The Racing Car Show, Multiple World Championship Participant, In The Current Ownership Since 1984
1966 Chevron B6
Chevron is the true British motor racing story, the talented engineer who started in a lock up garage and went on to be one of the worlds leading names in both sports car and single seater formula racing. No fewer that six former Chevron drivers went on to achieve World Champion status. An extraordinary talent, Derek Bennett was a brilliant and mainly self taught engineer with an impressive aptitude for repairing, modifying and sculpting race cars. Like so many of the great race car producers of his era, when he was not working at the track he could be found behind the wheel racing mostly custom built racing cars.
Competing himself in a number of cars and considering purchasing a new race car, with the ever changing racing regulations he felt he could produce a better example himself. Created on a space frame chassis and powered by a Ford Kent engine and carrying the Chevron name the B1 made its debut at Kirkistown in 1965 and won the race.
This was to be the first of many victories for Derek Bennett and his impressive Chevron cars. The success of the Chevron marque became closely intertwined with its customers worldwide, buying and racing their Chevron cars most notably in 2-litre sports car competition but also single seater Formula 5000, Formula 2 and Formula 3.
The Chevron B6 and B8 are widely regarded to be one of the most beautiful sports racing cars ever produced, with their looks only to be matched by their handling. Initially known as the Chevron GT from 1966, the model designation of B6 was introduced retrospectively in 1968 when production of the B8 series began. Having produced just 7 B6s, the main production model was the B8, which was largely unchanged but for a few detail revisions. The B6 initially competed as a prototype in the Group 6 class, with homologation being granted in 1968 to allow the cars to run in the Group 4 GT class.
From B6 to B8, the main design remained the same. By the time the cars appeared, Chevron production had become a well-honed operation. Arch Motors supplied the chassis direct to Chevron and Specialised Mouldings manufactured the smooth and sleek bodywork in fibreglass. For power, the first production B6 used a 1600cc Lotus Twincam engine initially, while the other six used the BMW M10, 2002 derived engine with special dry sump to work in the more upright mounting position of the B6.
The Chevron B6 debuted at the Racing Car Show in January 1967 with CH-DBE-2, this car, on display on the Chevron stand. DBE-2 was the first Chevron B6 built, having been constructed in 1966, in time for the show. Upon seeing it at the Racing Car Show, doctor and racer Peter Taggart was sold on the concept and agreed to buy CH-DBE-2.
Along with owning a lion cub, Taggart pioneered research into the effects of stress on heart performance, particularly when driving and monitored drivers including Graham Hill during Grand Prix.
Having been racing a Lotus Elan across the UK and in Europe, Taggart instead focussed on racing the B6 with Lotus Twincam power for the 1967 season.
Painted dark blue with two yellow stripes to one side, CH-DBE-2 debuted at the 1967 Nurburgring 1000kms World Championship round, where Taggart shared the driving with Keith Burnand. After more racing through 1967, a 2-litre BMW M10 engine was fitted into CH-DBE-2. With the BMW power for 1968, Taggart entered the car in several races including the Monza 1000kms and the Nurburgring 1000kms in May.
In the Nurburgring paddock after a trying weekend, Taggart approached fellow doctor Tony Goodwin. He asked Goodwin if he would consider sharing the B6, and the two made a plan to race together at the upcoming Spa 1000kms the following week. Goodwin recalled how Taggart arrived by himself at Spa with the B6 on a trailer behind his E-Type Jaguar in his very entertaining book ‘Doctor On The Grid’, which details much of his exploits with the car over the years.
Running themselves, the pair qualified 32nd after getting up to speed on the fast circuit. In the wet race, and after a strong race finished 19th and second Chevron. Taggart then entered CH-DBE-2 for Anderstorp, Mallory Park, the Vila Real Grand Prix, Monte Claros, Hockenheim, Karlskoga and finally the Jyllandsring in Denmark to complete that foreign tour. Back in England, Taggart and CH-DBE-2 raced in the Guards International Trophy at Brands Hatch in September to conclude his exploits with the B6 in 1968.
Into 1969, Taggart entered CH-DBE-2 for the Silverstone International Sports Cars round in March, then he and Goodwin took CH-DBE-2 to Monza for the 1000kms. The Spa 1000km followed before competing at Silverstone in the Martini Trophy. In mid May, Goodwin rejoined Taggart and CH-DBE-2 for the Tourist Trophy at Oulton Park and made the trip to the Nurburgring 1000kms the following week, with CH-DBE-2 by now sporting a blue with white and red striped livery. Entries at the Oulton Park Gold Cup, Nurburgring 500kms and Brands Hatch followed, with Goodwin taking CH-DBE-2 to 4th at the latter. The final international race of ’69 for CH-DBE-2 came at the Barcelona 12 Hours in October with Taggart and Goodwin sharing once more.
In a recorded interview, which accompanies CH-DBE-2, Goodwin recalled that Taggart no longer wanted to own the B6 at the conclusion of the ’69 season. A deal was struck where he bought CH-DBE-2 from Taggart cheaply, £1300 in fact, and that Taggart would be Goodwin’s co-driver for a few races during 1970. Goodwin got 1970 off to a great start with a 3rd place finish at Brands Hatch in March, and then was present with CH-DBE-2 at the Brands Hatch 1000km in April. Following Brands, they went to Spa for the 1000km and then to the Nurburgring 1000km with the livery revised once more, this time to dark green with a wide yellow centre stripe.
After another race at Brands Hatch, the pair ventured to Italy for the Mugello Grand Prix, which used the original 66km road circuit. Next was Brands Hatch again before the Nurburgring 500km, the Spa 500km, and Hockenheim Intereserie 300 Miles to conclude 1970.
Goodwin recalled how that on one occasion at the Nurburgring, he was able to take a look at the ledger used by the organisers, which happened to show how much start money each entrant was assigned. He realised that those with open top cars received around twice the money, so set about modifying CH-DBE-2 by removing the roof. On completion, it was dubbed the Redex RPA after their sponsorship and debuted in the revised form at the 1971 Spa 1000km in May where Goodwin took 1st in the 2.0 Prototype class.
Following Spa was the Nurburgring 1000km, and Goodwin took another class win with CH-DBE-2. An outing in the European 2-Litre Championship at Silverstone followed, then Vila Real and Brands Hatch where CH-DBE-2 took 2nd with Alistair Cowin at the wheel. At the end of the 1971 season, Tony Goodwin advertised CH-DBE-2 for £1,585, describing it as a Chevron-BMW Spyder.
CH-DBE-2 was subsequently bought from Goodwin by Fred Boothby, who took up the mantle and raced the car through 1972. A couple of highlights in Boothby’s ownership included trips to the Nurburgring for the 1000km and 500km races, and while in his ownership CH-DBE-2 was made back into a coupe by Peter Denty. In 1976 Boothby sold it to Peter Lockhart-Smith. After a short stint with Lockhart-Smith, CH-DBE-2 was bought by Richard Thwaites who painted it yellow. Thwaites raced CH-DBE-2 very competitively, winning the Atlantic Computers GT Championship in 1982.
For 1983, CH-DBE-2 was bought by Robbie Gordon who kept it until the current owner bought it from him in 1984. At this point CH- DBE-2 was still painted yellow, and in rebuilding the car the current owner finished it in dark green. Initially with a Lotus Twincam engine before changing to BMW M10, the current owner has raced CH-DBE-2 in every year of his tenure.
In the mid ‘80s he competed with CH-DBE-2 in Thundersports with backing from the Renshaw group, and driving with Simon Hadfield. With great success, the pair went on to win the 2-Litre Championship four times. CH-DBE-2 was entered into the Spa 6 Hours, and proceeded to win it twice in the late ‘90s before the regulations were changed to restrict Chevrons from competing. Another pair of championships wins in Group 4 followed over the years, and Le Mans Classic was completed in 2004 with it winning the Index of Performance.
CH-DBE-2’s success hasn’t been limited to the track either, with victory being taken in the road based Modena Cento Ore Classic. With CH-DBE-2 registered TGC 267E for the road, the Tour Britannia was also tackled, covering several of Great Britain’s best circuits. With the current owner having raced CH-DBE-2 over three decades often with Simon Hadfield, in 2018 the son of the owner, Will, and Hadfield’s son James shared CH-DBE-2 in a Guards Trophy race at Donington, taking the win and emulating what their fathers have done many times.
The current owner and his son have taken many other wins and podiums in Masters Historic Sportscars, 1000km, and becoming class champion in Guards Trophy. In 2019 the success has continued, with pole position and a podium in Guards Trophy, along with a class podium in Thundersports.
Our own Ben Mitchell has also raced CH-DBE-2 with the current owner, finishing 3rd overall at Dijon 1000km Series round in July 2013, along with taking pole position and leading at Brands Hatch in the Guards Trophy.
Maintenance in the current ownership has been a collaboration between the owner and Simon Hadfield Motorsport, with CH-DBE-2 being rebuilt and restored at Simon Hadfield Motorsport on a couple of occasions, the most recent of which being in 2012. At this point, the car was stripped to a bare chassis, the roof angle altered slightly to be correct, repairs made where necessary, and re-powder coated. Suspension was gone through, engine and gearbox rebuilt, fresh body moulds produced, and new lightweight panels fitted, in the owners distinctive dark green.
Most recently, the Lester Owen BMW M10 engine has been refreshed, and the gearbox rebuilt by BPA Engineering with new main case. Since then, CH-DBE-2 has only completed one race, so limited mileage has been accrued. Accompanying it is a very good spares package including wheels, gear ratios, wishbones, brakes, ignition parts, bodywork, refuelling equipment and parts previously removed. Benefitting from having current FIA HTPs valid until 2020, the required safety equipment is in date.
Eminently eligible, CH-DBE-2 is well suited for a vast array of series including Peter Auto’s CER 1, Masters FIA Historic Sports Cars, Guards Trophy, Thundersports, and the potential for the upcoming Le Mans Classic.
With their timeless looks, speed and handling balance, there is no surprise that the B6 and B8 models became one of Chevron’s most admired and noted. This superb example is the earliest of the B6s, with excellent international period history from new, and having been in the current ownership for 35 years it has been cherished as part of the family. Now available, it is time for CH-DBE-2 to continue it’s racing ways with a new custodian.