Tyrrell P34 continuation: reviving a six-wheeled F1 legend

So he has his P34 (the other one is to be sold). He also owns a 1981 Lotus 87B, with which Colin Chapman rivalled McLaren in pioneering the use of carbon fibre in F1, and a 1989 Ferrari 640, John Barnard’s masterpiece that introduced paddle-shift semi-auto gearboxes. You can see the pattern.

What other innovative F1 cars does Holtzman wish to collect? “I want to have a discussion with Bernie Ecclestone, because I would like to make two Brabham fan cars! Who wouldn’t want to see that?” Gordon Murray’s 1978 Brabham BT46B, also a winner at Anderstorp in its one and only race before it was withdrawn by team boss Ecclestone because he knew it was too quick? Good luck negotiating that licence… Even Holtzman might have to take no for an answer on that one.

Q&A: Jody Scheckter 

The South African had little time for the six-wheeled Tyrell P34. He tells us why.

What did you think when designer Derek Gardner told you what he had planned?

“Hmm… Well, they kept it away from us for a while. I don’t remember when I first learned about it. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me, and as we carried on, it still didn’t.”

The small frontal area was supposed to reduce aerodynamic drag, wasn’t it?

“That’s correct. I’m not an aerodynamicist, but the back was still the same size. Was it a little bit more efficient? Possibly, but possibly not. It was also supposed to brake much better, which in theory was probably right. When the road was flat and straight, that was fine. But as soon as you turned in at a corner, one of the little wheels lifted up and you had to take your foot off the brake. The advantage wasn’t there.”

So you had doubts from the start?

“Yes. When we tested, the teams tried to prove it was better regardless of whether it was or not. On the positive side, it was fun to drive. You could do anything with it.”

But it was successful, wasn’t it?


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