1971 Lola-Chevrolet T222

Sale 14018 - An Important Sale of Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia, 18 Aug 2006
Quail Lodge Resort & Golf Club, Carmel, California. Bonhams & Butterfields

Lot No: 524
The Ex-Rosso Bianco Collection ‘L&M’-liveried
1971 Lola-Chevrolet T222 Sports-Racing CanAm Spider
Chassis no. HU222/02
Around the turn of the Swinging ’Sixties into the Staggering ’Seventies, CanAm Challenge Cup racing in the USA and Canada emerged as a treasury of the world’s most free-thinking, massively powerful and shatteringly fast road racing cars – the fastest in fact that the world had ever seen. Numerous specialist manufacturers assumed enormous prominence in CanAm competition; McLaren at their height, almost equaled by Chaparral, Porsche and – virtually throughout the entire period - by Lola Cars of Slough, and later Huntingdon, England.

Sold for $210,500 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

This particular Lola is typically glorious in its concept, its quality and its rakish, swooping, almost cheetah-like good looks. Where the original CanAm Lola model of 1966 – the T70 – had been the most beautifully proportioned and exquisitely attractive of them all, there is little doubt that the lengthy, dramatic, voluptuously curvaceous T222 such as this lovely example offered here came very close to matching it.

In fact the T222 had its roots in the preceding Lola T220 model of 1970 which was itself a fresh concept from the fertile brains of Lola founder Eric Broadley and his chief designer, Bob Marston. The T220 had owed little to the preceding T70-T160 design family. The T220 amply demonstrated the Lola design preference for rounded envelope shapes and was based upon a full-length aluminum monocoque base, which initially featured the relatively short wheelbase for the period of only 88-inches. Experience with the prototype car however - culminating in a violent crash at Atlanta which severely damaged chassis ‘HU1’ - led to an almost immediate wheelbase increase to a full 98 inches in what might have been chassis ‘HU2’, with the additional length being inserted at the front end of the monocoque.

The immensely stylish American driver, Peter Revson – darling of the society gossip columnists as much as of the contemporary sports page editors - was the driver of the factory-backed L&M-sponsored Lola T220 entered in the 1970 CanAm Challenge series by the British marque’s contemporary importer, Carl Haas. They posed a consistent threat to the McLaren-dominated CanAm establishment in 1970, ‘Revvie’ starting from the front row of the grid at Elkhart Lake – for example – and leading the works McLarens initially, before tire failure ended his dreams, and his team’s. Peter Revson in fact had reported an immediate improvement in braking stability for the stretched-wheelbase 1970 Lola T220, which was in effect the prototype T222, and this improved specification entered production for customer sale in 1971 as the definitive Lola-Chevrolet T222 model as offered here.

In 1971 these wonderfully distinctive, rakish-looking Lola were fielded in the opening round at Mosport Park, Ontario, by the Japanese owner/driver Hiroshi Kazato, by Dave Causey and by Bob Nagel. At Ste Jovite Kazato and Nagel finished 6-7, at Donnybrooke they placed 9-10, and everywhere these long, lean Lola-Chevrolets epitomized the finest of CanAm customer racing – ground-shaking V8 fury, tempered by good looks and more style than most racing motorists could shake a stick at!

The Lolas were also campaigned widely in Europe’s version of CanAm racing – the InterSerie – but into the early 1970s it was the air-cooled flat-12-engined German Porsche 917/10s, especially in their turbocharged form, which would establish a stranglehold over that form of racing…and opportunities to race profitably with naturally-aspirated American V8-engined cars such as this were on short ration.

All of this has, of course, changed since the 1980s when CanAm cars began to gain their current immense popularity in worldwide Historic and vintage competition. Today there is enormous availability of events not only within the USA but also throughout Europe to cater for these great cars. This particular Lola T222 – wearing its distinctive 1970-style L&M ‘Revson’ livery - has been campaigned in Historic ‘Thundersports’ competition, and after its years of cherished preservation within the Rosso Bianco Collection at Aschaffenburg it is poised and ready – in the right hands – to go out and do battle again. A recent inspection has revealed the car is running condition but the head gasket is weak.

What a mouth-watering proposition to savor; can you see yourself behind the wheel of such a gloriously proportioned, blood-red projectile as this? It is only one decisive bid away…







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