Bell bottoms, big tires – F1 in the early 1970s

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As a child of the Seventies, I’m still fascinated by F1 cars of the early part of the decade. Cars like the 1973 McLaren M23 (above and below), decked out in Yardley’s classic livery or Chesterfield branding (in red, below).

Elf brought French blue to the 1970 March 701 (third below), which Tyrrell raced briefly while the team set out to build its first car (in secret!). Like a lot of you, I first heard Jackie Stewart’s voice on ABC’s broadcast of the Indy 500. My respect for Jackie led to an abiding love for Tyrrell and his non-corporate approach to F1.

The 1970 Ferrari 312 (bottom) was fast, with three wins in the hands of Jacky Ickx, but it couldn’t take the title from Lotus. All of these cars were designed at the dawn of the “aero” era, and they don’t look as if they were designed by a computer based on wind tunnel metrics. Think of bell bottoms, Ray Bans, fat rear tires, and wide-open racing. And the drivers: three-time world champion Stewart, six-time Le Mans winner Ickx, and the dashing, doomed Revson.

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Tyrell 007 as driven by Jody Scheckter:

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