This is indeed a photo of a rare car – the AVS Shadow Mk. 1 in the pits during practice for its initial competition appearance at the CanAm race at Mosport on June 14, 1970. The Shadow was an attempt to create an innovative design for the CanAm. By the time Mosport came around, there had been some testing of the first two cars but there were many problems with these tiny race cars and AVS was on the ropes financially as well.
The redoubtable George Follmer had been hired to drive the Shadow but in practice he was but sixth fastest and a full 1.9 seconds behind Dan Gurney’s pole time in a works McLaren M8D. The Shadow team was thin at Mosport to say the least, just two mechanics, designer Trevor Harris and team owner Don Nichols who had poured several hundred thousand dollars into the project and was now out of money. In fact, they had left their base in California just ahead of a sheriff who had been authorized to seize the cars.
The scale of the Shadow Mk. 1 can be seen here as Follmer rounds Mosport’s Turn 5A now known as Moss Corner. The tires were of CanAm width but the wheels were small: just 10 inches in diameter in the front and 12 at the rear. This resulted in smaller than desirable brakes in the front which needed better cooling. However, the real cooling problem was with the rear-mounted radiators which did not get sufficient airflow to prevent engine overheating. This was the problem at Mosport which led to the Shadow’s retirement after 24 laps. The team appeared again at St. Jovite’s Circuit Mt. Tremblant two weeks later and overheating again led to an early retirement. There was a final CanAm start at the Mid-Ohio circuit in August with Vic Elford driving but wheel problems would sideline the Shadow Mk. 1 before it could overheat again.
Photos by Bill Fox ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com
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