This isn’t a story about a big-budget Ferrari or McLaren. This is the inside look of a car designed in a bedroom, built in a shed, and paid for with beer money. It is the greatest F1 story you’ve never, ever, ever heard.
The car was the Connew. It only successfully made it into the 1972 Austrian Grand Prix, which is why it barely even registers as a footnote in the history of the car world’s top rung of motorsports.
But the car’s results are second to the unbelievable shoestring effort that got the car there.
The narrator of the story, Barry Boor, describes taking a job at a wholesale funeral parlor distributor just so he could have access to a telephone. After one of their truck drivers disappeared one night after yet another failed race weekend, the designer of the car, Peter Connew, “probably became the first man to sleep inside a grand prix car bearing his own name.” At one point the team was so broke, they paid for a toll with a check for 12 and a half p. The team’s gophers were named ‘Pinky’ and ‘Perky.’ I am not making any of this up.
This is the environment in which Formula One blossomed. It was an age of used car salesmen becoming team owners and pirates winning races.
Hell, the friend of some of history’s most famous bank robbers becoming head of the whole sport.
Watch the full ten minute video. Forget the champagne and the greed and the technowizardry of today. This forgotten Connew, built on a Cosworth DFV and a dream, is the very heart of F1.
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