12. Amon AF101

S3890 Amon AF101 No. 30, Spanish GP 1974 – Chris Amon

When the Italian racing team Tecno had to stop the business by the end of 1973, Chris Amon didn’t have a lot of prospects to work on in the formula 1. Therefore and because Amon had already constructed own cars some years ago, he decided to found an own formula 1 team. As a constructer Amon decided for the British Gordon Fowell who he got out of the bankrupt’s assets. A risky step as to be seen later. But Amon trusted Fowell and let him construct a new car out of the Tecno P123B. Amon’s optimism was unbroken. “Fowell is new in the business”, defended the New Zealand guy his decision at that time, “but because he is new there are a lot of new ideas he can include in this project.” No sooner said than done! And some of them were not too bad. Inboard brakes, torsion bar suspension and fuel tank positioned in the middle. Already during the first tests it turned out that the AF101 was very fragile. As the budget for a further development was tight, Amon who was driving by himself, decided to just strengthen some parts of the car instead of equipping it with new parts. “At the end it had the effect that the car got too heavy,” stated Amon. Amon’s first stint was the race in Goodwood. There it was a wheel that was coming off. The same happened during the second try in Silverstone. Also the ideas of aerodynamics expert Prof. Tom Boyce had no impact on the AF101. Bizarre wing constructions were nothing unusual. The only Grand Prix the Kiwi could qualify with a 23rd position is the Spanish GP. During the race Amon suffered from strong vibrations. These vibrations led to a collapse of the suspension in the 22nd lap after the break shaft had already failed. Amon was also participating in the Grand Prix of Monaco, Germany and Italy, but no matter what was changed on the car, the AF101 stayed too slow. After Monza the nowadays 71 year old Amon gave up the business. The team was bankrupt. But one question remains open: Why the color light blue was chosen? Amon is laughing: “I was looking at the formula 1 teams and thought by myself: No one is driving in light blue. So, why not us?”

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