Class Sponsor

Year: 1974

Manufacturer: Shadow

Model: DN3

Country: United Kingdom

Owner(s):
Private Collection

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1974 Shadow DN3

Initially formed in 1968 as Advanced Vehicle Systems and rebranded to Shadow Racing Inc., run by the mysterious person that was Don Nichols, the team soon became known for running in the iconic black livery. Nichols, an American WW2 Army veteran and military intelligence operative, chose the logo of a cloaked spy silhouette for the Shadow outfit.

With ambitions of competing in Formula 1, Nichols recruited Tony Southgate to design the first of his single seater cars, announcing the plans in late 1972.

With backing from oil company UOP gained with the exposure of the radical Shadow Mk1 CanAm car, the first of Tony Southgate’s Shadow Formula 1 cars was dubbed the DN1. Somewhat less extreme than the CanAm Mk1 which featured a monocoque so low that the driver’s feet operated the pedals sideways and 10” diameter front wheels, the DN1 used an open top aluminium monocoque, mated to Cosworth’s 3-litre DFV engine and a Hewland TL200 gearbox.

With the DN1s suffered from reliability issues linked to vibration all season, Southgate designed the DN3 for 1974. Continuing on the general principles of the DN1, the DN3 featured a stiffer monocoque, wider track, longer wheelbase and improved aerodynamics. With the issues of the DN1 appearing to be solved, the DN3 showed results from the start, with a second row qualifying position at the first Grand Prix of 1974 in Argentina.

DN3-2A, debuted at the Race of Champions in March 1974 with Jean-Pierre Jarier, although it did not race after an off in qualifying at the Brands Hatch circuit. Two weeks later, DN3-2A was back out with Jarier at the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami, but the team withdrew after the tragic loss of team mate Peter Revson in testing ahead of the race.

After a series of promising starts followed by retirements came the Monaco Grand Prix, arguably the most revered of all the races on the calendar. Jarier, in DN3-2A again, took a stunning 3rd place finish, scoring vital Constructor’s Championship points. It was a result which would prove to be the standout event of the Shadow team’s Formula 1 career.

With the new DN5 debuting for the 1975 season, DN3-2A wasn’t raced during that year but did go to South Africa as Jarier’s spare car for the first two Grand Prix. Shadow eventually sold DN3-2A to Roger Springett for 1976 along with another DN3 and a DN1 which he planned to use in the British Shellsport Group 8 series. Running under the Team PR Reilly banner with to the backing of ‘Nobby’ Reilly, the DN1 was used along with the other DN3, while DN3-2A was initially not raced.

It is at this point that the identities became muddled, something which has been researched by Allen Brown of Oldracingcars.com and conclusively explained in the dossier which accompanies the car. It continued to be raced through the 1970s and ’80s, under the chassis number of DN3B-5A.

In late 1991 it was bought by Dave Swigler and the car moved to Florida. In 2011 the DN3 was acquired by the current owner, still wearing the DN3B-5A plate, in very good complete but out of use condition. Scott Drnek of Virtuoso Performance in California was tasked with bringing the car up to racing condition. The restoration work was guided by a remit of wanting the car to be reliable, fun to drive and historically accurate

The majority of components, including the bodywork, were found to be in good condition. Certified crack testing was undertaken on stressed components, new bag tanks were made, engine rebuilt, gearbox rebuilt by PDS in England with more user friendly and readily available internals, new seat belts and fire system were fitted, and the restoration was finished in 2014. It has since been raced at the Rolex Reunion at Laguna Seca and also the Mexican Grand Prix support races.

The Shadow is currently for sale with WIlliam I’Anson

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