Lola Heritage


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THE LOLA T150

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After the success of the T90 at the 1967 Indianapolis 500 Lola were keen to return to the USAC scene, so for 1968 the T150 was introduced. Once again it was a monocoque chassis with wishbones and outboard spring/damper at the front while at the rear it was a top link/reversed lower wishbone/twin radius rod/outboard spring/damper system.

Innovation came in the form of the drive train that employed a Hewland four-wheel-drive system which was based on a Ferguson design and was able to employ a number of proprietary Hewland parts. Hedging their bets there was an option to convert back to two-wheel-drive if needed and the plan was, initially, to test the car in two-wheel-drive form to iron out any handling problems before switching to 4WD to ensure that the Hewland system was not masking any problems. The engine was a turbocharged Ford which initially worried Mike Hewland as it would provide some 200 BHP more than he had allowed for but, in any event, the system proved to be man enough for the job.

Two cars were initially built in 1968 and supplied to George Bignotti, Al Unser qualified 6th at Indy in the Retzloff Chemicals-sponsored car but crashed out, he won three races later in the season, two at Langhorne and one at Indianapolis Raceway Park. A third car was built up at the end of the year and sold to US Racers Inc.
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At the end of 1968 Parnelli Jones and Vel Miletich, with the financial assistance of Firestone Tires, formed Vel's Parnelli Jones Ford Racing, and obtained the assets of the Retzloff team, including the Lola T150 as well as the services of George Bignotti, co-chief Jim Dilamarter, and Al Unser. For 1969 changes to the USAC regulations had reduced the turbines power and, by reducing tyre width to ten inches for 4WD cars, they effectively took away any potential advantage to these designs so the Lola was modified by Bignotti and Dilamarter, becoming the Vel's Parnelli Jones Special. Notable changes were the conversion to rear wheel drive, the car gained side mounted fuel tanks, and the distinctive `coal chute' fairings for the external oil coolers.

For 1970 the cars (chassis numbers SL150/1 and SL 150/2) received bodywork modifications as aerodynamics became more and more important in the design of USAC cars, the work was carried out by Vel's Parnelli Jones and the car was now referred to as a Lola-Colt and raced on the short ovals and road courses.

Bignotti and Dilamarter built two new cars for the season using the Lola-Colt as a model and these cars were just known as P. J. Colts. Topper Toys became the primary sponsors of the Vel's Parnelli Jones effort, and the cars were painted in the electric blue and yellow colour scheme representing Topper's Johnny Lightning die-cast miniatures. Al Unser also won his first Indianapolis 500 in one of the P.J. Colts but I think it is fair to claim that they were first-cousins to Lola even if they weren’t built in Slough.

The 1970 results below are, as far as can be ascertained, for the Lola-Colts but do not include the P.J. Colts.

(With grateful acknowledgement to glenmason.com for the history of the Johnny Lightning Specials)


T150 1968 USAC National Championship Trail Results

DATERACE/VENUEENTRANTDRIVERRESULT
30th MayInternational 500 Mile Sweepstakes, Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayRetzloff ChemicalAl UnserRetired
9th JuneRex Mays Classic, The Milwaukee MileRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser3rd
15th JuneTelegraph Trophy 200 Heat 1, Mosport ParkRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser 4th
15th JuneTelegraph Trophy 200 Heat 2, Mosport ParkRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser 5th
23th JuneLanghorne 150, Langhorne SpeedwayRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser12th
7th JulyRocky Mountain 150, Continental Divide RacewayRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser4th
21st JulyIndy 200 Heat 1, Indianapolis Raceway ParkRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser1st
21st JulyIndy 200 Heat 2, Indianapolis Raceway ParkRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser1st
28th JulyLanghorne Twin 100 #1, Langhorne SpeedwayRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser1st
28th JulyLanghorne Twin 100 #2, Langhorne SpeedwayRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser1st
4th AugustSt. Jovite Heat 1, Le Circuit Mont-TremblantRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser9th
4th AugustSt. Jovite Heat 2, Le Circuit Mont-TremblantRetzloff ChemicalAl UnserRetired
18th AugustTony Bettenhausen 200, The Milwaukee MileRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser3rd
22nd SeptemberTrenton 200, Trenton International SpeedwayRetzloff ChemicalAl Unser2nd
13th OctoberMichigan Inaugural 250, Michigan International SpeedwayRetzloff Chemical
Retzloff Chemical
Art Pollard
Al Unser
10th
Retired
3rd NovemberHanford 250, Hanford Motor SpeedwayRetzloff Chemical
Retzloff Chemical
Al Unser
Carl Williams
Retired
Retired
17th NovemberBobby Ball Memorial, Phoenix International RacewayRetzloff Chemical
Retzloff Chemical
Al Unser
Arnie Knepper
Retired
Retired
1st DecemberRex Mays 300, Riverside International RacewayRetzloff Chemical
Retzloff Chemical
Skip Scott
Al Unser
4th
Retired
     

1968 CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS

3rd Al Unser 2895 points (Also drove a Dunlop Sprint Car)

Results courtesy of www.champcarstats.com

Year(s) of Construction: 1968

Total Built: 3
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T150 1969 USAC National Championship Trail Results

DATERACE/VENUEENTRANTDRIVERRESULT
30th MarchJimmy Bryan 150, Phoenix International RacewayVel's Parnelli FordAl UnserRetired
13th AprilCalifornia 200, Hanford Motor SpeedwayVel's Parnelli FordAl UnserRetired
30th MayInternational 500 Mile Sweepstakes, Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayVel's Parnelli Ford
Vel's Parnelli Ford
Vel's Parnelli Ford
Bud Tingelstad
Al Unser
Joe Leonard
15th
Withdrew - injury
DNQ
8th JuneRex Mays Classic, The Milwaukee MileVel's Parnelli FordJim Malloy2nd
15th JuneLanghorne 150, Langhorne SpeedwayRisloneJim Malloy7th
6th JulyRocky Mountain 150, Continental Divide RacewayVel's Parnelli FordAl Unser9th
19th JulyTrenton 200, Trenton International SpeedwayVel's Parnelli Ford
Jack Adams
Al Unser
Jim Molloy
Retired
DNS
27th JulyIndy 200 Heat 1, Indianapolis Raceway ParkVel's Parnelli FordAl Unser2nd
27th JulyIndy 200 Heat 2, Indianapolis Raceway ParkVel's Parnelli FordAl UnserRetired
17th AugustTony Bettenhausen 200, The Milwaukee MileVel's Parnelli Ford
Jack Adams Airplane
Al Unser
Rick Muther
1st
12th
24th AugustDelaware 200, Dover International SpeedwayVel's Parnelli Ford
Jack Adams Airplane
Al Unser
Rick Muther
12th
6th
14th SeptemberBrainerd Heat 1, Brainerd International RacewayVel's Parnelli Ford
Pacesetter Homes
Al Unser
Jerry Hansen
3rd
DNF
14th SeptemberBrainerd Heat 2, Brainerd International RacewayVel's Parnelli FordAl Unser9th
21st SeptemberTrenton 300, Trenton International SpeedwayJack Adams Airplane
Vel's Parnelli Ford
Rick Muther
Al Unser
9th
Retired
19th OctoberDan Gurney 200 Heat 1, Seattle International RacewayVel's Parnelli Ford
Pacesetter Homes
Al Unser
Jerry Hansen
2nd
7th
19th OctoberDan Gurney 200 Heat 2, Seattle International RacewayVel's Parnelli Ford
Pacesetter Homes
Al Unser
Jerry Hansen
1st
8th
15th NovemberBobby Ball 200, Phoenix International RacewayVel's Parnelli Ford
Jack Adams Airplane
Al Unser
Rick Muther
1st
DNF
7th DecemberRex Mays 300, Riverside International RacewayVel's Parnelli Ford
Jack Adams Airplane
Al Unser
Rick Muther
2nd
DNF
     

1969 CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS

2nd Al Unser 2630 points (Also drove a King Sprint Car
19th Jim Malloy 720 points (Also drove an Eisert, Vollstedt, Lotus 4WD and Dunlop Sprint Car)
29th Rick Muther 330 points (Also drove a Gerhardt)
44th Jerry Hansen 110 points

Results courtesy of www.champcarstats.com

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T150 1970 USAC National Championship Trail Results

DATERACE/VENUEENTRANTDRIVERRESULT
28th MarchJimmy Bryan 150, Phoenix International RacewayJohnny Lightning 500Al Unser1st
4th AprilGolden Gate 150, Infineon RacewayJohnny Lightning 500Al Unser3rd
7th JuneRex Mays Classic, The Milwaukee MileJohnny Lightning 500Al Unser3rd
14th JuneLanghorne 150, Langhorne SpeedwayJohnny Lightning 500Al Unser2nd
28th JuneRocky Mountain 150, Continental Divide RacewayJohnny Lightning 500Al Unser5th
26th JulyIndy 150, Indianapolis Raceway ParkJohnny Lightning 500Al Unser1st
3rd OctoberTrenton 300, Trenton International SpeedwayJohnny Lightning 500Al Unser1st
21st NovemberBobby Ball 200, Phoenix International RacewayJohnny Lightning 500Al Unser2nd
     

1970 CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS

1st Al Unser 5130 points (Also drove a P.J. Colt and a King Sprint Car)

Results courtesy of www.champcarstats.com

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