SHADOW The magnificent machines of a man of mystery
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by Pete Lyons
Enigmatic American Don Nichols, D-Day paratrooper, Army counter-intelligence officer and controversial entrepreneur, went on to create a racing marque that seems as cloaked as the man himself. Shadow was the only US-based team to win a Can-Am championship, and one of only three to score a victory in Formula 1. Yet history lavishly celebrates his nominal rivals Dan Gurney and Roger Penske, while Nichols has long remained, yes, a shadowy figure — despite staying the difficult international course far longer, for 11 racing seasons, 1970 to 1980. But at last Pete Lyons, who was there in the day, lifts the veil from this secretive man and the innovative, extraordinary, magnificent racing cars and world-class team he created.’
- First-ever book revealing the whole story of the iconic ‘black’ Shadows and the Shadowman who made it all happen.
- Coverage of the Can-Am years occupies the book’s first half, starting with the jaw-droppingly radical, low-line car of 1970 and culminating in the championship winner of 1974.
- Formula 1, 1973–80, fills the book’s second half, highlighted by Alan Jones’s 1977 Austrian Grand Prix victory.
- Also included are sections on Shadow’s Formula 5000 and second-generation Can-Am efforts.
- Author Pete Lyons, an award-winning racing journalist and historian, covered Shadow from the team’s very first race in 1970.
- The text is based on the author’s extensive interviews with the late Don Nichols and many other key members of his organisation, including famed drivers George Follmer and Jackie Oliver as well as brilliant car designers Trevor Harris and Tony Southgate.
- Publication is timed to coincide with Shadow’s 50th anniversary in 2020.
- Big, beautiful and packed with facts and anecdotes, the book is lavishly illustrated with period and recent photography.
Publication: June 2020
UK price: £75.00
Page extent: 464
Illustration: over 500 photos, many in colour
In 1970 Pete Lyons, then a journalist reporting on North America’s famed ‘no-rules’ Can-Am series, covered Shadow’s début race. Three seasons later, now following Formula 1 worldwide, he attended Shadow’s first Grand Prix and witnessed the team’s progress through four seasons. Lyons’s continuing career has included prestigious positions with publications such as Autosport, AutoWeek, Car and Driver, Road & Track and Vintage Motorsport, and he also served as staff editor of the monthly RACECAR. Among 15 books published to date, his Can-Am (1995) was a bestseller and earned one of his two Dean Batchelor awards from the Motor Press Guild for Excellence in Journalism. Most recently, his Lotus 72 (Evro, 2019) has been very well received.
“Oh, oh, oh! More than any other book – even Doug Nye’s still-awaited volumes on the 3-litre H16 and V12 BRMs – this is the one I’ve always wanted to read. The real, unadulterated inside story of my all-time favourite race team.
“It’s so appropriate that the wonderful narrative in this long-awaited tome is written in Pete Lyons’ inimitable style, which I so remember from the early years of my love affair with F1. And not just because of those memories, but because Pete was there when Shadow ran in both F1 and the CanAm, where the story really started, and later in Formula 5000. And because he knew Don Nichols, that most mysterious of men, very well and succeeded in getting him to open up on so many key aspects of the story….
“Photographically the book is just as much a tour de force, with superb reproduction of hundreds of rarely seen black and white and colour images…
“For sure, this is one of the most outstanding books of 2020, and one of Lyons’ all-time best.”
David Tremayne, GrandPrix+
“For nearly a dozen years, an American racing team helmed by an ex-paratrooper and former counter-espionage agent competed at the highest level of Can-Am and Formula One racing. The team was called Shadow, its mascot was a spy, and its leader was the tall and secretive Don Nichols, fluent in Japanese and skilled at judo. A half-century of half-truths and misinformation later, a new book is shedding light on Shadow, even as the team’s cars run again at Road America. It’s one of the greatest racing stories never before told.”
Road & Track
“This beautifully produced book justifies its $99 price… its combination of extraordinarily detailed text and superb illustrations make it an essential buy for any student of Can Am and/or Formula One history… Pete Lyons tells us the story of innovation, showmanship, expertise, tragedy, betrayal and the occasional success, and he tells it beautifully.”
speedreaders.com (John Aston)
“To say I devoured this amazing book with gusto is an understatement. Lyons’ enlightening but colorful words that have graced six prior historical accounts in motorsport, including the original book on Can-Am from the late-1980s, and complete illustrations and photos will make it very hard to put down once you crack the cover. I was not disappointed. With the best authors, you come to expect a certain quality – Lyons delivers.”
journal.classiccars.com (Tom Stahler)
“Pete Lyons reported on Shadow’s Can-Am and Formula 1 entries in their time so he has an insight into the cars on track, but more importantly Don Nichols sat down with him late in life to create this handsome biography… This we have the first-hand account interweaved with the written record… This makes a great read, and as Nichols died in 2017, it’s probably also the final word.”
“Big, beautiful and packed full of facts and anecdotes, and lavishly illustrated with period photographs… This is the first book to reveal the entire story of the iconic ‘black’ Shadows and the Shadowman who made it all happen.”
ourmanbehindthewheel.com (Simon Burrell)
“Who better to tell the story of the iconic Shadow race cars and Don Nichols, the man who created them, than a veteran motorsports writer and photographer who was at the car’s debut in 1970?”
“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 me wanting more.”
“This is an ambitious book, but Lyons marshals his material deftly, his race summaries have a light touch which make them not only easy to absorb, but also leave the reader keen to know what happened next, such is the author’s skill at drawing his audience into the story. The work is punctuated by extensive interviews with individuals central to the plot. Particularly notable are contributions from designer Tony Southgate and from Shadow’s long-time driver Jackie Oliver whose exasperation with Nichols finally contributed to his leaving and establishing the rival Arrows team. But the most revealing interview is undoubtedly with Penny, Nichols’s third child who worked with him on the Shadow project and again twenty years later.”
Guild of Motoring Writers
“Pete Lyons has managed to make this hefty 464-pager both a marque history and a biography of the man behind the cars… A fascinating, engrossing read, beautifully executed.”
“The Shadow story deserves to be told and Pete Lyons has done a superb job of getting behind the scenes of a man who revelled in being enigmatic. The fact that Lyons had the opportunity to sit down with Nichols over a considerable time, close to the end of his life, gives you the feeling that Nichols wanted to tell the tales from his point of view.”
dailysportscar.com (Paul Tarsey)
“Any title written by Pete Lyons is required reading, and this comprehensive study should sit with the finest marque histories by Doug Nye, Mark Dees and Denis Jenkinson. That Lyons witnessed this era adds authority, but his style brings the story to life… A pertinent tribute.”
Classic & Sports Car (Book of the Month)
“The esteemed Pete Lyons… [is] a living link to the fabled Can-Am’s history and a cohort of the Shadowman. Nobody but Lyons could have pulled off this huge biography with such authority and affection. This is a great book about the kind of guy this country doesn’t often produce anymore.”