Car Profile – Chevron B34 Formula Atlantic

No country on earth can boast such a rich history in small, successful racing constructors as England. From the local garage or the shed in the yard, countless racing machines have taken shape to compete against more vaunted competition from Germany, Italy and France.

Fontana 12BRM, ERA, HWM, Alta, Brabham, Chevron, Connaught, Cooper, Lister, Lola, Lotus, March, McLaren, Reynard, Tyrell, Vanwall and Williams.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 2.09.00 PMFrom that storied and enigmatic, list, Chevron is the one most tinged with unfulfilled potential. Despite the unquestioned success that Chevron cars saw from 1965 to 1978, one cannot help but wonder what would have been accomplished but for the death of founder Derek Bennett in 1978 (killed in a hang gliding accident). Legends like Brian Redman and Vic Elford raced in Chevron cars and the Lancastrian firm would make its name in small-capacity sports cars and open-wheeled Formula cars (F2, F3 and F5000) where they would compete on both sides of the Atlantic to great effect.

One of the most successful of this line was the Chevron B34, introduced for Formula Atlantic in the mid-70s with 1600 Ford BDA power. With good aerodynamics and a wide track, the B34 was exceedingly stable and easy to drive fast. Riccardo Patrese would utilize these traits to win 5 races during the 1976 season (he would make the jump to Formula One in 1977) and Rupert Keegan would win the BP Championship that same year driving both the Chevron and a March 763.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 2.10.53 PMIn North America, B34s competed in the CASC Players Championship and in the IMSA Formula Atlantic Series with several podiums against top caliber competition. In all, 33 cars were produced in the B34 series before giving way to the B38.

The Chevron B34 (Chassis No. 34-76-07) featured here was delivered to Bob Brown Racing in February 1976 who competed with the car in both the CASC Players and IMSA Formula Atlantic series against the likes of Gilles Villeneuve, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Bertil Roos and Bobby Rahal.  Driving this car and a March 76B-18, Bobby Brown would finish the Formula Atlantic IMSA season in 4th Place behind Villeneuve, Price Cobb and Forbes-Robinson (and ahead of Rahal, Don Breidenbach and Kevin Cogan) and in 12th Place in the CASC Players series.

Since that 1976 season in front-line competition, this particular car has become one of the best-known Formula Atlantics in existence. Featured in the definitive book Chevron: The Derek Bennett Story by David Gordon, the car was purchased in 1998 by Bernard Juchli, General Manager of Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 2.09.20 PMAn accomplished racer, Juchli has driven the car to four consecutive VARA championships, the 2008 West Coast FA Championship and wins at the Monterey Historics and the Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca. Competing mainly on the West Coast, the Chevron is unquestionably one of the most successful FA cars in the country.






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