Six Toy: Tyrrell P34 Attacks Monaco

Remember the days when motorsports wasn’t all about “parity” or “the show,” and wacky, out-of the-box thinking was not only allowed but celebrated? I do (just), and one of the cars that absolutely typify this era is Derek Gardner’s magnum opus of ingenuity, the Tyrrell P34 F1 car, campaigned in 1976 and ’77.
This film, shot during the weekend of the ’77 Monaco Grand Prix, was a multi-camera affair shot by Alain Boisnard for Elf Aquitaine’s promotional department (These and all of Boisnard’s other onboard films in the series were eventually compiled into the epic Murray Walker-narrated program, Lap of the Gods, which is available as a two-disc DVD set with bonus features.) With the cowling removed and the rearward camera mounted high and aimed downwards, we not only get a perfect view of Patrick Depailler as he saws at the wheel, stirs the shifter and dances on the pedals (no flappy paddles here, kids!), but also of the four tiny, Goodyear-shod front wheels steering – and occasionally countersteering – in unison. Oh, and Monsieur Depailler was kind enough to narrate the way around in his native tongue (with subtitles), though even fluent French speakers will probably be more interested in hearing the distinctive bark of the winningest powerplant in F1 history – the Cosworth DFV – as its neck is wrung. So sit back, open a bottle of your engineerd-made adult beverage of choice, and press the ol’ play button.

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  1. joshuman Avatar

    I'm not sure where to begin. Tomsk, you could write several books on the subjects you mention in those two paragraphs. Lap of the Gods is a great show. Netflix doesn't have it though. The Cosworth DFV is an amazing power plant and I'm excited to see Cosworth on the grid again next year. The six-wheeled Tyrrell was a good way to manage airflow around the front of the car but its tires let it down. The removal of the cowling made us able to see Depailler's feet, which is a treat. I notice he brakes with his right foot.

    1. _Tomsk_ Avatar

      Skip renting and just buy it. I haven't done so yet, but I remember watching it when it was shown on Speedvision back in the day and being in awe, particularly of the cars of the turbo era, not so much for the sound they made, but for their clearly-visible ability to launch themselves and their drivers at the horizon as if being strapped to one of God's sneezes.
      Oh, and "narrated by Murray Walker" should be recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary as a synonym for "win."

  2. engineerd Avatar

    Wild. Just absolutely wild. F1 engineers nowadays probably look at that and think one of two things: "What an insane setup! What about bearings for the higher revs of the small tires? What about rolling resistance from 4 front tires instead of 2? What about the extra weight of the suspension?" or "Man, I wish we were allowed to do crazy crap like that."
    Maybe they think both.
    Oh, and the recommended pairing for this video is the Hooniverse-brand brefass scotch infused with insanity. Mmmm…almost like being in that padded cell again!

  3. Online Avatar

    funny post, good work.