Top Facts About Tyrrell Six-Wheeler
2. The design was kept a total secret – even from the drivers
After getting Ken Tyrrell’s blessing to press ahead with a prototype design (which was so leftfield that the team dispensed with their usual chassis naming policy in favour of the ‘Project 34’ tag), one of the first things Gardner had to do was convince Goodyear to produce the tiny 10-inch tyres that were so integral to the concept.
The tyre firm were happy to oblige, and were similarly discrete. In fact, the project was kept so secretive that according to Tyrrell pilot Jody Scheckter, the drivers didn’t even know what the team were working on.
Such stealth tactics ensured that when the car was finally revealed to the wider world jaws predictably hit the ground. Renowned F1 journalist Denis Jenkinson was one of the first to see the P34 in the flesh. “When Ken Tyrrell rings you up and says: ‘Can you come over, I’ve got something to show you’, you don’t ask: ‘What?’ or ‘Why?’” recalled Jenkinson in his book Jenks: A Passion for Motorsport.
“I got on my motorcycle and rode over to Ken’s house in West Clandon, and after a welcoming cup of coffee he said: ‘Come out into the garden’. Totally unprepared for what to expect, I followed him out to the lawn and my mouth fell open, and a look of total disbelief came upon my face. Ken roared with laughter as I stood there speechless…”