Postcards from Slough
Postcards from Slough

Lola Cars

Eric Broadley MBE (born 22nd September 1928) began designing and building race cars in the 1950s. In 1958 he opened a small manufacturing facility in Bromley to produce cars for various classes of international competition. His early cars such as the Lola Mk1 were built in a workshop in West Byfleet and later at business partner Rob Rushbrook’s garage in Bromley. In 1961 Broadley's shop took the name ‘Lola’.

 

Early success was achieved in 1962 with John Surtees driving a Lola Mk4 to second in both the British and German Formula 1 Grind Prix and coming fourth in the World Championship.

By 1963, Lola were based in a factory at 826 Yeovil Road, Slough. The first cars built here were Mk 5As (later designated Mk 53) for Midland Racing Partners. Later Lola would acquire additional premises at 839 Yeovil Road.

 

Lola Mk6 and Ford GT40

For the 1963 season Lola produced the Mk6, a mid-engined coupe, and entered it in the Le Mans 24 Hour. The car was driven to the event from Lola’s factory in Slough. It was powered by a Ford 4·2 litre V8 and, although it did not finish the race, it did make the second fastest lap.

 

Ford were so impressed with the design that they contracted Broadley for two years to develop the car into what became the Ford GT40. Broadley left the GT40 project which was essentially a Broadley design with a Ford engine, a year early in 1964.

 

Lola T70

He went back to developing his own Lola projects and the result was the Chevrolet V8 powered T70. In 1966 John Surtees won the inaugural CanAm Championship driving for his own team in a Lola T70 Spyder or open top.

John Surtees’ Lola T70 #3

 

The Lola T70 Mk2 dominated the 1966 CanAm Championship winning 5 out of 6 of the rounds. John Surtees, in a Chevrolet-powered Lola T70 number 3 and later number 7, won three out of the six races and winning the drivers’ championship. Mark Donohue and Dan Gurney, also driving T70s but for Roger Penske Racing and All American Racers respectively, took a round each.

1966 CanAm Driver’s Championship

Rnd

Circuit

Driver

Car/number

Team

1

Mont-Tremblant

John Surtees

Lola T70 Mk2 #3

Team Surtees

2

Bridgehampton

Dan Gurney

Lola T70 Mk2 #30

All American Racers

3

Mosport

Mark Donohue

Lola T70 Mk2 #6

Roger Penske Racing

4

Laguna Seca

Phil Hill

Chaparral 2E65

Chaparral Cars

5

Riverside

John Surtees

Lola T70 Mk2 #3

Team Surtees

6

Stardust

John Surtees

Lola T70 Mk2 #3

Team Surtees

This Lola T70 Mk2 has the Slough chassis number SL.73/126. It was driven in the 1967 CanAm series by George Follmer for Penske Cars and has been faithfully restored and is in private ownership in the USA.

To qualify for European prototype racing, Broadley designed a T70 coupé body initially to be powered by an Aston Martin 5 litre V8 engine. It was found to be unreliable so the more reliable 5·7 litre Chevrolet was selected.

 

Despite poor performance in the World Championship, the T70 Mk3b coupé sold over one hundred cars to privateers. Among them was Denny Hulme, who won the 1969 RAC Tourist Trophy in a T70 Mk3b which was also referred to as the T76.

A Lola T70 coupe of the Scuderia Filipinetti team.

The biggest win for a T70 Mk3b came in the 1969 Daytona 24 Hours Daytona for Roger Penske Racing. Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons driving their hastily repaired T70 #6 took first place in spite of the car sustaining severe damage to its left front wing and losing part of it right rear spoiler.

Lola T70Mk3b Mark Donohue and Chuck Parsons, winners of the 1969 Daytona 24 Hour

 

Over 100 T70s of various marks were produced. Nowadays, along with other Lola cars, T70s are driven in classic car events like the Classic Endurance Racing series.

Lola T142

In 1967, Broadley created the Formula 2 T100 single-seat race car which Surtees drove to win at Zolder. In the same year he designed the T110 which eventually led to the T142.

 

In 1969, a T142 driven by Mike Walker for McKechnie Racing won at Silverstone and again at Oulton Park in the Guards Formula 5000 Championship. Mike Hailwood driving a T142 for Epstein Cuthbert Racing won at Brands Hatch in the same tournament.

Adam Simmonds’ 1968 Lola T142 #32. This car was built on Slough chassis #SL142/38

 

Lola Cars moved to Huntingdon in late 1970. Broadley sold Lola to Martin Birrane in 1999 and set up his own limousine company called Lola Limousines. Lola Cars International eventually went into administration and ceased trading in 2012.

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