OldRacingCars.com

Chevron B39 car-by-car histories

Bill Kneeland's Chevron B39 at the SCCA Runoffs in 1977. Copyright Peter Viccary (<a href='http://www.gladiatorroadracing.ca/' target='_blank'>gladiatorroadracing.ca</a>) 2021. Used with permission.

Bill Kneeland's Chevron B39 at the SCCA Runoffs in 1977. Copyright Peter Viccary (gladiatorroadracing.ca) 2021. Used with permission.

Visually very similar to the 1976 Chevron B34, the Chevron B39 was Chevron's 1977 Formula Atlantic model. Sales were down significantly, and only Keke Rosberg in Fred Opert's team achieved significant success.

Chevron's 1976 single-seater range had comprised the B34 for F3 and Formula Atlantic and the B35 for F2, both of which had been successful, so there were few changes for 1977 when the range was the B38 for F3, B39 for Atlantic and B40 for F2. The new cars' bodywork was largely unchanged, with an air intake on the engine cover being the best clue, and suspension was again entirely orthodox, with double wisbones at the front, and transverse links, wishbones and twin radius rods at the back. Eleven B39s were built, using chassis numbers 77-01 to 77-10 and 77-12, as Chevron traditionally avoided the number '11. Four of these were straightforward customer cars: 77-02 went to Tony Martin in South Africa and thence to Australia; 77-03 went to the island of Ireland and has never left; 77-04 went to the Phillippines and vanished from sight; and 77-05 went to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and stayed there for at least five years. Five more went to Fred Opert Racing: 77-06 intended for a third team driver but rarely used; 77-07 for Gregg Young; 77-08 for Keke Rosberg; 77-09 as a mid-season wide-track car for Rosberg; and 77-12 as an additional car at Trois-Rivières where Opert was running Jacques Laffite and Patrick Depailler as well as Rosberg and Young. Opert then took three of his cars to New Zealand in early 1978 for the Formula Pacific series, which Rosberg dominated. Opert then sold 77-07 to Peter Robinson and 77-09 to Page Roos, while 77-08 was retained for Divina Galica before being sold to Dean Lundreen, 77-12 was retained for Eje Elgh before becoming a hire car, and 77-06 was retained for Jim Crawley and then disappeared.

That explains nine of the eleven cars, leaving just 77-01 and 77-10. Of these, 77-01 was a works car for Gilles Villeneuve in South Africa at the start of the year and after it was crashed, it was returned to the factory and sold to the US. This is believed to be the B39 owned by William Kneeland in 1977 and then allegedly by John Sley in 1978, but Sley only scored SCCA points in Formula C in 1978. The other car is a puzzle, with works records only saying that it was a development car. It seems likely that this was the car used by Divina Galica once in F2 late in 1977, and then sold to Albert Poon, but that car was generally described as a B40.

If you can add to our understanding of these cars, or have photographs that we can use, please email Allen at allen@oldracingcars.com.

Chassis
History
Current owner
Chevron B39
39-77-01

A works entry for Gilles Villeneuve in the 1977 South African series, but crashed at Killarney in February. Believed to have been returned to the Chevron factory, rebuilt on a new chassis and sold to the US. However, the US owner has not yet been determined with any confidence.

Driven by: Gilles Villeneuve. First race: Roy Hesketh (R1), 15 Jan 1977. Total of 4 recorded races.

Unknown
Chevron B39
39-77-02

New to Tony Martin (Durban, South Africa) and raced in the 1977 South African series. Retained for 1978 as a spare car to Martin's new B45, and and upgraded to B45 specification. Sold for 1979 to Paul England for Peter Larner to race in the early 1979 Australian Internationals. Larry Perkins took over the drive later in 1979, and also drove the car in the Aurora AFX Formula Pacific Championship in New Zealand in early 1980 and the Australian National Panasonic Formula Pacific series in 1981. Some time about 1985 or 1986, the car was sold to Norm Carr (Victoria) who raced it once or twice before damaging one corner at Calder. When Carr acquired it the chassis plate was missing so he had a new one issued by Roger Andreason at Chevron which read "39-77-B-02". It was still owned by Carr in 2003.

Driven by: Tony Martin, Peter Larner and Larry Perkins. First race: Roy Hesketh (R1), 15 Jan 1977. Total of 32 recorded races.

Norm Carr (Australia) 2003
Chevron B39
39-77-03
Ronnie Le Bas in his ex-Paraic Mooney Chevron B39. Copyright Jude Neylon 2020. Used with permission.

Ronnie Le Bas in his ex-Paraic Mooney Chevron B39. Copyright Jude Neylon 2020. Used with permission.

New to Patsy McGarrity (Belfast, Northern Ireland) and raced in the Irish Formula Atlantic series. Raced by Patsy's brother Harold McGarrity (Belfast, Northern Ireland) in 1978. Later raced by Eddie Jordan (Dundrum, County Dublin) at Phoenix Park in 1980. Sold to Paraic Mooney (Dublin) who raced it at Mondello Park two weeks later, and in the 1981 and 1982 series. Also raced in Formule Libre at Kirkistown in 1983. Later sold to Ronnie Le Bas and used by him in Irish hillclimbs. Still owned by Ronnie Le Bas in November 2020.

Driven by: Patsy McGarrity, Harold McGarrity, John Smith, Eddie Jordan and Paraic Mooney. First race: Mondello Park, 17 Mar 1977. Total of 33 recorded races.

Ronnie Le Bas (Ireland) 2020
Chevron B39
39-77-04

New to Eddie Marcelo (Philippines) and presumably the car raced by him in the Malaysian Grand Prix and Penang Grand Prix in April and May 1977. He was also entered for the 1978 Malaysia Grand Prix. This may be the car driven by Chong Kim Fah as part of the Rothmans team in Malaysia in 1979, but Chong had previously driven a B34 and may have upgraded that car with B39 bits. Subsequent history unknown.

Driven by: Eddie Marcelo. First race: Shah Alam (R1), 24 Apr 1977. Total of 2 recorded races.

Unknown
Chevron B39
39-77-05
The Chevron B39 of Ken Duclos at the SCCA Runoffs in 1977. Copyright Peter Viccary (<a href='http://www.gladiatorroadracing.ca/' target='_blank'>gladiatorroadracing.ca</a>) 2021. Used with permission.

The Chevron B39 of Ken Duclos at the SCCA Runoffs in 1977. Copyright Peter Viccary (gladiatorroadracing.ca) 2021. Used with permission.

Gaston Andrey waits for the start of the July 1978 Lime Rock National in his Chevron B39. Copyright Bill Wagenblatt 2019. Used with permission.

Gaston Andrey waits for the start of the July 1978 Lime Rock National in his Chevron B39. Copyright Bill Wagenblatt 2019. Used with permission.

New to Ken Duclos (Boxboro, MA) and raced in Northeast Division SCCA Nationals in 1977. Sold to Gaston Andrey (Framingham, MA) for SCCA Nationals in 1978, and advertised by Andrey in August 1981. Subsequent history unknown, but by 2002, the car was said to be with Cy Moreland (Trainer, PA). Reports that it went to Simon Hadfield in 2003 proved to be inaccurate. At the Monterey Historics in 2013, this car with this chassis number was driven by Chris Locke. Chris Locke raced the "ex-Ken Duclos" Chevron B39 in US historic racing in 2011 and 2012. Locke still had the car in 2014, when it was driven by Lyn St James. By 2018, this car was being raced by Robert Gray Gregory. Also raced by Ethan Shippert in 2021. Raced by Gray Gregory at

Driven by: Ken Duclos and Gaston Andrey. First race: Charlotte Motor Speedway, 24 Apr 1977. Total of 10 recorded races.

Robert Gray Gregory (USA) 2022
Chevron B39
39-77-06

New to Fred Opert Racing and raced in the Labatts Formula Atlantic Championship. Believed to be the car raced by Francisco Romero at the opening round. Believed to be the car intended for Didier Pironi at St-Félicien in August, but crashed in practice. Repaired and entered for Patrick Depailler at Trois-Rivières and Québec City as the team's #2 car. Retained by Fred Opert Racing for the 1978 New Zealand series, where it was the team's #2 entry raced by Bobby Rahal. Then raced by Jim Crawley in two North American races in early 1978. Subsequent history unknown, but "77-06" was advertised on the Autosport Forum in January 2006 by "Joe" from northern New Jersey. It was restored by The Progress Group (Placentia, CA) in 2011/12 and raced by Chris Cord at the Monterey Historics in 2013. It was driven by Bill Cord at Monterey in 2014 in pale blue Excita livery, at the CSRG "David Love Memorial" in April 2017 and at Laguna Seca in May 2018.

Driven by: Francisco Romero, Didier Pironi, Patrick Depailler, Bobby Rahal and James Crawley. First race: Mosport Park (R1), 22 May 1977. Total of 15 recorded races.

Bill Cord (USA) 2018
Chevron B39
39-77-07

New to Fred Opert Racing and raced in the Labatts Formula Atlantic Championship by Gregg Young as the team's #6 Valvoline entry. Retained by Fred Opert Racing for the 1978 New Zealand series, where Jacques Laffite had been its intended driver but it ended up being used as a spare car for Keke Rosberg. Sold to Peter Robinson (Madison, Wisconsin) and raced in SCCA Nationals and in a couple of Labatts Championship Pro races in 1978. He scored 19 points in Central Division in 1978. He was not seen in 1979, but reappeared with the car in Southwest Division in 1980, now as a member of Lone Star Region, and qualified for the Runoffs. He converted the car to Formula C for 1981, and retained it until 1984 at least, when it was advertised from Austin, TX. Subsequent history unknown, but some time around 2003, the car was acquired by Jeff Mckay (Tacoma, WA) from the estate of a collector in Texas. Mckay sold the car in 2004 to John Bradshaw (Manchester). Bradshaw found the tub was creased so had a new tub made by ex-Chevron fabricator Dennis Aldred at Motorsport Components in Bolton. After running the car in the Chevron 40th anniversary event at Oulton Park in August 2005, Bradshaw sold it to Sandy Watson, who raced it in European Historic F2 and HSCC Derek Bell Trophy from 2006 to 2009. Then sold to Roland Wiltschegg (Austria) who raced it from 2010 to 2013. Raced in the Histo Cup event at Brno in May 2018. Raced at the Hockenheim Historic in May 2022.

Driven by: Gregg Young, Keke Rosberg and Peter Robinson. First race: Mosport Park (R1), 22 May 1977. Total of 12 recorded races.

Roland Wiltschegg (Austria) 2022
Chevron B39
39-77-08
Dean Lundgreen in his Chevron B39 at Road America. Copyright Jeff Luebker 2021. Used with permission.

Dean Lundgreen in his Chevron B39 at Road America. Copyright Jeff Luebker 2021. Used with permission.

New to Fred Opert Racing and used in the Labatts Formula Atlantic Championship. One of two cars run by the team for Keke Rosberg, this one having narrower track. Retained by Fred Opert Racing for the 1978 New Zealand series, where it was Rosberg's main race car as he easily won the championship. Then believed to be the car raced by Divina Galica at Long Beach in early 1978. Sold to Dean Lundreen (Franklin, MN) and raced in SCCA Nationals. He scored 13 points in 1978, 15 points in 1979, and continued to race the car in 1980 and 1981. Advertised by Lundgreen in April 1982 and February 1983. Sold to Mike Rand later in 1983, then sold on to Joe Ostrowski (Trenton, NJ) who raced it from 1984 to 1986 at least. The car remained in Ostrowski's garage until 2004, when he sold it to Mark Wehrman. It was then sold to Lee Brahin (Philadelphia, PA) in 2006, and then to Martin Lauber (Tiburon, CA) in August 2011. Raced by Lauber in pink Excita livery from 2012 to 2019. It was sold to Laurent Parmentier (Los Angeles, CA) in January 2020, and raced by him in 2020 and 2021.

Driven by: Keke Rosberg, Divina Galica, Dean Lundgreen and Joe Ostrowski. First race: Mosport Park (R1), 22 May 1977. Total of 23 recorded races.

Laurent Parmentier (USA) 2021
Chevron B39
39-77-09

New to Fred Opert Racing and raced in the Labatts Formula Atlantic Championship. One of two cars run by the team for Keke Rosberg, this one having wider track. Believed to have been new for Rosberg at Halifax in August. Then used by Didier Pironi at St-Félicien a week later after damaging his intended car in practice. Then raced by Jacques Laffite as the team's #1 entry at Trois-Rivières and Québec City. Sold to Formula Ford racer Page Roos (Hillsborough, CA), an heir to the Roos-Atkins clothing store chain, but it was only raced once, at Long Beach in early 1978. Advertised by Roos in January 1982, and apparently the car acquired by Dick Leppla and advertised by him in September 1982. Retained by Leppla until 1987 at least. Subsequent history unknown, but advertised in Hemmings in June 2009.

Driven by: Keke Rosberg, Didier Pironi, Jacques Laffite, Page Roos and Dick Leppla. First race: Halifax (R5), 7 Aug 1977. Total of 5 recorded races.

Unknown
Chevron B39
39-77-10

Chevron records show this car as a works test chassis. It is likely to have been the Albert Poon car.

Unknown
Chevron B39
39-77-12

New to Fred Opert Racing and raced in the Labatts Formula Atlantic Championship. This car was new for Keke Rosberg to race at Trois-Rivières in September 1977. It was retained by Opert for 1978, and raced by Eje Elgh at the opening two rounds as his #5 Sheik Condoms entry before his new Chevron B45 was available. The B39 is then thought to be the #5 car raced by Divina Galica at Hamilton in August. Then probably the pink #5 Chevron raced by Marco Tolama for Opert at Road America in July 1979. Then probably the #4 entry, still in Excita livery, for Doug Titus at two other races later that season.

Driven by: Keke Rosberg, Eje Elgh, Divina Galica, Marco Tolama and Doug Titus. First race: Trois-Rivières, 4 Sep 1977. Total of 7 recorded races.

Unknown

Mystery cars

The main puzzles to be resolved for the B39s are the identites of the cars raced in North America by Bill Kneeland and in the Far East by Albert Poon. Kneeland only raced his car during 1977 and as he previously had a Chevron B29, it is not yet possible to be certain when he first raced the B39. His B39 cannot be tracked with certainty after 1977 but it seems very likely to be the car raced in 1978 by John Sisk, who lived less than 200 miles from Kneeland. If so, it is chassis 39-77-01. The identity of Poon's is less certain, as his car has been described as both a B39 and a B40.

It has not yet been possible to ascertain the identity of the #6 Fred Opert Racing B39 driven by Riccardo Patrese at Trois-Rivières in September 1978, or the #4 Fred Opert Racing B39 driven by Keke Rosberg at Montréal three weeks later, but in both cases chassis 39-77-12 would be the most likely car. The Rothmans B39 of Chong Kim Fah at Penang and Batu Tiga in 1979 is also unknown, but is likely to be the car originally sold to Eddie Marcelo.

Chassis
History
Current owner
Chevron B39
'the Bill Kneeland car'
(1977 only)

William A Kneeland (Springfield, VA) raced a new Chevron B39 in SCCA Formula B in 1977, but exactly when in the season the B39 replaced his previous second-hand B29 remains unresolved. As the first owners of all the other B39s has been established, it seems likely that this car was 39-77-01, the car raced by Gilles Villeneuve in South Africa in January and February and then rebuilt at the factory and sold to the US. If so, this car then went to New Zealand, but the link between Kneeland's car and the car in New Zealand has not yet been determined.

Driven by: Jim Fitzgerald and William Kneeland. First race: Roebling Road Raceway, 29 May 1977. Total of 7 recorded races.

Unknown
Chevron B39/B40
'the Albert Poon car'
(1977-date)

New to LC Kwan (Hong Kong), owner of the Equipe 66 garage, for Albert Poon (Hong Kong) to drive in Formula Pacific in Southeast Asia. Before it was shipped to Asia, it was borrowed by Ardmore Racing and fitted with a Swindon BDX engine for Divina Galica to race in the Donington Park F2 event in October 1977. It was then shipped to Hong Kong in time for the Macau Grand Prix a month later. Although Poon entered his car as a B40, an article in the Malaysia Grand Prix race programme in May 1978 described the car as a "new car which he has just bought in the US". Also raced by Kevin Bartlett at Macau in 1978 and by Andrew Miedecke at Macau in 1979. Then raced by Poon at Macau in 1980, 1981 and 1982. Retained by Kwan in Hong Kong until 1989 when it was sold to Gordon Norris and returned to the UK. Sold in 2022 to Bruce Balchin (Southampton).

Driven by: Divina Galica, Albert Poon, Kevin Bartlett and Andrew Miedecke. First race: Donington Park (R13), 30 Oct 1977. Total of 12 recorded races.

Bruce Balchin (UK) 2022
Chevron B39
'the John Sisk car'
(1978-date)

John Sisk (Lahaska, PA) raced a Formula B Chevron in a NERRC event at Lime Rock in April 1978. At the end of that season New Zealander Grant Campbell bought a Chevron B39 from the US to use in the New Zealand Formula Pacific from January 1979 onwards. Kiwi journalist David McKinney noted that the car wore the '01' chassis plate and was told by Campbell that it had previously been raced by John Sisk. It was retained by Campbell for the 1979/80 and 1980/81 seasons in New Zealand, then taken to Australia for the National Panasonic Formula Pacific series before the start of the 1981/82 New Zealand season. To Steve Cameron (Auckland) for the 1982/83 season. David McKinney advised that it then went to Charlie Thomasen, who also owned the ex-Dave Oxton B34, and then to John Wigston (Auckland) in 1985. Reported to be still in Wigston's collection in October 2016.

Driven by: John M. Sisk Jr, Grant Campbell and Steve Cameron. First race: Lime Rock (R1), 29 Apr 1978. Total of 39 recorded races.

John Wigston (New Zealand) 2016

In addition to the above, unknown Chevron B39s were driven by Riccardo Patrese, Keke Rosberg and Chong Kim Fah.

Acknowledgements

My thanks to Chris Townsend for his groundbreaking work on this model of Chevron. Thanks also to Paul Owens for information on '01 and '02, to Tim Colman at Chevron Cars, to Bryan Miller, David McKinney, Ian Hebblethwaite, Tony Garmey, Brian Speake, Andrew Fellowes and Dan Rear, and to owners Kim Mather, Jeff Mckay, John Bradshaw, Gordon Norris, Laurent Parmentier and Bruce Balchin.

These histories last updated on .