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Quail Lodge Auction / 1964 Lotus Type 34 Single-Seater Chassis no. 2

Lot 82
The ex-AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney and Jim Clark
Indy 500 Pole and 8 time USAC Pole Winner
4 time USAC race winner - The winningest Indy Lotus
1964 Lotus Type 34 Single-Seater
18 August 2017, 10:00 PDT
Carmel, Quail Lodge & Golf Club

Sold for US$1,150,000

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1964 Lotus Type 34 Single-Seater
Chassis no. 2

4,195cc DOHC V8 Engine
Hilborn Fuel Injection
495 bhp at 7,800 rpm
2-Speed ZF Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Disc Brakes

*The ex-AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney and Jim Clark Indy 500 Pole and 8-time USAC Pole Winner
*Set a record qualifying time of 161.233 mph at Indianapolis in 1965
*4-time USAC race winner with victories by Foyt and Jones
*The winningest Lotus Indy car
*Recently restored to original specification and running condition
*In the longtime ownership of Foyt
*One of two Type 34s in existence; the other is in the Indianapolis Speedway Museum

The Indianapolis 500 might have been the crown jewel of American auto racing in the early 1960s, but even some of its staunchest supporters would have had to admit that it was losing the technological race to Formula 1. The archaic front-engine roadsters that had ruled the Brickyard oval for so long were ready to be relegated to the history books by the kind of light, nimble, rear-engine cars that were dominating the world's road circuits, and no one saw this more clearly than did Dan Gurney.

Gurney, the talented American who had broken into Formula 1 racing in 1959, was impressed by the success of Lotus, whose highly innovative cars seemed to be winning Grand Prix events everywhere – including the 1961 U.S. Grand Prix. Believing that they could do the same at Indianapolis, he invited Lotus' founder, Colin Chapman, to the 1962 event, where the famously prickly Briton agreed with his assessment. "All you've got to do is to get an engine with half the power of these great lumps of junk, build a decent chassis and you've won the race," he said.

Though there were difficulties along the way, it didn't take long for Chapman's boast to be proven. In 1963, Lotus' star driver, a Scot named Jimmy Clark, finished second in a Type 29; in 1964, Clark's Type 34 became the first rear-engine car ever to qualify for the pole position on the starting grid; and in 1965, Clark stormed to a one of the most convincing victories in Indianapolis history in a Type 38, while his teammate, A.J. Foyt, set a new record qualifying time, taking the pole in the very Type 34 on offer here.

Gurney couldn't have known it, but he and Chapman were not the only ones dreaming of conquest at the 1962 Indianapolis 500. Ford executive Donald Frey was there, too, thinking about ways to put the Blue Oval's stamp on the event. These were the nascent days of Ford's "Total Performance" campaign, designed to create the kind of excitement needed to lure baby boomers into the showroom, and returning to the Brickyard for the first time since 1935 would fit neatly into the corporation's all-out assault on the world's competition venues. What Ford needed to do, Frey concluded as he returned home, was to build a race engine.

And so, it was that Chapman and Gurney found an open ear when they traveled to Dearborn to make their pitch. They argued that a lightweight, monocoque, rear-engine race car would outcompete the front-engine roadsters, as it would be easier on its tires and go further on a gallon of fuel, reducing time spent in the pits. Ford was swayed, and agreed to pay nearly all the expenses of the project. The automaker naturally tapped Gurney to drive one car, while Chapman secured the second for Clark, who had made his Formula 1 debut in 1960.

The first fruit of the Lotus-Ford marriage was the Lotus Type 29. The new car was based on the design of the successful Lotus 25 rear-engine single-seater of 1962, whose revolutionary, fully stressed monocoque construction made it both stronger and lighter than its Formula 1 competition. The new 29 was slightly larger than the 25 in all dimensions, and used an asymmetrical suspension system that offset the body to the left, to help the car hustle through Indianapolis's banked turns.

Ford's contribution was a lightweight, all-aluminum, 255-cubic-inch version of its recently introduced 260-cubic-inch "small block" Challenger V8 engine. Equipped with four Weber carburetors, the race engine was rated at 376 horsepower running on gasoline. This was well short of the 450 or so horsepower produced by the turbocharged Offenhauser four-cylinders most Indy competitors used, but the team's belief was that the car's light weight and quicker speed through the corners would more than make up for its power handicap.

The 1963 Indy 500 promised to be a showdown between the past and the future, and it lived up to that promise. Skeptics who considered the lightweight Type 29 too fragile and underpowered to challenge the mighty Offys were silenced when Gurney set a qualifying time of 149.750 mph, putting him well forward in the grid. The American would be knocked out of contention by tire problems, finishing seventh, but Clark chased the eventual winner, Parnelli Jones, up to the last lap, coming in second. The finish would be controversial, as race officials failed to black-flag Jones' car for an oil leak.

Ford and Lotus were back again in 1964, and they had been busy applying what they'd learned. Their new weapon was the Type 34, which was an evolution of the previous year's car. Ford had come to the conclusion that more oomph was needed, and so it developed a more powerful version of its racing small-block, one that did away with less efficient pushrods in favor of four gear-driven overhead camshafts to operate the engine's 32 valves. Pent-roof pistons rode in cast-iron cylinder liners, while the forged steel crankshaft was cradled in beefed-up bottom end. Through better breathing, and with the benefit of Hilborn fuel injection, the new engine developed a lusty 495 horsepower.

Three examples of the new Indy car were constructed. Chassis 34/1 was assigned to Clark, 34/3 went to Gurney, and 34/2, the car on offer here, was used in practice only. The stage was set for a dramatic rematch at Indy, anticipation heightened when Clark qualified at a scorching 158.828 mph, a new record that put the Lotus in the pole position, a first for a rear-engine car at Indy. But triumph was denied that day. The Dunlop tires Chapman had chosen for the team to run weren't up to the task; Clark's car was disabled when the tread on a rear tire separated, creating an imbalance that damaged the rear suspension, and Gurney was pulled out of the race as a precaution on the 110th lap.

Though Chassis 34/2 was practiced at Indianapolis by Gurney and Clark, it did not compete in the 1964 500-mile race. The car was entered in the Tony Bettenhausen 200 at the Milwaukee Mile, with that year's Indy 500 winner, the legendary Anthony Joseph "A.J." Foyt, signed to drive in a one-race deal. Foyt, also known as "Super Tex," would later confide that he had never been more frightened in a race car than he had been in the Lotus, where the cockpit was surrounded by the fuel supply. His fears were possibly heightened by the horrific, fiery accident that claimed the lives of drivers Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald at Indy in 1964.

Foyt, who retired in 1993 with a record 159 USAC victories, would drive 34/2 to three of its four wins, but the initial matchup in Milwaukee on August 23 produced a disappointing result. Though he qualified in third position behind Parnelli Jones and Rodger Ward, Foyt's day ended on the first lap of the race, when the transmission failed.

September 27 found 34/2 back in action, in the Trenton 200. Ford selected the drivers, signing Parnelli Jones to drive chassis #2, and Clark to drive #1. Jones put his car on the pole, and would handily take the victory, leading the race for all but 10 laps. Among those he beat was Foyt, whose Indy-winning Offy-powered roadster failed to finish the race. Clark, in #1, was put out of the running by a broken half-shaft.

For the 1965 season, with Gurney leaving to found his own All-American Racers, Foyt was signed to drive chassis #2. According to former team member Andrew Ferguson's definitive book, "Team Lotus – The Indianapolis Years," Foyt had the car rebuilt by two experienced Indy hands, car constructor Lujie Lesovsky and mechanic George Bignotti. The car, sponsored by Sheraton-Thompson and painted pearl white with red and blue trim, now wore the number 1, in recognition of its driver's USAC national championship the previous year.

By the time the season was over, Foyt would have five USAC victories, three while driving the Lotus, and capture the pole position a remarkable 10 times over 18 races. He would also be behind the wheel for what was arguably 34/2's greatest moment, taking the pole at Indianapolis.

The 1965 season began with a pair of disappointments, as Foyt put 34/2 on the pole in his first two races – the Jimmy Bryan Memorial 150 in Phoenix, and the Trenton 100 – but failed to finish either, due to mechanical problems. The car's next, and most important, test would be at the Brickyard. With Foyt, who had already conquered Indy twice, joining the rear-engine revolution, the chances were excellent that history would be made.

On May 31, Foyt electrified the crowd by capturing the Indy 500 pole with an average speed of 161.233 mph in his four qualifying laps, a new record. Joining him in the front row of the grid were Clark, the acknowledged favorite, and Gurney, both in new Lotus 38s.

Foyt and Clark traded the lead twice over the first three laps before Clark pulled away. On lap 65, Foyt regained the lead when Clark made a pit stop, but the Scot retook the lead 10 laps later, and would not relinquish it again. When Foyt's transmission failed on lap 115, Clark had clear sailing into the record books as the first driver to win at Indianapolis in a rear-engine machine. He set a new average speed record for the race at 150.686 mph, and became the first foreigner to win at Indy since 1916.

The Rex Mays Classic, on June 6 at the Milwaukee Mile, saw the fourth consecutive pole position for Foyt and 34/2, but after he had led for most of the race, the transmission once more failed. Another DNF followed at the Langhorne 150 in Pennsylvania. There would be no such difficulties at the Trenton 150, when Foyt, once again on the pole, led for the entire race. One week later, at Indianapolis Raceway Park, he held first place until the last lap, when the car ran out of fuel, dropping him back to a fourth-place finish.

A second-place finish at the Langhorne 125 on August 8 was followed by the Atlanta Championship 250, where Foyt captured his sixth pole position of the season, but had to drop out when 34/2's left rear suspension failed. Redemption came at the Trenton 200 on September 26, when Foyt, again on the pole, roared to a flag-to-flag win, lapping the field. On November 4, he drove 34/2 to its fourth and final race victory, at the Bobby Ball Memorial 200 in Phoenix.

During the 1966 season, Foyt continued to race the still-competitive 34/2, even while campaigning the new Coyote chassis car built for his team, and a Lotus 38. In its final race, the Trenton 200 on September 25, chassis 34/2 would end on a high note, finishing third.

Foyt retired the car at the end of the 1966 season, and put it in storage. He owned it until 1992, when he offered it at his famous "Garage Sale" auction at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was purchased by its current owner, who was introduced by Smokey Yunick to John Fisher, a former Foyt crew member who offered advice on the sale. Fisher also helped negotiate the purchase of several spare Lotus 34 parts that were also part of Foyt's collection.

The owner displayed it in his Automobile Museum of the Southeast for 15 years before moving his collection to Asheville, North Carolina. Just this year the Lotus was subjected to a meticulous restoration by Walter Goodwin's highly regarded Race Car Restorations in Indianapolis. Thanks to its immediate retirement from racing in 1966, the car was remarkably complete. The Lotus was expertly restored to correct, mechanical and physical condition, and all finishes were accurately redone. Upon its completion, 34/2 was displayed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum as part of a retrospective of Foyt's career.

The Type 34 was by far the most successful of the Indy Lotuses, with a total of six victories. Foyt is the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500 (which he won four times), the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and has been voted the greatest Indy driver of all time by fans. His four Indy-winning cars are at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, making 34/2 perhaps the most significant Foyt car in private hands.

This sale represents an opportunity to own a beautiful and historic race car that played a significant role in the dawning of a new age in motorsports history. Driven to victory by the winningest driver in USAC history, this Lotus would be welcome at concours and vintage motorsports events around the world.


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