CHEVRON is the story of Derek Bennett, an ordinary man with an extraordinary talent, who started out mending road cars in a lock-up garage in the back streets of Salford, Northern England, and became one of the world’s leading builders of racing cars.
A quiet, unassuming and immensely practical man, Derek designed and built racing cars that looked like racing cars were supposed to look, and that were almost guaranteed to win races. The success story of the Chevron marque became closely entwined with the success of the drivers who raced the cars – no fewer than six of whom went on to become Formula 1 world champion.
Derek was the irrepressible driving force behind the wheel of Chevron Cars and he commanded the undying respect and loyalty of his workforce and drivers. His lack of any formal qualifications made his natural genius all the more impressive, and when he combined his intuitive engineering abilities with his skills as a racing driver, the results were formidable.
The modern-day fairy tale of Derek’s rise to the top came to an abrupt end on 22 March 1978 when he died after a freak hang gliding accident, but the Chevron legend that he created lives on.
Around the world enthusiasts still restore, treasure and race Chevrons. The appeal of the cars goes beyond nostalgia as historic events continue to win them admirers too young to have watched them race in their heyday.
But the Chevron mystique continues to be as much about their creator as about the cars themselves. Derek Bennett was the essence of Chevron cars and his spirit lives on through them. To own, drive or simply watch a Chevron now is to taste a little of the unlikely story of those heady days in the 1960s and 1970s when a self-taught designer built racing cars in a former cotton mill in industrial Lancashire and sent them out to beat the best in the world.
Derek Bennett was an inspiration to all those who knew him and I am proud that this book continues to play its part in keeping his memory alive.
– David Gordon, August 2018
“He was outstanding as an intuitive engineer. I had a high regard for him.”
“I admired him greatly. He was a wonderful bloke.”