What: Motorsports discussion with Pete Lyons
When: 6:00 pm (Pacific) on Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Where: A recording of the discussion is embedded below and is available through the SAE Socal YouTube Channel
The Book: SHADOW, The Magnificent Machines of a Man of Mystery

If you were a fan of sports car or formula car racing in the 1970’s one of the magical names was Shadow. Led by the enigmatic Don Nichols, Shadow was an iconic American race team.

Raised as an orphan in Missouri, Nichols left high school before graduation for a long career with the US Army. As a Pathfinder paratrooper he jumped into Normandy before dawn on D-Day, whereupon he promptly sustained wounds — the first of many. 

In later years Captain Nichols served in the Far East as a counterintelligence
officer (and a CIA operative, some say, but the man himself refused to say). He went on to make a fortune in Japanese auto racing … only to spend it all on his American team. 

This born-to-battle man developed a series of competition machines, from the original, startlingly radical “Tiny Tire” Can-Am car through to the beautiful 1974 championship-winning DN4, along with a dozen Formula 1 models. Shadow also competed in F5000 and Center-Seat Can-Am.

Shadow’s best cars were winners: in Can-Am (four races in 1974 along with the championship), in F1 (1977 Grand Prix of Austria) and F5000 (1976 Road America). The cars deserved more, but even the many models that missed victories are memorable. Shadows typically presented a certain distinctive, elegant style, and often their gifted designers introduced new concepts that were quickly copied by rivals. Nor must it be forgotten that the results the team did achieve actually rank it alongside other US rivals who contested those same 3 series: Chaparral, Eagle and Penske. But Shadow never achieved the same acclaim. In this 50th anniversary year of the marque’s debut, time has come to give Shadow the honor that’s long been due, says author Lyons.


The author: Pete Lyons is an award-winning motorsports reporter, photographer, and the author of 18 books on auto racing In his decades-long, worldwide career, he has been a Staff and/or Freelance Contributor of stories and/or pictures to Autosport (UK), AutoWeek, Car and Driver, Car Graphic (Japan), Classic Motorsports, Corvette Quarterly, Cycle, Cycle World, EAA Sport Aviation, Motorsport (UK), On Track, Private Pilot, Road & Track, Racer, Racecar* (nee Formula), Sports Car, Vintage Motorsport, Vintage Racecar and many others in many countries.