In 1968 Barrie bought the last Lotus 23b chassis made at Lotus with the view of making a Mercury special but then realised that making a special car was way beyond the capabilities of Avalon Racing team in the time left before the start of the 1968 season. So a new Chevron B8 rolling chassis and gearbox was ordered from Derek Bennett at Chevron to be fitted with the Vegantune Ford Twin-cam engine.
It was an unusual but excellent combination. B8s were fitted with 2 litre BMW engines as standard.
This car won first time out at Brands Hatch and broke the lap record. Chris Craft recently told Barrie that the Chevron B8 was the best handling car he had ever driven, Stirling Moss is reputed to have said the same when he first drove a B8 in the eighties. The Chevron B8 was a great car in which Barrie won 18 races in 1968 and won the Tootle GT Championship for 1600cc cars.
Barrie said: “Paul Watson of MRC called me to say there was a really good race in Jllandsringen near Silkeborg in Denmark, the Danish GP”.
It was Barrie’s first international race in August 1968. It was a late entry put in under Jac Nellerman’s accessory firm called Car Plus. With a top field of International GT racers, no one was more surprised than Jac when the practice times were pretty good.
At the end of the five heats which made up the “Danish Grand Prix” Barrie had prevailed against all the odds. John Woofle, who wrote the Autosport report said “Barrie Smith was the star of the Danish GP, in a class of his own”.
Those who look closely will find a picture of John Blades and a great Promo Girl in the photo section. Her name is Brita Nielsen, very lovely she is too.