The first Chaparral (Mk I) was designed and built by Troutman and Barnes of Southern California, the creators of Lance Reventlow’s Scarabs. Hall initially funded the project, but soon devoted his considerable engineering talents to developing the car into a consistent race winner.
Photo: Casey Annis
The first Chaparral, the front-engine car, wasn’t my design, that was done by Dick Troutman and Tom Barnes. They came to me and said that they wanted to build this car, and that they felt they had learned a lot building the Scarab and wanted to follow on from that project. They asked if I was interested, so I went to their place, which was a long way away from me in Texas, and I looked at their drawings and sketches. I said I thought it was a good idea and that we should do it, so I committed to buying two of them. They originally were going to call it the Riverside, but I came up with the name Chaparral, and they agreed to change the name to Chaparral. They were happy for me to name it.
I had a small amount of input at the beginning of the project, but not really very much. At that stage, I didn’t really see where things were going to go, but I knew when Riverside and Laguna Seca came around—and we went there, and Moss and Brabham showed up with the latest Cooper and Lotus—I could see that not only were they better drivers but they had much better cars. We couldn’t compete with them and I thought we had to find some way of competing with them.
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