When I created the ROUE watch brand, I was inspired by an era of some of the most iconic race car designs that have ever existed. One such car that captured my imagination as a youth is the Tyrell P34, a one-of-a-kind Formula One race car, with its signature six wheels.
Even though it achieved decent results in its first year of action in 1976, the P34 never made it beyond 1978 finish line. But that didn’t keep it from becoming a sought-after relic in the world of race cars.
Designed by Tyrell’s chief designer Derek Gardner, one of his main challenges was to convince Goodyear to produce the tiny 10-inch tires which were so central to his project. Goodyear happily complied, paving the way for this unique car to make it onto the race tracks. Even though the car’s six wheels certainly made it look peculiar, the reasons behind this unconventional idea had to do with performance enhancement. Not only did it improve the car’s speed, it also helped improve its aerodynamics.
The P34 reached its apex in the Swedish Grand Prix in 1976 when both of Tyrell’s pilots, Jody Scheckter and Patrick Depailler, finished in 1st and 2nd place respectively. Curiously enough, despite its good results, pilot Jody Scheckter was quoted calling it a “piece of junk”! Despite its short lifespan, the “six-wheeler” had style as memorable as we intend our watches to have. Here’s to the P34!