Shadow-Ford DN1

We will see these F1 gems at the GP Revival 2024 in Brno

Text and photo: Roman Klemm

In 1968, the American Don Nichols (allegedly a CIA agent) founded the company Advanced Vehicle Systems, which built racing cars with the mysterious name Shadow. At first, he was involved in the CanAm sports car series at home in the USA. However, for the 1973 season, together with the sponsor Universal Oil Products (uop), he decided to attack Formula 1. Nichols wisely decided to build his base for this task in Northampton, England. He equipped his "European department" with British specialists. Design of the Shadow-Ford DN1 was undertaken by Tony Southgate, team management by Alan Rees and Jackie Oliver.
The black cars of the Anglo-American organization did not hide any revolutionary solutions, which was another wise move from the newcomer. It stood out for its long bow, low monocoque with a giant "suction basket" with a US-flag behind the rider's head. The two DN1s made a very promising debut in the third event of the season in Kyalami. US-star George Follmer reached the mark in his first participation in the WC for the first point, Oliver's second car fell out of a promising position. The Nichols team fared even better in their second Grand Prix in Barcelona, where Follmer finished third! It is worth noting that a third DN1 was also at the start in Spain: the private car of the Graham Hill team in the Embassy cigarette livery. The confidence of the former champion (he had just made his way into F1 team owners) in Southgathe's construction must have been tremendous indeed. However, it must be admitted that "Shadows" could not continue at such a high level of results. With the exception of Oliver's 3rd place in the chaotic Canadian Grand Prix at the end of the year, the points were not enough - they only finished in the top 10 four times.
However, thanks to the solid DN1, Shadow has become a stable part of the F1 circus. The last time this model started in a Grand Prix was at the end of January 1974 in Interlagos, where Jean-Pierre Jarier retired after 22 laps due to a brake defect.

In the F1-Masters, Oliver's immaculately prepared Shadow-Ford DN1 starts thanks to the Swiss Moser-Autos team around the former top GT driver, Toni Seiler.

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