“Shadow: The magnificent machines of a man of mystery” reviewed

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Clearly, 2020 has been a year to remember for all the wrong reasons. In that context, the arrival of a
monster coffee-table book about a niche sports car racer and largely midfield Formula 1 team, which
hasn’t turned a wheel since 1980, has at least partially restored my faith in humanity.

Pete Lyons is perfectly placed to tell the story of Shadow, one of the more innovative marques of its era, crucially securing access to the enigmatic Don Nichols and many of the other key people from both the American and British sides of the operation.

The story is well-paced, with a proportionate level of coverage for the Cam-Am and sports car, F1 and Formula 5000 endeavours. Although it feels like the balance of enthusiasm, not least from Nicholls himself, lies more in the sports car arena.

Chronologically covering the Shadow story – technical summaries and interviews, weaved around race by race summaries – there is very little here that is left untold. The latter days of the F1 team, and its descent into obscurity, not unsurprisingly doesn’t get masses of coverage.

This was a team which saw terrific highs and terrible lows. In 1977 alone it suffered the death of emerging star Tom Pryce in a gruesome crash at Kyalami, then a breakthrough victory for his replacement
a title=’Alan Jones’ href=’/f1-information/whos-who/whos-who-j/alan-jones/’>Alan Jones.

What really makes this worth the price of admission is the super technical and photographic archive deployed throughout – giving a great opportunity to see up close just how innovative some of the cars were. The overall level of production and design makes the book feel like an event.

You really don’t need this review to tell you whether or not to buy the book or not – if you’re a collector, complete-ist and lover of fine motorsport books it should already be on your shelves or heading there. My only complaint is it left he wanting more – a similar publication about Tyrrell or RAM or Hesketh perchance?

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Rating five out of five

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“Shadow: The magnificent machines of a man of mystery”

Author: Pete Lyons
Publisher: Evro
Published: 2020
Pages: 448
Price: £75.00
ISBN: 9781910505496

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Ben Evans
Motorsport commentator Ben is RaceFans' resident bookworm. Look out for his verdict on the latest motor racing publications on Sundays....

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  • 2 comments on ““Shadow: The magnificent machines of a man of mystery” reviewed”

    1. I think it’s Don Nichols, with a single ”l”.

    2. fix your Alan Jones tag

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