The first model produced under the banner of Lola Cars Limited, four Mk1s were built in 1959; wins at Goodwood, Clermont-Ferrand, the TT, Nürburgring 1000km, and Sebring that season pointed toward a bright future.
19 Mk1s were produced at the Bromley factory in 1960.
Chicago-area Porsche/ Volkswagen distributor and race driver Oliver Schmidt sought one to help assure his continued success in the SCCA H-Modified class.
Schmidt visited the Lola factory in 1959, although the OSCA engine he ordered was not delivered until January of 1960. Fitting the engine posed enough of a challenge that the chassis originally intended for Schmidt received a Climax and moved on, while a new one (chassis #BR-10) was adapted slightly to accommodate the OSCA.
The 1960 Lola Mk1 was typically fitted with a Mark III FWA 1150cc Coventry Climax, however Schmidt kept his sights on the H-Modified class and opted for the OSCA 750.
In 1960 the Maserati brothers re-vamped the design of their S187 750 engine that had remained largely unchanged since 1956. The new design, the S187N, altered dimensions to 64x58mm for a displacement of 745.9cc. It featured a re-engineered cylinder head that moved the carburetion to the left and exhaust to the right, altered the angle of valves and intake ports, making room for the new model 33DS Weber carburetors. These changes added another 10 hp. In 1963 SCCA raised displacements limits for the H-Modified class from 750 to 850cc. The engine was bored to 68mm, boosting its displacement to 843cc.
By the time the Lola-OSCA was delivered to him, Schmidt was already close to winning the SCCA H-modified championship for 1960. He was driving another OSCA, no. 951, that had been raced at Sebring in 1959 by Frank Bott and Ricardo Rodriguez, since debored from 950 to 750cc. Upon completion of the 1960 season, Schmidt sold no. 951 to Joel Jacobs and focused his energy on the Lola-OSCA. Schmidt went on to dominate H-Mod in the 1961 season and secure another points championship. As Jacobs recalls, the two ran on occasion as a team (“Scuderia Tin Can”) at venues like the Nassau Trophy Races. Both cars were maintained and managed by Jim Scott of Libertyville, IL.
In April of 1962, Schmidt sold the Lola-OSCA to the joint ownership of Guy Bates and then SCCA-president John Holmes. The two continued to race the car in H-Modified. In 1962 Holmes finished fourth in National points standings while Bates was fourth in the northeast. Meanwhile, limits for the H-Modified class were raised to 850cc. The Lola-OSCA competed during the 1963 season with some success against larger-engined cars; in the fall of 1963, however, it was bored to 843cc.
In 1966-67 the H-Modified classification was shifted to class D-SR. In 1968 Bates and Holmes sold the car to Larry Green and M.P. Valsainer. Race results on record include a first-in-class at the 1968 Marlboro Regional as well as two second-place finishes in the C-SR class. Green also reports a first-in-class finish at the SCCA sprints in 1969.
Moving into the 1970s, the Lola-OSCA became sedentary, and following transfer to the ownership of Francis Ginther, it was dismantled and sat idle for over 30 years. The car was reassembled and engine rebuilt in 2006 at D.L. George Coachworks, using new-old-stock spares that were stored with the car. It was shown at the 2007 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, winning an Amelia Award, and subsequently appeared in both Classic and Motorsport (June 2007) and Vintage Motorsport (May 2007) magazines.
This spectacular car offers a rare combination of originality and provenance. A large volume of documentation accompanies the car, including a wealth of receipts, records, sketches, and notation of work done. Its numerous race appearances are documented in contemporary issues of SCCA’s Sports Car magazine, as well as other racing periodicals of the day. As Lola celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2008, the Lola-OSCA will be a strong presence on both racetrack and show field.
Lola Mk1 Chassis no. BR-10
• Multi-tubular chassis
• Fiberglass body by Specialised Mouldings
• Front suspension: Independent wishbones
• Rear suspension: Independent upper and lower
wishbones, with coil springs on all four wheels
• Wheelbase: 85 inches
• Track: Front, 48”; Rear 47.5 inches
• Length: 132 inches
• Height: 23.5 inches at cowl
• Clearance: 5”
O.S.C.A. 750 Engine no. 772
• Cylinders: 4
• Bore: 64 mm (bored to 68mm in 1963)
• Stroke: 58 mm
• Displacement: 745.9cc (bored to 843cc in 1963)
• Valve Gear: Dual overhead camshaft
• Compression ratio: 9.5:1
• Max Power: 77 bhp @ 7,750 rpm
• Max torque: 56.8 lb/ft at 6,000rpm
• Carburetors: 33DS 2 twin-choke Webers
• Lubrication: Wet sump