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  Article Image gallery (35) AF1/01 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1974
Numbers built:1
Designed by:Gordon Fowell
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:August 04, 2016
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAlmost as unlucky as he was skilful, particularly in Grand Prix racing, Chris Amon decided to take matters into his own hands for the 1974 Formula 1 World Championship. He had just had a dreadful season with hopelessly unreliable Tecno and reckoned things could not get any worse. He attracted funding from British businessman John Dalton and tasked Gordon Fowell to design a brand new 'Amon' Grand Prix car. Amon had worked with Fowell the year before, when he designed the one-off Tecno-Goral, which Amon claimed was the best chassis he had ever sat in.

For the new Amon AF101, Fowell laid down a conventional aluminium monocoque that to some extent resembled the contemporary McLaren M23. The chassis was built for the small team by specialist John Thompson. It was designed to accept the Cosworth DFV engine and Hewland gearbox as fully stressed members of the chassis. The car was not wholly conventional as it featured torsion bar springs, which were actuated by pull-rods at the front. The car was clothed in a body designed by British professor Tom Boyce.

Early testing ahead of the 1974 at Goodwood and Silverstone showed the car needed work as on both occasions a wheel and the odd other bit came off. The beefed up AF101 made its first public appearance during the Daily Express International Trophy at Silverstone, although Amon would not actually start the race. The much delayed debut finally came at the Spanish Grand Prix, for which Amon qualified 23rd. He had struggled with vibration from the car's in-board rear brake discs and eventually was forced to retire when a brake shaft broke.

Skipping the Belgian Grand Prix, Amon re-appeared at Monaco for which he qualified 20th. Sadly, he could not start the race due to a hub failure. For the German Grand Prix, Amon fell ill and Larry Perkins served as his substitute. He failed to qualify and a recovered Amon suffered the same fate at Monza. This was the final straw for Amon and he disbanded his team. The 'Kiwi' would compete in the final two Grands Prix of the season for the BRM team, which by that time was already past its prime.

The 1974 season was very typical for Chris Amon's Formula 1 career and character. He had been offered in a Grand Prix winning Brabham BT44 by Bernie Ecclestone but refused it out of loyalty to his own people. This probably was the last chance for the hugely talented Amon to clinch a World Championship F1 race but ultimately he would go into history as the best driver never to win a Grand Prix. The Amon AF101 was retired to a German museum and Gordon Fowell would never design an F1 car again.

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  Article Image gallery (35) AF1/01 Specifications