36. Ensign N174 1976

S4811 Ensign N174 No.22 Long Beach GP 1976 – Chris Amon

He was one of the most talented racing drivers ever. Five times he led the starting grid, 19 times he stood in the first starting row. Three times he finished second, eight times third along three fastest laps and in total 183 laps in the leading position. But the dream of a GP victory was not coming true for Chris Amon who passed away beginning of August this year. In 1976 was his last year in the pinnacle of motorsport. At the beginning of the season Amon was driving the Ensign N174. As from the Belgian GP he was driving with the successor model N176. Despite inferior material Amon was surprisingly strong. At the Spanish GP in Jarama he was finishing between the two Brabhams and could get two points for a fifth place. He achieved this result with a car which was already more than two years. Amon’s red race car was sponsored from Norris Industries. The head was Jack McCormack, an American entrepreneur, for whom Amon was already driving in his F5000 racing team. Second sponsor was “John Day Model Cars” what shows that model car manufacturers were already interested in the 70ies to be linked with the real car racing. Compared with today the contribution of the British manufacturer was manageable. There are people telling there was no money flow at all. “John Day” has used the sponsoring only to promote his diecast kits in a better way. The change to the N176 was creating another boost for Amon. The car was fast, but unfortunately also fragile. At the Swedish GP he was short behind the 6-wheel-Tyrrell on the way to the podium, when the suspension broke. The final stroke for Amon was the German GP at the Nürburgring. After Lauda’s fire accident he wasn’t able to restart again. Team chef Mo Nunn fired him. In Canada Amon came back one more time: with a Wolf-Williams. He failed to qualify.

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