1971 Lola-Chevrolet T260 CanAm Racing Spider

Sale 17327 - Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia, featuring the Sidney H. Craig Collection and property from the Reggie Jackson Collection, 14 Aug 2009
Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club, Carmel, CA. Bonhams

Lot No: 259
The ex-L&M Carl Haas/Jackie Stewart team
1971 Lola-Chevrolet T260 CanAm Racing Spider
Chassis no. T260-HU2
Hailing from the former Rosso Bianco Collection this glittering example of the most charismatic CanAm Lola of all – the ex-Carl Haas team Lola-Chevrolet T260 as tailor-made for triple-Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart to contest the 1971 CanAm series.

Sold for $304,000 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

In period, the brilliant ‘wee Scot’ – the standard-setting racing driver of his era in any kind of car on almost any kind of course - drove his McLaren-eating L&M Lola T260 race car to pole position first time out at Mosport Park, then won on the picturesque Canadian road circuit at Ste Jovite, set fastest lap at Atlanta, took another pole position at Watkins Glen, won again at Mid-Ohio, led at Donnybrooke and Edmonton, and finished 2nd both there on the latter Canadian course and at Laguna Seca in California. This Lola-Chevrolet T260 is therefore a ‘non-McLaren’ CanAm superstar of enormous presence and charisma. Two of these great cars were constructed and campaigned by the Carl Haas-fronted quasi-works L&M Lola team, one being used throughout the series – it seems – by Sir Jackie, while the other stood by as unraced spare car.

In period the new Lola T260 was rated as being “as refreshing as it was startling”, to quote legendary race reporter Pete Lyons in his outstanding book CanAm he described how the T260: “…was built to an aerodynamic theory already embodied in a few small-bore sports cars of the day. The intent was a shape that would bullet through the air on the straights, and also remain stable as the car’s pitch attitude, ride height, and positioning behind other cars changed everywhere else. In particular…a more conventional downforce-producing wedge nose, such as McLaren’s … could abruptly change from downforce to lift under certain conditions…”.

One of the T260’s many startling features was – and still is – the manner in which the car’s nose panel is pierced by a multitude of small screened holes located across a low-pressure area to extract hot air from piping and brakes and to kill incipient aerodynamic lift. To minimize aerodynamic drag on the straights the rear wing was initially mounted well inboard, above the engine/gearbox adapter in fact, and speed traps would prove that this was – indeed – one of the fastest contemporary CanAm cars in a straight line.

It became very apparent that the Lola design team was placing ultimate confidence in the ability of their world-beating driver to hustle the car successfully through the corners, but as the 1971 CanAm season progressed so it became apparent that the theory needed a little further help to make it work out in practice. A downforce program was initiated by Lola which saw the nose splitter surface grow while trim tabs were added, the tail wing moved further aft, nose shapes evolved experimentally and during the final two qualifying races of the Championship series an enormous subsidiary wing was projected ahead of the nose.

With every move the white, red and black liveried Lola came to look even more spectacular and eye-catching, and in Jackie Stewart’s hands of course it performed that way out on circuit.

The chassis structure of the T260 was a full-length aluminum-sheet monocoque with the major mass of its 65-gallon fuel load being housed well aft within the wheelbase. Water and oil cooling radiators were hip-mounted amidships which helped create a cooler and much less stressful cockpit environment while also simplifying (and lightening) the plumbing requirements and permitting the desired innovative nose shape to be used. Cooling radiator air entered through NACA-section intakes sunk into the tops of the cockpit doors, while hot radiator air then exhausted through openings in the tail clip behind the original wing siting.

Suspension was broadly conventional, although at the front the upper wishbone links were extended inboard to actuate horizontally-mounted coil-spring/damper units. This unusual spring-medium location freed space for the front brakes to be mounted inboard. The designer Eric Broadley’s intention had been to reduce the unsprung weight of the front wheels by removing the brakes inboard from their conventional hub location. This would have permitted the lightened assemblies to ride more faithfully over the often bumpy CanAm circuits, but Jackie Stewart was adamantly opposed to the use of inboard brakes since the death of his close friend Jochen Rindt in the previous year’s inboard-braked Formula 1 Lotus – and outboard brake mountings were used on the finalized T260 instead.

This particularly fine CanAm Lola is presented here in fine overall aesthetic condition, apparently complete and absolutely as displayed and preserved for many years within the Rosso Bianco Collection halls at Aschaffenburg, Germany. On the left-side of its cockpit dash panel beside the Lola Cars Limited data plate is a subsidiary small brass plaque stamped ‘72CA21’ which we understand to be a 1972 CanAm Championship verification plate.

After the completion of the 1971 program with Carl Haas/L&M and Sir Jackie Stewart driving, the T260s were sold to American privateers to continue racing into the 1972 Challenge Cup series. The new owners were Tom Heyser – who made his debut with his car at Mid-Ohio on August 6, 1972 and Jerry Hansen who joined in the fun with his car at Donnybrooke on September 17. By that time, however, the new turbocharged Porsche 917/10s had completely re-written the CanAm performance charts, and the wonderful heyday of the Lola-Chevrolet T260 had passed into motor racing history.

Contemporary race reports covering the 1972 CanAm series cite Tom Heyser’s car as having been “…the unused spare Stewart car”. It was driven by Lotus and BRM Formula 1 star Reine Wisell at Watkins Glen, and was retained by Heyser for the early part of the 1973 series, before it passed to Canadian driver John Gunn from the Edmonton round forward.

Meanwhile the Jackie Stewart race car from 1971 had been sold to Jerry Hansen, from whom it was apparently acquired by experienced Lola T220 exponent Bob Nagel. He drove the car consistently through 1972-73 and on into the final significant CanAm Championship season of 1974, when his ex-Stewart race car and the John Gunn ex-Stewart back-up car achieved quite significant prize-winning success; Mosport Park, Nagel 4th – Atlanta, Gunn 5th – Watkins Glen, Nagel 4th and Gunn 9th – Mid-Ohio, Nagel 4th and Gunn 10th – Elkhart Lake, Gunn an elated 3rd and Nagel 4th yet again to complete the Lola T260 CanAm saga.

One might expect the brass plaque ‘72CA21’ upon this Rosso Bianco Collection car to indicate ‘1972 – CanAm – race car No 21’ – but there is no race car No 21 recorded for that season’s CanAm competition. Bob Nagel’s ex-Stewart T260 bore race number ‘17’ in fact, while Heyser’s works L&M team spare gets closer to our plate with race number ‘61’. But perhaps Jerry Hansen had registered his car as ‘21’? We are as yet unable to confirm this detail, but may have further information in time for the Sale. It is generally considered that Sir Jackie’s 1971 race-winning full-series Lola T260 was chassis serial ‘HU1’ – while this car bears the chassis plate numbering ‘HU2’. We conclude therefore that the car offered here is probably the Tom Heyser/John Gunn chassis as described above.

These twin ex-Stewart cars have since featured in various Historic and Vintage appearances both in Europe and the USA, but this particularly fine example was closeted away in revered seclusion for many years past…and emerges now having undergone extensive mechanical restoration including a new Keith Black Racing Engine, dyno’d at 778bhp and 698lbft of torque. It is by any standards a magnificently presented CanAm Lola which will undoubtedly turn heads wherever – and however - it might be displayed or campaigned. Offered on a Bill of Sale.













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