The Ex-Mecom Racing Team/Augie Pabst/Walt Hansgen 1963-64 Lola-Chevrolet Mark 6 GT Endurance Racing Coupé Chassis no. LGT-2
Here we are delighted to offer a groundbreaking Anglo-American competition Coupé which with its two sisters marked one of the most significant landmarks in the entire history of World-class endurance racing. This rear-engined Lola GT is the second sister of the original Lola-Ford Mark 6 GT which competed at Le Mans in the 1963 24-Hour Grand Prix dEndurance. That cars evident potential persuaded the American Ford Motor Companys management recently rebuffed in its attempts to buy Ferrari to take on Lola founder Derek Broadleys design as the basis of its epochal Ford GT racing programme. While that legendary four-time Le Mans-winning Ford programme is so familiar today, here we offer something of a maverick daughter of that project, for while the original Le Mans Coupé and its other sister car were absorbed into the Ford GT development programme, this particular example had already escaped having been sold to oilman-cum-racing team owner John W. Mecom Jr, of Houston, Texas. He had been on his honeymoon in Europe when he heard of the new Mark 6 GT. He met Eric Broadley in London, and bought LGT-2. As (quoted in Dave Friedmans book Lola CanAm & Endurance Race Cars MBI 1998). Mr Mecom recalled: Our getting that car caused a big ruckus at Ford Motor Company. I was summoned to Ford for a big clandestine meeting so secret we met somewhere near the airport. One of the people in charge of the GT project said Goddamn it, when is this (deleted) Texan going to get over here so we can get this over with?. I said Maybe, sir, youre talking about me, Im here. They tried everything in the world to buy that car back from me and remove it from circulation. Needless to say, it didnt work. That was a beautiful little car, and it was one of my favourites... With a Ford V8 engine installed, Augie Pabst drove the car for the Mecom team in the 1963 Guards Trophy classic at Brands Hatch on August Bank Holiday Monday. He described it as: An awesome car to drive it lasted only four laps before the engine blew .Eric Broadley took me for a ride in the car on the street before I drove it at Brands it was raining and he scared the ---- out of me!. Partly in response to John Mecom Jrs frosty reception from Ford, a Traco-tuned Chevrolet V8 engine was then fitted instead of the Ford original, and in the Bahamas Speed Week at Nassau in December 1963, Augie Pabst beat all opposition with the car to win first a 5-lap preliminary race, and then the major Nassau Tourist Trophy. Bearing the unusual race number 00 this Lola-Chevrolet beat a full field there which included three Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sports and the Ford V8-engined Shelby Cobras which were left to look positively agricultural in comparison. This Mecom team Lola-Chevrolet GT was then entered in the 1964 Sebring 12-Hours to be co-driven by veteran Walt Hansgen and Augie Pabst, but soon after the start the rev-counter cable seized, wrenching the distributor out of timing. Walt Hansgen re-timed the engine by eye out beside the circuit, but it had already suffered internal damage and failed soon after he rejoined the race. Today John Mecom recalls the veteran American champions disappointment: Walt really loved how that car drove as long as it lasted that was a shame . At Mosport, Canada, for the Players 200 in June 1964, the engine failed during practice, while in the SCCA June Sprints at Road America, Pabst led in LGT-2 before overheating problems forced another retirement. In August 1964 the Mecom team returned to England for the Lolas second Guards Trophy race, Pabst finishing 11th. Flown back to Milwaukee, the car was tested briefly at Elkhart Lake before contesting the Road America 500 there in September, again co-driven by Hansgen/Pabst. After an engine change one mount was omitted, and the V8 twisted within the chassis. John Mecom: I think Augie had to start dead last there, and by about the fourth lap he was leading. I just thought that car was fantastic - when it kept running. We tried a 305 Ford in it but that was a bad engine, so we went back to the Chevrolet . The car was then prepared for the big Riverside race in October, but in practice Augie Pabst found that the throttle was sticking. Next day it stuck again in Turn 6 and the car tunnelled under the trackside barrier. Its left-side A-pillar was smashed back, together with the cabin roof ,and Pabst found his head pinned against the rear window by the guardrail. He thought his mouth was full of loose teeth, until on spitting out the pieces he found they were actually only glass from the windshield. Thank God that car was right-hand drive! That car was truly one of the best that I ever drove and it gave me a hell of a lot of confidence . If we could have cured the cooling problems Im sure we would have won a lot of races . Damage to the car was confined to the nose, left-front and the cabin pillars and roof. John Mecom has confirmed to us that the car was returned to his team workshop in Houston where it survived in torn-down form before eventually passing to a believed ownership somewhere in the north-west with a spare rear body I believe at George Barriss shop in California. The car survived as a restoration project in intermittent progress until it was acquired by enthusiast dealer Chuck Haines and entrusted to former CanAm crew chief Tom Frederick of Brooks, California, for full restoration to running order. Tom Frederick has confirmed to us that what we received was the complete chassis and surviving body panels but no roof. The work to restore and reassemble it all was enormous. For an individual the project must have seemed overwhelming . The completed car was then sold to the celebrated German collector Peter Kaus on March 13, 1988, and it made the long trans-Atlantic trip to its new home by air. The car has since been preserved in quite remarkable aesthetic order. We recommend the closest inspection, and in recent years it has emerged and run again in such events as the Goodwood Festival of Speed, whose number stickers it still bears to this day. Bruce McLaren had been taken on by Ford to help develop their new GT, and one of his first tasks was to explore the performance of the prototype Lola-Ford here at Goodwood. He wrote: It had been fitted with one of the Indianapolis all-powerful Ford V8 engines. Jimmy Clark and Dan Gurney had described just how the Indy Lotuses accelerated with this power unit and I realized exactly what they had been talking about the first time I opened the throttle wide on Lavant Straight. At around 6,000rpm the engine emits a shrill, smooth scream similar in note to the Climax V8, but louder, and with 4.2 litres much more power. The throttle worked almost like a tap getting from one corner to the next was just one surge of acceleration that made even the straights exciting! Even before the suspension had been adjusted I was turning in times 2secs faster than the GT record . Today LGT-2 offered here with its Chevrolet V8 installed, has a lighter engine than Bruces 4.2-litre Ford, of larger capacity, and of even greater power and torque This is a magnificent Anglo-American mid-engined monocoque Coupé with a fascinating history. It is unique in combining the chassis design which initiated the entire Ford GT40 programme with the rival Chevrolet V8 motive power unit. It is a car which won twice in the legendary Bahamas Speed Week and it is a car which was raced by two of Americas most iconic road racing drivers of the era Augie Pabst and the great Walt Hansgen. Here is a potential Historic racing and concours car of individual historic significance which would is surely the ticket to the worlds most charismatic and most admired international motoring events.