Lola Heritage

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Lola's first appearance at the Indianapolis 500 had been in 1965 when Al Unser and Bud Tingelstad raced a pair of T80s, sadly a number of problems largely stemming from late completion that prevented sufficient testing meant they were also-rans. Both drivers complained particularly of a handling problem that caused the car to "heave" as it entered a corner, this was later discovered to be caused by a flaw in the suspension geometry. Despite this, and a number of other teething troubles, Unser finished ninth and Tingelstad ran as high as fifth until a broken casting (not Lola-made) caused a rear wheel to fall off.

For 1966 Lola would return with a new car, the T90, that incorporated all that Eric Broadley had learnt from the previous year's difficult debut.
The T90 consisted of a aluminium monocoque constructed from the 16-guage aluminium that the Indy regulations stipulated. Sheet steel diaphragms were fitted at the front and the rear of the tub with additional internal stiffness coming from four braces housed within the pontoons that would take the Firestone-designed fuel cells whilst externally a sloping scuttle in front of the instrument panel gave additional rigidity.

Tubular steel subframes were attached to both the front and rear of the chassis, the front subframe carrying the oil tank, radiator and the forward mountings for the lower wishbone. At the rear there were two subframes above and below the two-speed Hewland gearbox, the upper one carrying the attachment point for the single top link and the top spring/damper mounting. The lower subframe had the mounting points for the lower wishbones.

The T90 was designed to accept either the 2.8-litre, 4-cylinder Offenhauser engine or the 4.2-litre 4-cam Ford V8. The Offy, built by Meyer-Drake in California was fitted with Hilborn fuel injection and a Paxton Roots-type supercharger and gave some 520 bhp, the Ford, whilst slightly less powerful, was a more known quantity having won the 1965 race in Jim Clark's Lotus 38.
Front suspension was inboard with fabricated rocker arms at the top operating the coil and damper units and wide-based lower wishbones.

The front anti-roll bar was unusual employing a single bar that linked to the inner ends of the rocker arms via rod ends but was clamped at it's extremities, this allowed for a 60% longer bar than would have otherwise been possible if it had just run between the ends of the two rocker arms.
Rear suspension was fairly conventional with one departure from the norm. At the top of the upright was a single adjustable top link attaching to the top chassis subframe whilst at the bottom a wide-based wishbone (reinforced on the left), mounting to the rear of the upright, was mounted to the lower chassis subframe. There was a single adjustable lateral link running from the lower front of the upright to the subframe that allowed for toe-in alterations. The unusual feature to the design was the single top radius rod, a lower rod was not used to to the difficulty of a suitable chassis attachment point due to the fuel tank design. As was the norm at this time front and rear suspension was offset to the left by three inches, the theory being that this helped the car through the left-hand turns at Indianapolis.
Learning the lesson from 1965 Lola made sure the T90 was ready in plenty of time for the 1966 Indy 500 and the John Mecom Racing Team-entered car made it's debut at the March season opener, held at the Phoenix International Raceway. Success was immediate with Roger Ward finishing second in his Offenhauser-powered T90 and a month later Ward took the winner's laurels at Trenton's 1-mile paved oval when he won a rain-shortened race ahead of Gordon Johncock.

Come the month of May and there were three T90s, all entered by John Mecom's Houston-based team, ready to run at Indy qualifying, Roger Ward in his successful Offenhauser-engined car and Rookies Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill who were both Ford-powered. There was nothing much between the cars at the end of qualifying, Stewart was 11th fastest at a speed of 159.972 mph, Ward 13th at 159.46 mph and Hill 15th at 159.243 mph. Graham Hill replaced the original driver Walt Hansgen who was tragically killed driving a 7-litre Ford GT during the Le Mans Test Days.
The race saw a chaotic opening lap following a collision between two cars at Turn 1 setting off a chain reaction that resulted in eleven cars retiring and the race being stopped for over an hour. The race restarted under a yellow flag and when the green was shown at lap 17 Mario Andretti took the lead but fell away immediately with a damaged engine. Jim Clark then led the field in his Lotus but his car wasn't handling well as a couple of spins, fortunately without damage showed. The race was now between Lloyd Ruby's Eagle and Jackie Stewart's Lola until fuel stops put Clark temporarily back in front. Ruby was soon back in the lead but his car was black-flagged on lap 152 for leaking oil. Ruby's retirement left Stewart's T90 comfortably leading from Clark's Lotus and Graham Hill's T90. Hill had been quietly progressing up the field both by taking advantage of other people's misfortunes as well as driving quickly and avoiding making mistakes, by lap 175 he had passed Clark for second.

Stewart continued to lead until 25 miles from the finish when a sudden lack of oil pressure saw the Scot retire and Hill assume the lead. The T90 didn't miss a beat and at just short of three and a half hours from taking the start Graham Hill and Lola won the 1966 Indianapolis 500.

1966 Indianapolis 500 Results

Pos Driver Car # Sponsor/Name Chassis Engine Laps Status
1 Graham Hill 24 American Red Ball Lola Ford 200 3:27:52.53 - 144.317 mph
2 Jim Clark 19 STP Gas Treatment Lotus Ford 200 3:28:33.66 - 143.843 mph
3 Jim McElreath 3 Zink-Urschel-Slick Brabham Ford 200 3:28:42.42 - 143.742 mph
4 Gordon Johncock 72 Weinberger Homes Gerhardt Ford 200 3:29:40.00 - 143.084mph
5 Mel Kenyon 94 Gerhardt Gerhardt Offy 198 Flagged
6 Jackie Stewart 43 Bowes Seal Fast Lola Ford 190 Lost oil pressure
7 Eddie Johnson 54 Valvoline Huffaker Offy 175 Stalled
8 Bobby Unser 11 Vita Fresh Orange Juice Huffaker Offy SC 171 Flagged
9 Joe Leonard 6 Yamaha Eagle Ford 170 Engine trouble
10 Jerry Grant 88 Bardahl-Pacesetter Homes Eagle Ford 167 Flagged
11 Lloyd Ruby 14 Bardahl Eagle Eagle Ford 166 Broken cam stud
12 Al Unser 18 STP Oil Treatment Lotus Ford 161 Wrecked
13 Roger McCluskey 8 G. C. Murphy Eagle Ford 129 Broken oil line
14 Parnelli Jones 98 Agajanian REV 500 Shrike Offy SC 87 Wheel bearing
15 Rodger Ward 26 Bryant Heating & Cooling Lola Offy SC 74 Poor handling
16 Carl Williams 77 Dayton Steel Wheel Gerhardt Ford 38 Broken oil line
17 Jim Hurtubise 56 Gerhardt Gerhardt Offy TC 29 Broken oil line
18 Mario Andretti 1 Dean Van Lines Brawner Ford 27 Broken valve
19 George Snider 82 Sheraton-Thompson Lotus Ford 22 Wrecked turn 1
20 Chuck Hulse 12 Wynn's Watson Ford 22 Wrecked turn 1
21 Bud Tingelstad 22 Federal Engineering Gerhardt Offy SC 16 Radiator
22 Johnny Boyd 28 Prestone BRP Ford 5 Wrecked turn 1
23 Don Branson 4 Leader Card Gerhardt Ford 0 Wrecked
24 Billy Foster 27 Jim Robbins Vollstedt Ford 0 Wrecked
25 Gary Congdon 53 Valvoline Huffaker Offy 0 Wrecked
26 A. J. Foyt 2 Sheraton-Thompson Lotus Ford 0 Wrecked
27 Dan Gurney 31 All American Racers Eagle Ford 0 Wrecked
28 Cale Yarborough 66 Jim Robbins Vollstedt Ford 0 Wrecked
29 Arnie Knepper 37 Sam Liosi Cecil Ford 0 Wrecked
30 Al Miller (Krulac) 75 Jerry Alderman Ford Lotus Ford 0 Wrecked
31 Bobby Grim 39 Racing Associates Watson FE Offy TC 0 Wrecked
32 Larry Dickson 34 Michner Petroleum Lola Ford 0 Wrecked
33 Ronnie Duman 96 Harrison Eisert Ford 0 Wrecked

T90 1966 USAC National Championship Trail Results

20th MarchJimmy Bryan Memorial, Phoenix International RacewayAmerican Red BallRodger Ward2nd
24th AprilTrenton 150, Trenton International SpeedwayAmerican Red BallRodger Ward1st
30th MayInternational 500 Mile Sweepstakes, Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayAmerican Red Ball
Bowes Seal Fast
Bryant Heating & Cooling
Graham Hill
Jackie Stewart
Rodger Ward
5th JuneRex Mays Classic, The Milwaukee MileBryant Heating & Cooling
American Red Ball
Al Unser
Larry Dickson
12th JuneLanghorne 100, Langhorne SpeedwayAmerican Red BallAl Unser 9th
26th JuneAtlanta 300, Atlanta Motor SpeedwayAmerican Red BallAl Unser16th
24th JulyHoosier Grand Prix, Indianapolis Raceway ParkAmerican Red BallAl Unser2nd
7th AugustLanghorne 150, Langhorne SpeedwayAmerican Red BallAl Unser3rd
27th AugustTony Bettenhausen 200, The Milwaukee MileBowes Seal Fast
American Red Ball
George Snider
Al Unser
25th SeptemberTrenton 200, Trenton International SpeedwayAmerican Red BallAl Unser2nd
20th NovemberBobby Ball Memorial, Phoenix International RacewayAmerican Red BallAl Unser2nd


5th Al Unser 1260 points (Also drove a Lotus, Eisert and Lesovsky Sprint Car)
9th Graham Hill 1000 points
17th Rodger Ward 540 points
19th Jackie Stewart 400 points
22nd George Snider 320 points (Also drove a Lotus, Coyote and Meskowski and Silnes Sprint Cars)
24th Larry Dickson 340 points (Also drove a Gerhardt, Huffaker and Meskowski Sprint Cars)

Results courtesy of

T90 1967 USAC National Championship Trail Results

9th AprilJimmy Bryan Memorial, Phoenix International RacewayDayton Disk BrakePeter Revson13th
23rd AprilTrenton 150, Trenton International SpeedwayDayton Disk BrakePeter RevsonDNQ
30th MayInternational 500 Mile Sweepstakes, Indianapolis Motor SpeedwayHopkins
Dayton Disk Brake
Dayton Disk Brake
Dayton Disk Brake
Chuck Hulse
Ronnie Duman
Bruce Jacobi
Bob Bondurant
1st JulyMosport Heat 1, Mosport ParkDayton Disk BrakeRick Muther11th
1st JulyMosport Heat 2, Mosport ParkDayton Disk BrakeRick Muther10th
23rd JulyIndianapolis 150, Indianapolis Raceway ParkDayton Disk BrakeRick Muther10th
30th JulyLanghorne 150, Langhorne SpeedwayDayton Disk BrakeRick MutherDNQ
6th AugustLabatt Indy Heat 1, Le Circuit Mont-TremblantDayton Disk BrakeRick Muther11th
6th AugustLabatt Indy Heat 2, Le Circuit Mont-TremblantDayton Disk BrakeRick Muther10th
20th AugustTony Bettenhausen 200, The Milwaukee MileDayton Disk BrakeRick MutherDNS
24th SeptemberTrenton 200, Trenton International SpeedwayDayton Disk BrakeSonny AtesDNS


18th Chuck Hulse 460 points (Also drove a Watson and a Gerhardt)
41st Rick Muther 120 points

Results courtesy of