Chevron B8 Ford 1600 BO8-DBE56
1968 Barrie bought the last Lotus 23b chassis they made at Lotus plus a Vegantune twin cam, with the view of making an Alan Fowler Mercury special. He then realised that making a Mercury was way beyond the capabilities of Avalon team in the time left before the start of the 1968 season. So a B8 rolling chassis and gearbox was ordered from Derek Bennett at Chevron to be fitted with the Vegantune Ford engine.
It was an unusual but excellent combination. B8s were fitted with 2 litre BMW engines as standard, the 1600 Ford unit seemed just as powerful.
This car won first time out at Brands Hatch and broke the lap record. Chris Craft recently told Barrie that the Chevron B8 was the best handling car he had ever driven and Stirling Moss is reputed to have said the same when he first drove a B8 in the eighties.
The Chevron B8 was a great car in which Barrie won 18 races in 1968. The Tootle GT Championship for 1600cc cars.
"Paul Watson of MRC called me to say there was a really good race in Jyllandsringen The Danish GP."
It was Barrie’s first international race in August 1968. A late entry put in under Jac Nellerman’s accessory firm called Car Plus.
A top field of International GT racers were entered so no one was more surprised than Jac when the practice times were pretty good.
At the end of the five heats which made up the “Danish Grand Prix” Barrie had prevailed against all the odds. John Woofle, who wrote the Autosport report said “Barrie Smith was the star of the Danish GP, in a class of his own”
In 1969 Barrie sold B8-DBE56 to David Purley.
The car then went with Dave Brodie to Barbados and was raced there. Dave sold it to Mike Mahon who then sold to Haynes. It was then kept for years in a chicken shed.
B8-DBE56 was then brought back to the UK in the early 80s and stored here since then not having been raced since 1972.
B8-DBE56 has now been acquired by Chris Smith and it is now at his CHEVRON HERITAGE workshop as the long and careful restoration of this historic car begins. Although needing a total rebuild it is absolutely original, even down to the bodywork.
(Details of Barrie Smith's ownership from the "Barrie Smith's Racing Times"
All pictures: Chris Smith