Chevron B48 car-by-car histories
The 1979 Formula 2 Chevron B48 was based on the monocoque of the 1978 B42, but with redesigned aerodynamics and suspension by Tony Southgate to incorporate ground-effects. The new model was not a success, and hastened Chevron's collapse into liquidation in early 1980.
Chevron's 1978 range of Formula 2 B42, Formula 3 B43, Formula Atlantic B45 and Formula Super Vee B46 had sold in large numbers, especially in F2 and F3, and Derek Daly had won two races in the Formula 2 championship. For 1979, Chevron knew they would need a ground-effect design, and F1 designer Tony Southgate was contracted to provide a "bold-on" ground-effect package using the basic 1978 monocoque. His design consisted of a narrow nose with side fins, inboard rocker-arm front suspension, and sidepods similar to those on Southgate's work on the Shadow DN9 and Arrows FA1 Formula 1 cars. The Formula 2 B48 was built alongside Formula 3 B47, Formula Atlantic B49 and Formula Super Vee B50 variants, and again the F2 and F3 designs sold well. American Formula Atlantic driver Bobby Rahal was signed to run the works F2 car, with Docking-Spitzley, Trivellato Racing and RAM Racing also running cars in F2. At first the B48 looked good, but this was more a result of the struggles March and Ralt were having with their own new ground-effect designs, and as the March 792 and Ralt RT2 improved, the Chevron B48s dropped back down the grid. The wide B42 monocoque compromised the B48s' ground effect, and although a new rear suspension geometry introduced mid-season resulted in some improvement, experiments with a long wheelbase were not successful and Rahal quit the works team before the end of the season. It was clear that an entirely new design would be necessary for 1980, a daunting financial investment for the company, and in November 1979 Chevron Managing Director Dave Wilson confirmed that there would be no F2 car in 1980. The team's focus would be Can-Am, with the Chevron B51 designed by Nigel Dickson and Paul Brown, but F3 (B53), Formula Atlantic (B54) and B56 (FSV) models were planned. However, testing of the B51 went very badly, customers dropped out, and in early January 1980 Chevron ceased trading. Four weeks later, the company went into liquidation.
It is important to note that the identities of several of the B48s are in question. Race reports in Autosport in 1980 and 1981 consistently gave the chassis number of Bobby Rahal's works car as '01', indicating that the chassis plate was stamped 79-01. It was even advertised by Chevron at the end of the season as '79-01'. Additionally, the Japanese magazine Auto Sport showed an image of the chassis plate of the car in Japan, which clearly said '79-02'. However, Paul Owens has the official factory records and he is adamant that the Japanese car was 79-01, and Rahal's car was 79-02. He has also cast doubt on the chassis numbers of other B48s. As the ex-Rahal car has always been known as 79-01, and was even advertised by Chevron as such, it would be confusing to refer to it as 79-02 here, so the identity of 79-01 is used throughout.
All and any help with the very complex story of the Chevron B48s would be gratefully received. Please email Allen at email@example.com if you can add anything.
Entered by Chevron Racing Team for Bobby Rahal in Formula 2 in 1979. Rahal had two cars, identified in Autosport's report of the opening round as "B48/1", his main car, and "B48/5", his unused spare. He is assumed to have driven B48-79-01 all season. Rahal left the team after the Misano race in August to race in Can-Am, and the two Ampex B48s were entered by Patrick Gaillard in the final F2 round at Donington. Dan Rear observed 79-05 was Gaillard's race car, and 79-01 his spare. Chassis 79-01 was then sold to Warren Booth (Blackburn, Lancashire) and raced by him in Aurora and in three F2 races in 1980. Retained for 1981, when he used it in F2, libre, and then Formula Atlantic, and loaned it to Kim Mather for one Atlantic race at the end of the season.
Unknown in 1982, but bought by Eric and Paul Rhodes (Pontefract, West Yorkshire) and converted to Lotus Esprit form for GT racing. Raced by Paul Rhodes in this form in 1983 and 1984, when Jeremy Jackson observed it as chassis 79-01. Paul Rhodes then raced the ex-Rothengatter 79-03 Chevron B48 in libre racing in 1985 and 1986, which he sold via Ray Rowan to Steve Jewell (Cheltenham, Gloucestershire) in late 1987/early 1988 for hillclimbs. 18 months later, Rhodes sold 79-01 to Jewell as well, having converted it back to single-seater form. Jewell continued to run 79-03 in F2 specification in sprints and hillclimbs, but is believed to have raced 79-01 as well at some point. Jewell died in 2013 while racing his Bugatti, and in 2015 the Chevron was sold by the family to Nick Crocker (Bedford, Bedfordshire). Still owned by Crocker in June 2020.
Driven by: Bobby Rahal, Warren Booth, Kim Mather and Paul Rhodes. First race: Silverstone (R1), 25 Mar 1979. Total of 37 recorded races.
First raced by Riccardo Patrese at the JAF Suzuka Grand Prix in November 1978, where a photograph publiched in Japanese Auto Sport showed it wearing the B49-79-02 chassis plate. Then to Nikko Racing, and raced for them by Keke Rosberg, Naohiro Fujita, Fumiyasu Sato and Stephen South during the 1979 Japanese F2 season. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Riccardo Patrese, Keke Rosberg, Naohiro Fujita, Fumiyasu Sato and Stephen South. First race: Suzuka (R7), 5 Nov 1978. Total of 6 recorded races.
Entered by Docking/Spitzley Racing for Huub Rothengatter in Formula 2 in 1979. His car was identified in Autosport's report of the opening round as "B48/3". In early 1980, Bob Fernley appeared in libre racing in "the ex-Huub Rothengatter Chevron-Hart B48", when Rothengatter's other car was in Australia.
Then unknown until acquired by Eric and Paul Rhodes (Pontefract, Yorkshire) and raced by Paul in libre racing in 1985 and 1986. Rhodes also had chassis 79-01, but this was in GT form with Lotus Esprit bodywork. Rhodes sold 79-03 in late 1987/early 1988 to Steve Jewell (Cheltenham, Gloucestershire), who ran it in sprints and hillclimbs from 1988 onwards, sharing initially with Robin Boucher. He also ran it in Historic F2 in 1993, and ran the car in sprints until at least 1994. He eventually sold 79-03 some time around 2003 to Alain de Wagter (Rhode-Saint-Genèse, Belgium), who had it rebuilt by Steve Worrad of Maverick Motorsport to use in Historic F2. De Wagter later acquired a second B48, and had one in F2 spec and one with a 1600cc BDA.
History then unknown until it was raced by Edmond Guistarini (France) from 2011 to 2019. It was identified by photographs by Steve Worrad, who remembered its distinctive blue track rods.
Driven by: Huub Rothengatter, Bob Fernley, Paul Rhodes, Robin Boucher and Steve Jewell. First race: Silverstone (R1), 25 Mar 1979. Total of 58 recorded races.
Entered by Trivellato Racing Team for Siegfried Stohr in Formula 2 in 1979. His car was identified in Autosport's report of the opening round as "B48/4". Presumably the car entered by Trivellato Racing Team for Danilo Tesini at a few F2 races in 1980. (Note that a "49-79-04" chassis plate was also observed by Adam Ferrington on the ex-Agostini/Terry Fisher B42 chassis 78-14 when it was was being run in partly B48 specification by Ray Rowan in 1982, but that is is a complete separate car. ) The ex-Trivellato car was acquired by Marco Bodini (Italy) in 1995, then sold to Matthew Slinn in 1998, some suspension components having been removed to use on a special. Restored by Slinn using corners from a B49. Sold to Graham Williams 2001, then to Richard Eyre 2008, and then via dealer Kevan McLurg to Bruce Balchin December 2010. The car had been fully restored by 2014. In 2017, it was partly dismantled to provide parts for a sports car project, and the B48 monocoque and remaining parts were then sold via WDK Motorsport to Steve Worrad (Whitchurch, Shropshire). By early 2020, Worrad had the B48 complete and ready for testing.
Driven by: Siegfried Stohr, Danilo Tesini and Ettore Bogani. First race: Silverstone (R1), 25 Mar 1979. Total of 9 recorded races.
Entered by Chevron Racing Team for Bobby Rahal in Formula 2 in 1979. Rahal had two cars, identified in Autosport's report of the opening round as "B48/1", his main car, and "B48/5", his unused spare. He is assumed to have driven B48-79-01 all season. Rahal left the team after the Misano race in August to race in Can-Am, and the two Ampex B48s were entered by Patrick Gaillard in the final F2 round at Donington. Dan Rear observed 79-05 was Gaillard's race car, and 79-01 his spare. Chassis 79-05 was then sold to Roy Baker (Ferndown, Dorset) and raced in Formula Atlantic in 1980, also running in F2 specification in some Aurora and F2 races. Used once in F2 in early 1981.
Then unknown until sold by Bobby Howlings to Roger Andreason and Tim Colman in June 1983, and sold on by them to Murray Wilson (Melbourne, Australia) in August 1983. Sold about 1990 to Gary Cossor (Brisbane, Australia), and still owned by him when the car was for sale as a rolling chassis in 2014. Some time later, around 2018, there was a garage fire and, according to Tony Cossor, Gary's brother, "the car was destroyed".
Driven by: Bobby Rahal, Patrick Gaillard and Roy Baker. First race: Donington Park (R12), 19 Aug 1979. Total of 13 recorded races.
The first owner of this car has not been identified. Paul Owens record say that this car went to RAM Racing, but the RAM car was observed wearing the B48-79-10 chassis plate so is covered under that heading. The Formula One Register lists this chassis number for Jochen Dauer's car, but marks that as uncertain. Dauer's car has been identified by later owners as B49-79-09.
Used as a spare car by Docking/Spitzley Racing for Huub Rothengatter in Formula 2 in 1979. His car was observed at Thruxton and Donington that year by Adam Ferrington wearing the "48-79-07" chassis plate. This is assumed to have remained as Rothengatter spare F2 car all season. After the F2 season ended, one of Rothengatter's B48s was converted to Formula Atlantic specification for the race at Phoenix Park in September. Chassis 79-07 was then significantly modified and taken to the Macau Grand Prix for Rothengatter to drive, followed by the New Zealand Formula Pacific series in early 1980, where David McKinney observed its chassis plate as 48-79-07. Here Rothengatter crashed it at Pukekohe in February. It went to Andrew Miedecke, whose mechanic in Auckland repaired the car, and it was taken to Macau in November 1980, only to crash again. Elwyn Bickley bought it from Docking in April 1981, and remained with him in Australia for many years. He moved to England in 2007, taking the car with him, and in 2007 it was sold to Simon Langman. It was sold to Richard Ames in 2008, who rebuilt to B42 specification. For sale by Ames in November 2019.
Driven by: Huub Rothengatter and Andrew Miedecke. First race: Phoenix Park, 16 Sep 1979. Total of 9 recorded races.
A second works Chevron Racing Team Chevron B48, first entered for Patrick Gaillard at the Nürburgring in late April, when it was backed by Promotor and Auto Hebdo. Gaillard drove it at two more races, then it was run by Derek McMahon Racing for Bernard Devaney to drive at Donington Park in August, at which time it was observed by both Adam Ferrington and Dan Rear to be wearing the "48-79-08" chassis plate. The Motoring News report of that race said it was an updated B42 chassis that Patrese had driven at Macau. The McMahon team then converted it to Formula Atlantic specification for Eddie Jordan to drive at Phoenix Park in September. It was then sold via Bobby Howlings to Brian Robinson (Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham), returned to F2 specification, and raced by him at the Silverstone Aurora round in October, where Autosport identified it as "B48/08" and ex-Gaillard/Devaney. Retained by Robinson for Aurora and libre in 1980, entered by Grange Performance Cars. Used in libre and in two British Formula 2 raced in 1981. Converted to GT form for 1982, using Lotus Esprit bodywork and retaining its Hart 420R engine, and raced by Robinson in the Donington GT Championship in 1982 and 1983. Sold to Bob Nelson, still in Esprit form, for 1984. Nelson took second place at Oulton Park on 1 July in the "ex-Brian Robinson Esprit". However, in 1985 and 1986, Nelson raced a Colt Starion in saloon racing.
The history of the car is then a little uncertain, but said to have been run in Speed Events by Nigel Sillence in 1987, and by David Kerr in 1989, the latter using a Rover V8 engine. Nigel Sillence (Glastonbury, Somerset) ran a Chevron "B47" in the 1600cc class of hillclimbs in 1987. After David Keer, the car went to an owner who started a major rebuild, but died before he was able to use the car. This may have been James Sutcliffe, who owned the car in August 1990 when it was inspected by Roger Andreason on behalf of prospective buyer Chuck Sieber. At that time it still had the Esprit bodywork and a Rover engine with Hewland FG400 gearbox. From that owner, it ended up with Keith Harris, and by 2009, the car was being raced in hillclimbs for Harris by Martin Jones. From Harris it went to Robin Darlington, and was run for him by Damon Milnes in the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power in 2015 and 2016.
It was sold by Darlington to Keith Taylor.
Driven by: Riccardo Patrese, Patrick Gaillard, Bernard Devaney, Eddie Jordan, Brian Robinson and Bob Nelson. First race: Macau, 19 Nov 1978. Total of 31 recorded races.
Jochen Dauer drove a Chevron B48 in the two German F2 races in April 1979, entered by EBG Freizeit Team and run for him by KWS Motorsport. He did not appear in F2 again that season, but reappeared for the two German F2 races in April 1980, again driving the Chevron B48, and with fifth place at the Nürburgring scored Chevron's final point in Formula 2. According to later owner Jean-Marie Brisard, Dauer sold the car to French hillclimber Didier Bonnet, and it was then owned by a series of French hillclimbers, including Robert Greusard in 1984, Thierry Parriaux around 1986 and 1987 using a 1600cc BMW engine, then Bruno Bazaud, who won several small course de côte in 1989 and 1990 in a Chevron B48. It was then sold to Brisard who raced it in 1991 and then sold to Olivier Clairet (Aubervilliers, Paris, France) in 1992. After running the car for several more seasons, Clairet retained it until 2010 when he advertised it with a 1600cc Cosworth FVA engine. Clairet commented on Facebook in September 2019 that he still owned the car.
Driven by: Jochen Dauer, Robert Greusard and Thierry Parriaux. First race: Hockenheim (R2), 8 Apr 1979. Total of 7 recorded races.
A Chevron B48 run by John MacDonald of RAM Racing for Bernard De Dryver in two Formula 2 races in April 1979, sponsored by Harksound. The car reappeared in July 1979, when it was hired from MacDonald by Arie Luyendyk for the Zandvoort F2 race. Next seen when advertised in Harksound livery by Creighton Brown (Chieveley, Berkshire) in January 1980. Ray Rowan recalls that he bought this car from Creighton Brown and sold it to Norrie Galbraith (Lanark, Scotland), who ran it in Scottish hillclimbs in 1981. During that time, its chassis plate was observed as "B48-79-10". It was then advertised, as ex-Galbraith, by Bobby Howlings' AMCO Racing in January 1982. This is likely to be the car acquired from Howlings by Regis Jumez (Boulogne-sur-Mer, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France) for French hillclimbs. Jumez later recalled to researcher Philippe Demeyer that the car was wrecked, and the remains sold to someone in Grenoble, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France. Subsequent history unknown.
Driven by: Bernard de Dryver, Arie Luyendijk and Norrie Galbraith. First race: Hockenheim (R2), 8 Apr 1979. Total of 12 recorded races.
Unresolved Chevron B48s in 1979
Magazine reports, the chassis plate observations of researchers such as Adam Ferrington and Dan Rear, and the recollection of former owner Jean-Marie Brisard have allowed all of the cars that raced in 1979 to be securely identified.
Mystery Chevron B48s from 1980 onwards
Of the B48s known to have been sold in 1979, most can be confidently tracked only for a year or two: 79-01 to 1981; 79-03 just to early 1980; 79-04 into 1980; 79-05 up to early 1981; 79-07 to early 1981; 79-08 to 1984; 79-09 to May 1980; and 79-10 to January 1982. The histories of most of these can be picked up later, but the gaps in their histories in the early 1980s make all these histories a little less than satisfactory. The picture is complicated by Paul Rhodes, Steve Jewell and Steve Worrad owning more than one car at a time, and by the way very similar B47s and B49s co-existed with B48s, especially in Britain, in the 1980s.
The main mystery car in the early 1980s is that of Steve Lees, which was described as a B48 in 1982, but as a B45/47 in 1983 and 1984. The mixture of descriptions hints that this may have been the John Lewis B42/B43/B47 bitza, but if it was a B48, the most likely place for it in the B48 jigsaw is chassis 79-03, which was missing between 1980 and about 1987. John McCartney also had a car in the mid/late 1980s, the origins of which remain uncertain.
Steve Lees (Sale, Cheshire) raced a Chevron in the 1600cc class of hillclimbs between 1982 and 1984. In 1982, the car was referred to as a B48, but in 1983 and 1984, it was entered as a "B45/47". Bruce Balchin notes that this car has the 4-inch narrower front and rear track that was seen on the prototype B48 and on the Formula 3 B47s, implying that Lees' car was a B47.
Driven by: Steve Lees. First race: Harewood (R8), 11 Jul 1982. Total of 2 recorded races.
John McCartney (Horwich, Lancashire) had a red Chevron B48 for speed events between 1986 and 1989. In 1996 or 1997, he sold it to Rick Hall of Hall & Fowler, whose notes on the car suggest it was originally built from a B43 to B48 specification at Chevron for John Lewis. When Rick had it, the car had a fuel-injected BDA engine, and was in Formula Pacific specification. Hall & Fowler sold it in mid-2000 to Bob Tabor who wanted it for testing purposes, as his Lotus 48 was too valuable for regular testing. Simon Hadfield maintained the car for Tabor, and raced it once or twice in HSCC Derek Bell Trophy races. The car was then sold to Steve Worrad (Whitchurch, Shropshire) in February 2002 for his customer Alain de Wagter, and raced by him in 1600cc class DBT events. The car was black by this time. Worrad's recollection is that is was sold to someone in Germany.
Driven by: John McCartney. First race: Shelsley Walsh (R13), 10 Aug 1986. Total of 2 recorded races.
After Derek Bennett's death in March 1978, the company was led by Dave Wilson and Paul Owens until the liquidation in February 1980. Wilson moved to March Engineering as Sales Director, and led the company's very successful expansion into Indy car racing, but died in May 1982 after a short illness. Owens moved to the Maurer F2 team in 1980, and pursuaded Willi Maurer to relocate his team from Germany to Bolton, where Owens initially ran the operation from the former Chevron paint shop. Maurer were very successful in Formula 2 over the next three seasons, with cars designed by Gustav Brunner, and assisted by Paul Brown, one of a number of ex-Chevron staff to follow Owens to Maurer. After the Maurer relationship broke down after the 1983 season, Owens moved to Reynard, where he worked on the company's first F3 car in 1985 and ended up running the composites division for many years.
My thanks to Chris Townsend, Steve Wilkinson, Adam Ferrington, David McKinney, Jeremy Jackson, Philippe Demeyer, Dan Rear, Michael Ferner, Ted Walker, Alan Brown and others for their work keeping track of these cars. Paul Owens kindly spent some time discussing his records of these cars with me, and I am very grateful for his assistance on this subject.
Thanks also to current and recent B48 owners, drivers and preparers who have helped, including Bruce Balchin, Steve Worrad, Andrew Miedecke, Simon Hadfield, Damon Milnes, Rick Hall and Jean-Marie Brisard. Steve Wilkinson has done an especially valuable job keeping track of B47s, B48s and B49s in speed events, and Dan Rear has performed a similar role with Midlands libre racing. Thanks also to Steve Wilkinson, Ted Walker, Keith Lewcock, Alan Brown and Bruce Balchin for the use of their photographs, and to the owners past and present who have contributed information via the 10 Tenths and Autosport forums and via Facebook.
These histories still have gaps, and any help would be gratefully received. Please email Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can add anything.
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