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MEMORIES / The body parts I wish I still had

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Who?

Stuart Dent

What?

BRM P160 nose cone, Tyrrell 006 nose cone, Lotus 72 airbox, McLaren M19 nose cone, March 721X airbox

Where?

Formula One Racewear shop nr Brands Hatch

When?

late-July 1977

Why?

As many reading this will recall, the latter stages of the 1973 International Trophy at Silverstone were severely disrupted by a snow storm. Nowt too unusual in that... well, if you're British anyway. Hell, it was only the end of April after all!

Anyway, upon returning to the paddock, I was somewhat taken aback by the sight of the BRM mechanics having a snowball fight - and using the damaged nose cone from Vern Schuppan's P160 as a trampoline!

Without further thought, I approached the chaps and enquired (somewhat naively) as to whether they were going to bin it. Their answer was rather obvious, so I took the only correct route open to me and adopted it. Mind you, I wasn't exactly 'Mr Popular' with my lift home...

So this gave me an idea. Surely the other teams must have stuff they chuck away too? Armed with 'new' information as to how to make free phonecalls, I religiously traipsed down the road to the public phone box during my school lunch breaks to ring all the F1 teams and ask for stuff. Incredibly, I was well received! I'd decided to put on a display at my grammar school's open day, and any forthcoming bits & bobs would go on show, which I guess must have helped...

In due course a fully liveried elf Team Tyrrell Transit van arrived at my house and disgorged the complete nose section which Francois Cevert had damaged during practice at Montjuich Park. That was followed days later by a similar Transit van in John Player Team Lotus livery with one of the Lotus 72 airboxes! I really couldn't believe my luck. Then March agreed to give me an airbox from Peterson's Monaco (I think it was Monaco) 721X; they would send it via British Rail's 'Red Star' parcels service, but I would have to pay the transit costs. Oh what a bugger; it was exactly 1.00!!

So, I'd now got four pieces for my exhibition, but I still kept on at the teams just in case. Meanwhile, a friend of mine who I used to baby-sit for said I could borrow all the bodywork from his Monoposto chassis, plus his helmet and overalls. Fantastic! Plus, I decided to put on a slide show too.

I'd not ignored BRM in this quest either, and one of my earliest calls was to Mike Pilbeam, who was great. Somewhat frustratingly, however, he told me that had he known of my project earlier, I could have had Regazzoni's written-off chassis from Kyalami - but he said they'd simply sawn the engine off and chucked the remnants away...

Still, as deadline approached, I was doing well - and then McLaren said that they'd give me a wheel from their Indy chassis. Great, I thought, but a shame it's not F1. Nevertheless, when it arrived directly to my school on the morning of the open day, as arranged, I would make full use if it. But, when the chap turned up, he didn't have an Indy wheel with him - he had for me the M19 nosecone, front wings and rad diffuser last used by Revson at Kyalami in March! The funny thing was that the chap thought I'd be disappointed...

My exhibition went down very well, but sadly in 1977 when (simultaneously) I got work abroad and my folks moved house, the bodywork had to go. I sold the lot to Chris Steyne of Formula One Racewear for the rather inexplicable sum of 97 quid! The pic above was taken waiting for him to arrive and open up. They were to become stable mates of a Shadow airbox which Tom Pryce had signed for him when he'd dropped in a few months earlier on his way to the airport to catch his flight to Kyalami...

How I wish now that I'd have found some way of hanging onto those fantastic fragments of history. As you can see, I didn't even manage to get a decent photo of them...