Page 1 of 2 Next >> From the late 1950s, Derek Bennett made a modest living bringing wrecked road and racing cars back to life. Everything he made, Bennett then spent on his own racing cars, which he raced with considerable verve. His driving talent, much larger than he ever cared to admit, did not go unnoticed and he also raced cars for others. Usually these were prepared and/or repaired by Bennett, and often these featured subtle modifications that made them go faster. Some were modified to the extent that they were referred to as Bennett Specials.
Particularly well versed at tuning engines, a skill he honed from a very young age when he raced model airplanes, Bennett was initially hesitant to build and more importantly sell chassis of his own. Having worked on a Brabham F2 car, he realised that even top level racing cars were still relatively straightforward machines. This realisation encouraged him to construct a car of his own design, which, for once, would be free of all the small mistakes he used to re-engineer on chassis constructed by others. The final push came from Brian Classick, who put in the first commission, for a car capable of beating the Lotus 7.
Not a trained engineer and certainly not a draughtsman, Bennett simple started constructing the chassis without a detailed design on paper. Using square-section steel tubing, he created a frame as compact as the regulations allowed. In fact, he accidentally made it so small that he himself could not fit. This was undoubtedly the result of not putting the design on paper before starting the build. Fortunately, Classick had a slighter built and a deal was agreed where he would buy the prototype and also provide funding for the construction of a slightly larger second car that would fit Bennett. Classick had been persuaded by the argument that building two would be more cost efficient.
Using existing components, the front and rear suspension followed conventional lines. Bennett sourced a couple of 1.5-litre Ford engines to power the car. While retaining the reverse-flow head, the 'four' was equipped with a pair of Weber carburettors. Following a wire buck created by Bennett, the majority of the aluminium panels were created by specialists Agnew & Clarke, with the exception of the front fenders, which were recycled from an actual motorbike. This proved a lengthy process, which allowed Bennett ample time to think of a new name for his creation as Bennett Special would no longer do. He eventually settled on Chevron after seeing the chevrons sign on a Highway Code poster. Page 1 of 2 Next >>