Jacksonville, FL — Even a half century after the first Shadow made its competition debut in the opening round of the 1970 Can-Am season, the cars retain their popularity. Now the 2021 Amelia Island Concours is planning a fitting tribute to the 1974 Can-Am Champion and 1977 Austrian GP winner with a special class of the marque’s winners and its original radical racer –- the AVS Shadow Mk I, from the 1970 season.
George Follmer was the driver who bravely qualified the AVS Mk I in sixth position for the 1970 season opener at Mosport. It lasted 24 laps.
The car never finished a race during the 1970 season. Every modification took the Mk I further from designer Trevor Harris’ original minimalist ultra-low frontal area concept.
Vic Elford (Amelia’s 2012 Honoree) was brought in to tame the tiny terror, but ended up claiming it was a car he should have never driven. Ti22 Designer Peter Bryant was hired to put things right. His Shadow Mk II of 1971 looked a bit more conventional and behaved better. Le Mans winner Jackie Oliver arrived from Bryant’s Ti22 Can-Am team to fill the vacant seat. But the most important component of the low-line Bryant-designed Mk II was the acquisition of a new sponsor: UOP — Universal Oil Products — whose logo and livery were a perfect match for Shadow’s pleasingly sinister graphics that gave the Shadow a strong visual presence on Can-Am and F1 grids.
As the Can-Am succumbed to the economic pressures of the 1973 oil embargo, Shadow creator Don Nichols didn’t. New Shadows to combat the turbocharged Porsches were created. And so was a Shadow Formula 1 racer. Tony Southgate designed the first F1 Shadow and the final Shadow Can-Am challenger, the graceful and elegant DN4. Powered by a thunderous Chevy V8 but incorporating many lessons learned from Formula 1, The DN4 won the championship and all but the final race of the original “unlimited” Can-Am season in 1974.
“Shadow belongs to an elite group of race car builders,” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. “Shadow is the sole American Can-Am Champion. And only the Shadow, McLaren and Porsche marques have won races in both the original unlimited Can-Am and a World Championship Formula 1 Grand Prix.”
“Brian Redman raced for Shadow and summed it up best by saying, ‘I think they should be remembered with considerable honor.’ And that’s what we’re going to do on May 23,” said Warner.