1959 Lola Mk1

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1959
  • Chassis number 
    BY-2
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • 0
  • 0
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other
  • 0
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

The ex-Allan Ross, Eric Broadley M.B.E.
1959 Lola Mark 1-Climax Sports-Racing Two-Seater
Chassis no. BY-2

Eric Broadley, now 84, is the doyen of British specialist racing car constructors. Over many years his Lola Cars company reigned as the world's largest competition car manufacturer. This Coventry-Climax FWE engined Lola Mark I – considered by many to be the most definingly pretty and best-proportioned of all front-engined small-capacity sports-racing cars of the 1950s – was actually used in period by Mr Broadley himself, and it is a car which he bought back for nostalgic reasons many years ago, and it is now offered here direct from his long-term ownership. While popular history suggests that Eric Broadley took the name for his initial 1172 Formula sports-racing special from the title of the song popular at that time "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets", it was in fact coined by Eric's cousin Graham because, as he said, whatever Lola wanted, Eric got. Eric himself disliked the proposal and considered changing it, but other requirements took priority. With Eric himself driving, the Lola proved highly successful. His original intention had been just to design, build and race the prototype – he had no intention to build any for sale. For him this was a hobby, not a business opportunity. However, he soon bowed to pressure from would-be customers to build further cars for sale, small-quantity production supplying a growing club racing and International sporting market. During 1959 Peter Ashdown became the leading driver in the 1100cc sports-racing car class, winning the BRSCC Sports Car Championship and shining in the ADAC 1,000Kms World Championship race at the Nurburgring in Germany, until Eric took over and ended their race in a ditch. Peter Ashdown also beat nothing less than Jean Behra's Porsche to win the Tropheed'Auvergne at Clermont-Ferrand. His Lola Mark I–Climax proved the nemesis of the immense Lotus 1 brigade deploying the Colin Chapman-designed car which had dominated that category since its introduction in 1956. Eric Broadley built the early Lola cars in sheet metal specialist Mo Gomm's workshop in Byfleet-this location being reflected by the contemporary Lola chassis number form, as in this fine example – serial 'BY-2'– later cars built in Bromley featuring the chassis prefix 'BR'.The Lola family of cars grew rapidly, with Eric Broadley introducing his first single-seater – the front-engined Formula Junior Lola Mark 2 for 1960, (which Peter Ashdown drove into second place in the Prix Monaco Junior) itself superseded by a rear-engined Lola Mark 3 for 1961. Backed by the Bowmaker finance house, Lola then built a Coventry Climax V8-powered Formula 1 car for multiple motor-cycle World Champion John Surtees – and veteran team-mate Roy Salvadori - to campaign in 1962, the Mark 5A Junior single-seater adopted similarly graceful, beautifully proportioned lines, and in 1963 Broadley launched the Ford V8 rear-engined Lola Mark 6 GT – from which the immortal Ford GT40 family would be derived with his early help. By 1966 Lola Cars Ltd was not only the world's largest manufacturer of specialist racing cars, but its products also won the Indianapolis 500-Miles (with the American Red Ball Special Lola-Ford T90 driven by Graham Hill) and the inaugural CanAm sports-prototype Championship. It has been said that Colin Chapman of Lotus always kept a very close – sometimes envious – eye upon what "Eric's up to at Lola", and that the Lotus 17 sports-racing car which he introduced to combat the Lola Mark I's increasing grasp upon the 1100cc class suffered from a glaring design error. Upon a similar basis, Colin Chapman then made his next major mistake – the fragile backbone-chassised Lotus 30 Series 1 – in knee-jerk reaction to Lola Cars' contract from Ford to participate in what became the Ford GT programme. In1965 the definingly lovely Lola T70 emerged to contest unlimited-capacity Group 7 sports car competition. John Surtees won the inaugural CanAm Championship with the quasi-works T70 in 1966, and such success led to the T70 GT series and the enduring success enjoyed by so many owner/drivers ever since. Within this context Lola competition cars as designed by Eric Broadley and his growing technical team repeatedly set widely acknowledged new aesthetic standards. The cars not only went well but absolutely looked the part. Pride of ownership amongst the Lola contingent has always been high...and it was the Mark I such as 'BY-2' now offered here which laid the legend's firm foundation. As 'Autosport' magazine reported on the 1959 Easter Monday Goodwood Chichester Cup race for 1100cc sports cars here: "This race was a Lola benefit: the marque's first appearance as a works team could not have been more decisive,more impressive, or more complete as a victory. The three cars..." (Coventry-Climax-powered Lola Mark 1s) "...circulated as one, with never more than a length separating any of them, and all racing at great speed and well clear of the rest of the field...". That initial Lola works team comprised drivers Peter Ashdown and Peter Gammon, with private owner Michael Taylor in close touch until he spun – still recovering to finish third. The best-placed Lotus 11 in that momentous race could do no better than finish fourth, driven by Dick Prior, whom 'Autosport' complimented by emphasizing that he: "...had driven a very neat and orderly race, but was rather overshadowed by the fantastic Broadley designs". Driving his own Lola Mark 1Eric Broadley became the first man to lap Brands Hatch short circuit in under one minute. Chassis 'BY-2' now offered here was built new as the fourth of its kind, emerging in 1959 when it became the first of the new breed to feature a fairing behind the driver's head. The car was sold to Allan Ross – who soon after became Lola's American agent - and passed through a number of amateur owner/driver's hands achieving significant wins in SCCA National and Regional events. It was campaigned thereafter by three further US owners before – in 1985 – it was found by star driver Brian Redman in the States and Eric Broadley bought it back, purely for sentimental reasons. It is understood this is the very car in which Eric won a Stateside race at Stout Field aerodrome Indiana, on July 26, 1959. As presented here the car is fitted not with the standard 1097cc Coventry Climax FWA 4-cylinder single-overhead camshaft engine but with the larger 1,216cc FWE Coventry Climax power unit, which is believed to have been refurbished in recent years. The Eric Broadley-designed multi-tubular spaceframe chassis is resplendent in his preferred shade of Valspar primrose paint– unlike the grey or black preferred by so many of Lola's rivals – in order to show up any potential cracking more effectively...perhaps rather than hide it... Requiring recommissioning, this is a superb and very original example of the Lola Mark 1, offered here with impeccable provenance, direct from many years' long-term ownership by its original designer and constructor, Eric Broadley - one of the most widely admired and best respected figures of not only the British motor racing scene but also the global motor sporting stage. Very few Historic racing cars can ever have boasted higher patronage – an accolade that is certain to benefit all of this delightful little Lola's future owners.