Dennison International

Tyrrell F1 1971

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Tyrrell Chassic #004
Stewart's upgraded secondary car, 004, was taken to every Grand Prix in 1972, including Monaco where Stewart preferred to use it over 003. He challenged for second in the car during the race before uncharacteristically spinning again, and settling for fourth. It was later learned that the Champion had been fighting an ulcer all along, and didn't know it.
 
004 saw its next race at the French Grand Prix, with home-town F3 Favorite (and later Tyrrell works driver) Patrick Depailler. On the circuit which was falling apart, Depailler unfortunately picked up a puncture, but in the days before routine or mandatory pit stops, drove on to finish the race.
 
When you see John Dimmer and John Delane blast by in their twin Tyrrell Formula Ones, you've got to ask yourself is it live or is it Memorex? After six months of painstaking research, the two have carefully recreated the 1971 Elf Team Tyrrell down to the last detail, from specially made decals on the cars to the patches on their powder blue vintage looking suits. (The only detail lacking is Jackie Stewart's and Francois Cevert's trademark flowing 70's hairstyles... which you wouldn't notice under the helmets anyway.) 
 
Dimmer's passion for the Tyrrell runs deep. "This car is representative to me of what Grand Prix racing is. When I think about what epitomizes Formula One for me, it is Jackie Stewart in the tartan helmet driving a Tyrrell Formula One car. When I saw this thing, it just clicked. It was automatic. Before acquiring the car, I don't know if ever consciously thought about that. But once I actually saw the car, physically saw it, all of a sudden everything came flooding back and I went, 'This is it. This is Formula One racing.' The fun thing about Formula One racing is that it depends on when you first fell in love with that form of racing and who was driving the cars, who was your hero, what teams did you like. And you find that the great thing is because of the variance of ages; that runs the gamut. I have a friend in the series, Richard Griot, who just acquired a Ferrari 312T4 that was Gilles  Villenueve's car. And you talk with Richard and he is just as passionate about his Ferrari as I am about my Tyrrell. What an absolute thrill to be able to acquire the racing car that for you epitomizes the sport."
 
The Tyrrell that caught Dimmer's eye was chassis  #002 owned by John Delane, run by François Cevert in '71 and '72. Dimmer's crew chief happened to have a Christies catalog and showed him the picture of  Tyrrell # 004 up for auction that weekend, an ex-Jackie Stewart car (#001 is owned by the Tyrrell family and  #003 -- the car in which Stewart won the '71 championship, presented to Stewart when he retired in 1973 -- is on display at the Donington Museum). Tyrrell  #004 was a  spare car built for Stewart in late '71 and was driven by Stewart in the Monaco GP in 1972 and  Patrick Depailler in the 1972 U.S. and French GP's. "I had no intention of buying a Formula One car when I came down there. I already had the Brabham. But I looked at this Tyrrell and it was a spectacular car."
 
However, his opinion changed when he saw it at the auction. "This car looked like it was right out of the back 40 of somebody's junkyard," says Dimmer. The front tires were not inflated, the engine was not mounted to the tub, the gearbox was not mounted to the engine, the rear wheels were not on the car. On one side an upright was not mounted on the car and the rear wing was in a crate. "There were plenty of rumors floating around the auction that it was not a complete car. We did our research; we thought that there was a complete car there. We thought that everything looked like it was in pretty good shape. So I bought the car." 
 
Their assessment was right; the car was complete. Butch  Dennison heads up that operation and Dimmer says, "I have a hard time thinking that there is anybody in the world that does a finer job than Butch Dennison." The Tyrrell's first outing was the 2001 Pre Historics the weekend prior to the Monterey Historics. "When we rolled it out here at Monterey it was really interesting to see the number of people that came up to talk with me and said, 'Wow, what a great car. I was bidding on it last year.'" Dimmer found out that bidders included Danny Sullivan and HGP's Jim Busby. "Now that they've seen it all restored, people were coming up to me and saying, 'Gee, that car looks beautiful, are you interested in selling?'" No way. According to Dimmer, not only did it look good, it was "fabulous to drive." 
 
"Hands down, the Tyrrell has been the easiest car I've ever driven," effuses Dimmer. "The Cosworth DFV engine is phenomenal. When you get to 8000 rpm, it's like slicing through butter. All of a sudden, everything comes on full song and the engine goes, 'this is where I like to run.' It feels so good. The second session I was out in the car, I set the fastest lap of my entire race weekend. So I came to grips with it very quickly and just absolutely love it." Dimmer adds that because he and Stewart have very similar physiques, "I fit unbelievably well in the Tyrrell (the seat was made for Stewart and even has Stewart's name on it). The car just fits me like a glove."
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