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1965 Lola T70 Mk. 1 SL70/15

Details

  • Year Built: 1965
  • Trans: Manual
  • Fuel Type: Gas
  • Ext color: Blue
  • Int color: Black

1965 Lola T70 Mk.1  SL70/15

The last Mk.1 built. 15 of 15
Restored to original medium blue with Russkit Livery
Period 341 ci Ford V8 (640 HP)
Original Hewland Engineering Ltd. 4-Speed Transmission

See links below for videos of this car

Classic Motorsport May 2015 issue cover and feature car. (see article in photos)

When new, SL70/15 was delivered on the 12th August 1965 to Haskell Wexler of Haskell Automotive in Hollywood, California. When delivered, it was fitted with a Ford 289ci 4700cc Ford V8 engine and two gearboxes, an LG500-15 and an LG500-16. Ronnie Bucknum was contracted to be the lead driver for the team. Ronnie was also a factory Ford driver in the GT40 program and when these commitments took priority, Davey Jordan would be called upon to drive the T70 for Wexler.

Finished in medium blue and white, SL70/15 was sponsored by Russkit, a very well known maker of slot cars at a time when slot cars were a huge phenomenon. SL70/15 was a very distinctive T70, as it wore knock off wheels from Schroder, and still does!

First race for the new team should have been for the ’65 Monterey GP at Laguna Seca, but they failed to arrive, as the new car was not quite properly set-up in time. At the next event for the ’65 LA Times GP at Riverside, mechanical dramas in practice saw the car fail to take the start. At Las Vegas on the newly opened Stardust Raceway everything stayed in one piece and Bucknum finished 4th, which after the dramas at the first two events seemed to the team like a win. Bucknum continued to race for the team in ’66 but more often than not retired, usually because of failed head gaskets. The only recorded finish for the team was at the Laguna Seca USRRC event where Davey Jordan, standing in for Ronnie, finished 4th. During the ’66 season the car was repainted white and fitted with a Mk. III style nose minus the headlamps. At the end of the year the car was put up for sale and sold to Brian O’Neil of American Racing Motors.

O’Neil was a regular SCCA club driver and during the ’67 season, he picked up two back-to-back second places at Fernandina and Savannah as well as winning the races at West Palm Beach and Osceola. For ’68 he bought the ex-Surtees Mk. IIIB SL75/123 that was minus its nose and to which he fitted the Mk. III nose from SL70/15. He sold the car on to Bob Bondurant for use as a camera car in the film “Winning” starring Paul Newman. Afterwards, and fitted with the nose from SL71/35, which had also been on the film set, it went to William Fuller who raced the car in minor SCCA events between ’71 and ’73. The next recorded owner of the car was Dr. Gilles St. Pierre of Quebec, Canada who sold the car on to Curtis Jackson of Atlanta in September ’87 as a coupe. It may then have been used as a road car. It was sold to Skip Shattuck in ’98 with the coupe body still installed. Skip stripped the car down, purchased a new set of bodywork from the original suppliers in England and SL70/15 stayed in this condition until recently sold to Brian Johnson.

When the car arrived back at Predator’s headquarters in Largo, Florida, it was as a chassis, with new bodywork in white gel coat and the suspension, brakes, etcetera, in boxes. Brian immediately came to see the car and asked David Hinton: “Where’s the shiny bits?” David had to tell him there weren’t any (yet) but that he would be very pleased with the end result when the car was restored. Brian is a very keen racer and has raced the car in Europe to do Goodwood, Silverstone and Donington as well as many other North American venues.

SL70/15, by dint of not doing very much over the last forty years, is in remarkably original condition. Even the chassis was hardly bent or rusted. Our friends at Predator Performance (David, Larry, Scott, Todd, with sundry helpers) have done a fabulous restoration. As SL70/15 was always Ford-engined in its Competition days, it is still using a period Ford 341 cubic inch engine, built by Ted Wenz and producing in excess of 640 horsepower mated to its original LG-500 gearbox.

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