Paint It Black:
The Story of Don Nichols and Shadow Racing
By John Nikas and Richard Harman
Written with unprecedented access to the company records, private letters, personal notes, renderings, drawings and photo albums that Don Nichols had compiled throughout his life, dozens of personal interviews and exhaustive research into previously unavailable primary source material, Paint it Black provides a compelling account of the true story behind these remarkable racing cars and the individuals that created them.
From his difficult childhood, heroic service as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division during the Second World War and time in the Far East afterward, the authors give a comprehensive review of Don Nichols’ motorsports and manufacturing career, including his later work in responding to myriad transportation problems with inventive solutions that still resonate in the 21st century.
Founded initially as Advanced Vehicle Systems in 1968, Shadow Racing entered competition in the Can-Am series with the revolutionary Mk 1, which looked like nothing else on the track with its diminutive front tires and minimal frontal area. After initial teething difficulties and a return to a more conventional design, Shadow eventually dominated the competition, seizing the championship in 1974. By this time, Shadow had also entered the fray in Formula One and Formula 5000, fielding some of the most iconic and attractive racing cars of the era. Despite suffering tragedies that would have doomed lesser organizations, Nichols and company continued their relentless pursuit of victory until reaching the top of the podium.
Illustrated with almost 1000 photographs, most of them never seen before, Shadow’s entire racing history is chronicled, seen through the eyes of names like Jackie Oliver, Brian Redman, Jean Pierre Jarrier, Peter Revson, Tom Pryce, Graham Hill, Vic Elford and George Follmer. Equally fascinating are the stories behind Nichols’ involvement with Japan motorsport, his efforts to produce an early hybrid automobile and innovative military vehicles, utterly refusing to enter a placid retirement in his later years.
Paint it Black includes over 300,000 words, more than 800 images and several appendices that cover the competition history and specifications of the various models.