LOT 70 – 1970 Chevron Ford B17C Formula 2 Single Seat Racing Car

Finishes: 08:00 pm Wednesday 9th January 2019 – Click here to bid

  • The Ex-works, Reine Wisell Formula 2 machine
  • ‘One of one’ built
  • Extensively campaigned in Historic F2
  • Eligible for a raft of high profile historic race meetings
  • On the button and ready to race
  • Documented history from Day 1

Finishes: 08:00 pm Wednesday 9th January 2019 – Click here to bid


“Meanwhile we hear that Swede Reine Wisell, who together with Ronnie Peterson, Tim Schenken and Emerson Fittipaldi dominated F3 last year, will be joining his sparing partners in F2.” Autosport, March 12th 1970.

Luckily for us, and we suspect you, we have already listed for auction a Chevron B15 Formula 3 machine (Lot 69), so we won’t waste your time banging on about the importance of the junior formulae for the young racer aspiring to reach Formula 1 but the logical steps are clearly as simple as (F) 3, 2, 1. If you have already boned up on the B15 then the B17 was simply the next forward step for Chevron as their 1970 Formula 3 offering and very successful it was too.

The issue Chevron had going into the 1970 season was that the Formula 3 class of 1969, if they were going to keep progressing, now needed to be on the next step of the ladder. The success of the B15 meant two things; strong demand for the B17 and a loyal group of Chevron drivers keen to make the move into Formula 2 with their manufacturer of choice.

With the factory flat out screwing B17s together, not to mention then having to repair them along with a significant number of still competitive B15s, Derek Bennet and his team had little spare time to design and build a bespoke Formula 2 car though the B18 model name was already assigned to the project. With the B18 looking unlikely to break cover until late in the 1970 season, pressure was applied to the factory, not least by Works Driver Reine Wisell, to come up with something to fill the gap and the B17C was born. Essentially a strengthened version of the B17 designed to not only handle the increased power of the Formula 2 Cosworth FVA engine but also take advantage of the bigger brakes, stickier tyres and aerodynamics allowed by the more senior formula. The increased thirst of the larger engine and longer race distances meant a larger fuel capacity would be required and additional tanks were fitted which when clad in sheet steel further improved chassis rigidity.

With the B18 clearly the long term solution for Chevron, just two B17Cs were produced; one for their Golden Boy Wisell (Chassis Number F2-70-1) as the Works Formula 2 entry, the car offered here, and a second machine for Steve Thompson which ran in Formula Libre specification with an 1800cc Cosworth FVC power unit. It must be said that with just two cars produced and only one of those run in Formula 2, the individual histories of the B17Cs is somewhat easier to trace than that of a B15 for example!

Much has been written about the success, or rather lack of it, that Wisell had with the B17C in the early part of the 1970 season and it is probably fair to say they didn’t set the circuits alight. After a promising start in the Thruxton Easter Monday meeting where he went out in the final avoiding an errant John Watson, a 14th place finish at the Nurburgring hardly constituted a stellar season (or half season as it turned out). However, one should bear in mind that the car was being run on a shoestring budget supplemented by Wisell’s Scandinavian personal sponsors ‘Publicator’ (who depending on who you talk to were either publishers of ‘racy’ magazines or an advertising company) and as a result testing and development were limited and reliability poor. Interestingly with time and presumably budget to develop his car properly, Thompson was utterly dominant in the BOC Formula Libre Championship that season, taking fourteen wins and one second place; perhaps there was not all that much wrong with the design after all. The Factory did attempt some limited development work on Chassis Number 1 resulting in alternative pick-up points for the suspension which are still evident on the car today (please see the photo gallery).