1968 Lola T70
- Year of manufacture1968
- Chassis numberSL73/128
- Lot number354
- Number of seats2
- Exterior colourOther
- Fuel typePetrol
The ex-Chuck Parsons/Simoniz
1968 Lola T70 Mk III
Chassis no. SL73/128
In the song from the 1955 musical Damn Yankees "Lola gets, whatever Lola wants", Eric Broadley had that hit song in mind when he christened his first sports-racing car built for customer sale the Lola Mark I. That little front-engined 1100cc sports-racing car proved itself more than capable of enabling its drivers to achieve their competitive aims, and through 1958 the Lola put the renowned Lotus 11 very much in the shade.
While the little Lola was incredibly pretty, its lightweight aluminium bodywork exquisitely well-proportioned, Broadley's new company Lola Cars Ltd went from strength to strength. By 1962 it was producing Formula 1 cars driven by legendary seven-times Motorcycle World Champion John Surtees, and in 1963 Broadley produced the compact, rear-engined Lola GT with American Ford V8 power to tackle the Le Mans 24-Hour race. That design together with Broadley's services were then snapped up by the Ford Motor Company as the foundation of its Ford GT programme for 1964. The objective being victory at Le Mans.
It didn't quite work out that way. Broadley did not settle well into the ways of a gigantic corporation, and into 1965 he reclaimed his independence. And one of his first new designs was the big, American V8-engined, Lola T70 sports-racing car based upon the kind of aluminium-skinned monocoque chassis he had spent months trying to persuade Ford to adopt, instead of their GT design's heavy steel-skinned tub.
The Lola T70 followed the tradition established by Broadley's initial series of Mark I cars, in that its body design was sleek, streamlined, beautifully proportioned and utterly gorgeous. The initial Lola T70 Spyder cars used Ford and Chevrolet V8 engines and contested contemporary FIA International Group 7 'unlimited-capacity sports-racing car' events, initially in the UK but very quickly within the USA. Lola's racing programme was spearheaded by the quasi-works Team Surtees organisation, with drivers John Surtees and Jackie Stewart contributing enormously to the sleek new design's development. Into 1966 John Surtees would win the inaugural Can-Am Championship title in the US and Canada in his spearhead Lola-Chevrolet T70. In 1967 a closed-cockpit Coupe version emerged as the initially Aston Martin V8-engined Lola T70. The design would be further developed into 1968-69 with the T70 Mark III in both open Spyder and closed forms. Lola T70s contested both the Can-Am and FIA World Championship endurance races, plus innumerable US Road Racing Championship, Nordic Cup and British and European Championship events over several seasons.
The most attractive T70 now offered here dates from 1968, and it is presented complete with two alternative body sets, one the closed-cockpit Coupe form and the other the open-cockpit Can-Am-style Spyder.
Chassis 'SL73/128' originated as a Mk III Spyder, built to the order of American Lola importer Carl Haas Racing. It was delivered new on February 16, 1968, fitted with an Al Bartz-prepared 365 cubic inch - 6.0 litre - Chevrolet V8 engine. The car was entered by Haas for experienced American driver Chuck Parsons. It was sponsored by the Simoniz car polish company and finished in their eye-catching bright-orange livery. Chuck Parsons campaigned the car in the 1968 United States Road Racing Championship, finishing fourth at Riverside, California, that April; fourth again at Laguna Seca in May; followed by a sixth at St Jovite in Canada; then a fine second at Kent, Washington in June, behind his young Haas team-mate Skip Scott. In July at Watkins Glen only Mark Donohue's Penske-entered McLaren M6A could beat Parsons in 'SL73/128', as the Haas driver took another second place. Parsons and Skip Scott then co-drove the sister Haas-entered T70 Spyder to win the major Road America 500-Mile race at Elkhart Lake. Chuck Parsons placed third in that year's USRRC title chase.
'SL73/128' was sold to former McKee Mark 7 privateer Bob Nagel of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, who had a big-block 427cid (7-litre) Ford V8 fitted. The car was repainted in Thermo-King white and blue livery, and Bob Nagel was able to contest the September 1968 Can-Am round at Bridgehampton, NY, in it before winning his first two 'club races' at Virginia International Raceway and St Jovite. He campaigned the car widely in SCCA and Can-Am races through 1969-70. He won two Virginia National Cups in 1968-69, and two Vandagraft Cups at Cumberland, 1969-70. He also qualified in three consecutive years for the SCCA Champions Run-Offs, 1968-70.
In December 1970 Bob Nagel sold the ageing Lola to aircraft engineer and enthusiastic SCCA club racing driver and fellow Pennsylvania resident - Gene Fisher of Carlisle, PA. In his hands the car qualified for two further SCCA Champions Ruff-Off meetings in 1971-72 in what has been described as "...a unique achievement for any T70".
The car returned to the UK in 1974, acquired by dealer/racer Stephen Langton and Fred Bray and, in 1976 unraced by them it was acquired by writer/historic racer Ray Potter. He ran it quite widely before selling it to leading Historic racing exponent Nigel Hulme in 1980.
Hulme campaigned the car for three seasons in Ford V8-engined Spyder form before converting it into Lola T70 Mark IIIB Coupe-bodied form and racing on for a further three seasons. In 1989 Nigel Hulme sold the car to renowned German collector Peter Kaus for display within his Rosso-Bianco Collection museum in Aschaffenburg, Germany. Kaus returned it to its original open-cockpit Spyder form, and it was preserved within his museum until it closed in 2006. Bonhams subsequently handled the Rosso Bianco dispersal sale and 'SL73/128' was offered at the BONHAMS Goodwood Revival in September, 2006, whereupon it was acquired by prominent Historic racer Shaun Lynn.
Lynn then had the car fully restored by respected T70 specialist Clive Robinson, and it re-emerged in the T70 Coupe form now presented here. The chassis was mildly adapted to allow the spare alternative Spyder body, also finished in Simoniz livery, to be fitted.
Alberto Francioni then bought the Lola from Shaun Lynn and ran it successfully at CER1 events and here at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The current owner bought '128' from Francioni's estate in 2014 and since competed in numerous events including the Spa 6-Hours, Master Historic Championship at Silverstone, the Brands Festival and Peter Auto at Imola.
The engine built by Mathwell and producing 500 bhp (dyno sheet available) is still fresh with just a few hours running time. Furthermore every relevant component has been checked and crack-tested. Maintenance and race-prep has been on a 'money no object' basis. It is therefore no surprise that '128' has been a front-running entry at the Masters Historic Proto championship, the Peter Auto CER1, and Classic Le Mans. It has achieved a 1st, 2nd, and been a consistent top five finisher.
The Lola comes with new HTP papers, a large race file (set-up specs, lap times etc), and numerous invoices are included. A spares package is also offered with the car, including magnesium wheels (including a new set), tyres and other race related items. Please enquire with the office for an inventory.
Today it merits the closest consideration as we offer a Lola T70 with such unbroken history and detailed provenance; in ready to race condition and maintained to the highest standards; with an impressive spares package; plus the added cachet of being offered with both alternative body styles. Who wouldn't want to race in coupe form at Le Mans Classic and then Can-Am Spyder form at Laguna Seca.... It is indeed a mouth-watering opportunity.