it is likely that Smiley or Cochesa was in his old car (76-19?), so if the cars were delivered in chassis number order, we would expect the other new driver to be in 76-23. Crawley returned to the pale blue 76-21 at Westwood, Bancroft was in 76-16 as usual, and Smiley and Cochesa were also present. Photographs from Westwood show that Cochesa's car was in Bagley's yellow-and-blue livery (76-19?), and Smiley's was pale blue with "the Bay" signwriting, suggesting it was 76-23. At Gimli, the team was Cochesa (76-19?), Smiley (76-23?) and Bancroft (76-16) with Crawley absent, leaving 76-21 unused. At Mont-Tremblant in July, Cochesa and Bancroft retained their drives, but Smiley was absent, leaving 76-21 and 76-23 available. Also at this race were two new B34 drivers, Lloyd Callaway and RJ Nelkin. Callaway was entered by Callaway Racing but as #52, which indicates he was driving 76-21, an association reinforced by him being entered by Opert at Mosport two races later and photographs showing his car was pale blue. That would suggest Nelkin was in 76-23, but Nelkin believed his car was ex-Bagley, so if he's right, that would suggest Nelkin had acquired the yellow ex-Kent Oil/Bagley/Cochesa 76-19 and Cochesa had swapped either to the newer pale blue 76-23 or maybe to the completely new 76-25. Photographs of Cochesa's car at Mosport Park in August confirms it was pale blue, not yellow, so he had changed car, and photographs of Nelkin's car in a SCCA National at Lime Rock confirmed that it was the ex-Bagley/ex-Cochesa car (76-19).
The next stop on the North American calendar was Halifax on 8 August, where Opert had entered Bancroft (76-16) and Cochesa (76-23 or 76-25), with Callaway (76-21) and Nelkin (76-19) entered under their own names. At Mosport two weeks later Callaway (76-21) and Nelkin (76-19) were again entered under their own names, but Opert was back up to three drivers, as Bancroft (76-16) and Cochesa (76-23 or 76-25) were joined again by Smiley in an extra pale blue B34. As there were now five Opert B34s, that means 76-25 must have joined the Opert team at this race or earlier. Both Cochesa's and Smiley's cars were a plain pale blue with no signs of additional sponsorship. Cochesa's was numbered #71 and Smiley's car was numbered #75 instead of the #5 he had used earlier in the season - a number initially taken over by Cochesa. There are two likely scenarios here: either Smiley was back in 76-23 that he had raced earlier in the season meaning that Cochesa must have been in 76-25 since Mont-Tremblant; or that Cochesa was indeed in Smiley's old car 76-23 and Smiley was given a new car 76-25. Chris Waddell's report for Autosport described Smiley's car as "new", so the second hypothesis fits better.
Only Bancroft and Nelkin attended the IMSA race at Mid-Ohio. At Trois-Rivières, Bancroft crashed his B34 (76-16) in practice, Cochesa (76-23?) was entered by Opert, together with Alan Jones, Patrick Tambay and José Dolhem who were all in pale blue cars with Gitanes sponsorship, as well as Nelkin (76-19) entered under his own name and now repainted green. Callaway had gone after three races in his pale blue ex-Crawley car (76-21) and Smiley was also absent (76-25?), so Tambay would have had one of those two cars, later events indicating he had 76-25. Jones' and Dolhem's B34s were said to be new so were probably 76-34 and 76-35.
The IMSA season then resumed with a race at Road Atlanta on 19 September. Nelkin still had his private B34 (76-19) and Cochesa had a Fred Opert Racing entry (76-23?). Also present was Bill Anspach, who had been racing his regular FC car in SCCA Nationals but was here in a Formula Atlantic car, presumably an Opert entry, so logically either 76-21 (ex-Callaway) or 76-25 (ex-Smiley/Tambay). The final IMSA race was at Laguna Seca on 3 October, where the only Opert entry was Elliot Forbes-Robinson. As he was entered as #7, this is likely to be 76-25, Tambay's #7 Opert entry at Trois-Rivières. The same weekend, Nelkin raced his B34 (76-19) in a SCCA National at Lime Rock.
Four weeks later at the SCCA Runoffs, regular Opert customers Anspach and Bill Kneeland both drove Chevron B34s in the Formula B class. These could have been 76-21 (ex-Callaway), 76-23 (ex-Cochesa) or 76-25 (ex-Smiley/Tambay) or could even be the green 76-19 that was returned to Opert by Nelkin. Anspach had run his car in Florida the day after Trois-Rivières, which eliminates any of the cars that had run in Canada as an overnight haul would have been impossible, and suggests he had hired 76-21. Photographs might tell us more about these two cars.
Nelkin recalls that when his car went back to Opert it was one of three cars taken out to New Zealand by Opert for Keke Rosberg and Mikko Kozarowitzky to drive. The chassis numbers of those three cars were observed by Motor Action editor David McKinney, who reported that chassis 76-19 had previously been raced by Nelkin and Cochesa, chassis 76-21 by Crawley, and chassis 76-25 by Tambay. All three were then sold in New Zealand or Southeast Asia after the series, and as 76-34 and 76-35 had been sold soon after the Trois-Rivières race, this left Opert with only 76-23.
Chevron B34s in 1977
Of the F3 cars, it is likely that Fredy Kessler's 76-05 was the car raced by Heinz Loosli in Swiss events in 1977; 76-06 went to Giovanni Carminati, Fernando Spreafico retained 76-17, Geoff Lees' 76-24 had effectively divided, spawning cars for John Lewis in Britain and Jean-Louis Schlesser in France; 76-27 and 76-28 were retained by KWS for Jochen Dauer and Rudolf Dötsch to drive, Rupert Keegan's 76-29 went to David Brotherston, and 76-31 went to Marco Rocca. That leaves Alessandro Binati's 76-12, Artemio Rosich's 76-22 and Marco de Tomasi's 76-30 that cannot be tracked into 1977. These can probably be explained by the cars of Lauro Campana, Giacomo Fadini, and Paolo Squillace in 1977.
Of the North American Formula Atlantic cars, Ken Duclos's 76-01 went to Bill Marlowe; Diana Black retained her ex-Bobby Brown 76-07, 76-09 had been destroyed, Gilles Léger's 76-15 goes missing for a season but turns up again in British Columbia in 1979, Wink Bancroft's 76-16 was wrecked, Rick Bell retained 76-18, Opert's 76-19 was sold to Norman Lankshear in New Zealand, Opert's 76-21 was sold to Pocolo Ramirez in the Phillipines, Opert's 76-25 was sold to Eddie Marcello in the Philippines, Bill Scott Racing 76-26 went to Jim Lyles, Butch Owsley retained his ex-Opert 76-34, and Paul Henry retained his ex-Opert 76-35. That leaves Bill Scott Racing's hire car 76-10, Bill Brack's 76-14, Kevin Cogan's 76-20, Fred Opert's 76-23, and Marcel Talbot's 76-32 that cannot be tracked into 1977.
The only car from 1977 that cannot be identified is the car raced by Keke Rosberg for Fred Opert Racing at a number of races in 1977 in preference to his new Chevron B39. The most likely car would be Opert's one remaining B34, chassis 76-23.
Keke Rosberg joined Fred Opert Racing for the 1977 season to race both a Chevron B40 in Formula 2 in Europe and a B39 in Formula Atlantic in North America. Photographs show that Rosberg used an older Chevron B34 at the opening three rounds, at Mosport Park, Gimli and Edmonton, before moving to a Chevron B39 for the next four races. Rosberg returned to the B34 for the final race at Quebec in September, when it had been updated with a B39 nose. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Keke Rosberg. First race: Mosport Park (R1), 22 May 1977. Total of 4 recorded races.
Chevron B34s from 1978 onwards
By 1978, it gets very difficult to track the Formula 3 B34s but the other cars are more straightforward.
Of the B34s originally sold to North America for Formula Atlantic: Bill Marlowe retained 76-01 for 1978, Diana Black retained 76-07, 76-09 had been destroyed, Gilles Léger's 76-15 was with Jeff Smith in Canada, Wink Bancroft's 76-16 had been wrecked, Norman Lankshear in New Zealand retained 76-19, Pocolo Ramirez in the Philippines retained 76-21, Narcisco de la Merced also in the Philippines retained 76-25, Jim Lyles retained 76-26, Bob Earl retained 76-34, and Paul Henry retained 76-35. Only Rick Bell's 76-18 in Lakeville, CT joined the list of the missing which already included Bill Scott Racing's 76-10, Bill Brack's 76-14, Kevin Cogan's 76-20, Fred Opert's 76-23, and Marcel Talbot's 76-32 that had not been tracked into 1977. The only new B34 to be identified was Dick Sills' car in Cumberland, MD.
The three South African Formula Atlantic cars were still in South Africa, Bill Anspach's Formula C 76-04 had gone to Mort Haaz in California, and Albert Poon's 76-37 had gone to Chong Kim Fah.
A car built by David Oxton using a spare monocoque acquired from the Opert team. Raced by Oxton in the New Zealand Formula Pacific series in January 1978, then in the 1977/78 Gold Star, and also in the January 1979 and January 1980 Internationals. Next seen in 1984 Internationals, when it was raced by Charlie Thomasen, and then in several more seasons by Heather Spurle. It is reported that this car then went via Kenny Smith to John Wigston for his daughter Joanna to race.
Driven by: David Oxton, Charlie Thomasen and Heather Spurle. First race: Baypark Raceway (R1), 2 Jan 1978. Total of 25 recorded races.
Dick Sills (Cumberland, MD) won a Washington Region MARRS (Mid-Atlantic Road Racing Series) race at Summit Point in April 1978 in an unidentified Chevron. He later advertised this car in August 1979 as a B34 with a broken chassis.
Driven by: Dick Sills. First race: Summit Point, 23 Apr 1978. Only one recorded race.
Harry Greenwood raced a blue and yellow Chevron B34 in west coast SCCA Regional events between 1979 and 1982. Greenwood was from New Jersey, but took a job with Lloyds Bank in California in 1979 and the Chevron was part-sponsored by his new employer. Nothing more known.
Driven by: Harry Greenwood. First race: Riverside, 27 Jan 1980. Only one recorded race.
Dick Marconi and John Marconi drove an Excita-liveried Chevron B34 in historic racing in the 1990s, appearing regularly at the Chicago Historic Races at Road America. In 1994, the Marconis donated the car, together with 100 other cars in their collection, to the Marconi Automotive Museum & Foundation for Kids. Since then, the Chevron has been preserved in the museum. The car is intriguing as it has a B39 nose, but B34 cockpit bodywork and engine cover. It also has two naca ducts either side of the front of the cockpit, and in combination these features exactly match the B34 that Keke Rosberg drove for Fred Opert at the last race of the 1977 season. It was on display in the museum in October 2021.
In addition to the above, unknown Chevron B34s were driven by Bill Anspach, William Kneeland, Heinz Loosli, Antonio Padrone, Giacomo Fadini, Massimo Valentini, Gianluca Messini, John Mortensen, Gilbert Ansermoz and Jean-Pierre Morel.
My thanks to Chris Townsend for his ground-breaking work on these cars, to Tim Colman for information from Chevron records, and to David McKinney, Michael Ferner, Steve Wilkinson, Dan Rear, Bryan Miller, Ian Hebblethwaite, James Murray, Andrew Fellowes, Vince Howlett, Simon Hadfield, Bruce Balchin and Jan den Blanken for their help putting these histories together. Thanks also to all the owners, former owners, preparers and mechanics who have helped: Bobby Brown, Colin Hine, Bill Anspach, Paul Henry, RJ Nelkin, Dave Brotherston, Bill Marlowe, Rex Thompson, Geoff Frizell, Tony Garmey, Stuart Thompson, Joe Ordoqui, Lorraine Gathercole, Michael Rudolph, Matt Dagostino, Bob Hendrickson, Samuel Bombieri, Federico Ferioli, Andy Huxtable and the Emil Frey Museum's curator and archivist Simon Bundi.
Autosport gave North American Formula Atlantic a lot of column inches in 1976, and Chris Waddell's race reports have proved very helpful. Waddell also produced reports on the Canadian series for Formula, along with Gary Witzenburg, Steven Meyer and Marc Sproule reporting on the IMSA series.
If you can add to our understanding of these cars, or have photographs that we can use, please email Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These histories last updated on .