Jody Scheckter is best known for winning the 1979 Formula One World Driver's Championship. But he also spent time driving the six-wheeled Tyrrell P34, possibly the most bizarre F1 car of all time. Now, Scheckter is selling his personal P34, an original chassis built into a full-on, working race car in 2008.

While the P34 originally raced during the 1976 and 1977 seasons, this one's relatively short history means it presents in excellent condition. "Chassis 8" is paired to a correct Ford-Cosworth DFV 3.0-liter V8 engine.

Gallery: Tyrrell P34 Replica RM Sotheby's Auction

The P34's odd, six-wheeled design resulted from the creative thinking of Tyrrell technical director Derek Gardner. He figured that he could package smaller wheels below the wing. The second set of rubber would make up for the tinier size's reduced contact patch. There would also be reduced drag compared to the air flowing over the taller tires competitors used.

Gardner also guessed that having two more wheels would result in better braking. In the real world, racing drivers struggled with the layout, though. "The braking was supposed to be better: well, it was when you were braking in a straight line, but as soon as you turned in, the little wheels slid, and you had to come off the pedal, so there was no advantage there,” Scheckter told Motor Sport magazine in 2008, according to a story published on Formula1.com.

Despite the design weaknesses, the P34 found success on the track. Scheckter drove the car to its only outright victory at the 1976 Swedish Grand Prix. He and teammate Patrick Depailler had a total of 10 podium finishes that season, including coming in second and third, respectively, at the Monaco Grand Prix. Unfortunately, 1977 didn't go as well, with only four podiums for the team.

A neat touch in the cabin is the clear panels cut into the body so drivers can see the tires. The portholes allowed the driver to better position the car while cornering and gauge tire wear. 

Tyrrell P34 Replica RM Sotheby's Auction
Tyrrell P34 Replica RM Sotheby's Auction

Scheckter's car looks like it was built to 1976 specs, going by the brake-cooling NACA ducts on the front wing. Tweaks for the 1977 season included a revised design with large mesh panels.

Since this P34 isn't a genuine race-used item, the new buyer has less of a reason to leave the car in the garage as a collector's item and lots of incentive to take it to the track. It'll go up for auction in May at RM Sotheby's sale in Monaco, with an estimated price of $490,000 to $700,000 with no reserve.

 
Got a tip for us? Email: tips@motor1.com