The Ex-Dan Hagerty 'Grizzly Adams',1969-70 Lola-Chevrolet T70GT Mark IIIB Group 4 Racing Coupé  Chassis no. SL71/37 Engine no. 38581

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Lot 232
The Ex-Dan Hagerty 'Grizzly Adams', 1969-70 Lola-Chevrolet T70GT Mark IIIB Group 4 Racing Coupé
Chassis no. SL71/37 Engine no. 38581

Sold for £ 122,500 (US$ 156,186) inc. premium
The Ex-Dan Hagerty 'Grizzly Adams'
1969-70 Lola-Chevrolet T70GT Mark IIIB Group 4 Racing Coupé
Chassis no. SL71/37
Engine no. 38581

Footnotes

  • Of all the great endurance racing sports Coupes of the 1967-1971 period the beautifully proportioned Lola T70GT Mark IIB Coupes such as this handsomely-presented example are perhaps the most beautiful from every angle. Lola Cars Ltd under its brilliant founder Eric Broadley built not only some of the most attractive sports, GT and single-seater racing cars that modern motor racing has ever seen, it also produced extremely competitive and well-engineered machines which earned broad custom and widespread acclaim not only in their home country of England, but also throughout the racing world, Europe, the USA, Australasia, Southern Africa and Japan alike.

    This particular car is a remarkable restoration of chassis serial ‘SL71/37 which is understood to have begun life in 1966 as an open-cockpit CanAm-type racing Lola T70 Spider. That car was evidently sold new from the Lola factory in Slough, Buckinghamshire, England to the US via contemporary distributor John W. Mecom Jr in Texas. There is some circumstantial evidence that chassis ‘37’ might have been the car which was fitted with a huge 7-litre iron-block Ford V8 engine and was campaigned by none other than Mario Andretti in the 1966 ‘Los Angeles Times’ Grand Prix CanAm round at Riverside, California. This is, however, absolutely unconfirmed.

    The car is understood, however, to have passed into the ownership of well-known contemporary TV and movie actor Dan Hagerty – best known for his television-series role as the portly and popular character ‘Grizzly Adams’. It would appear that the car was converted for him essentially for road use, the originally Spider-bodied chassis being fitted with Coupe closed-cabin T70GT bodywork as now presented here. In order to accommodate ‘Grizzly Adams’s substantial figure, the cockpit was reputedly widened by some 8-inches with the fuel cells within the driver’s side door sill – or perhaps both side sills - being reduced to compensate.

    The car eventually passed to former CanAm crew chief and restorer Tom Frederick, of Browns, California, who wrote to Peter Kaus – the celebrated German collector – on December 21, 1985 – a copy of this document surviving in the file accompanying this Lot: “the Mark III Lola coup…serial number is SL72/37. This was originally a roadster with the coupe body added. The chassis seems to be in excellent shape. The transmission is a 4 speed. The fuel cells were decreased in size for more interior room. The engine is a 350 cu inch, wet sump”. He also had available at that time a “305CID VDS team engine, current CanAm, aluminium heads, dry sump. (This could be installed in the Lola coupe)” – plus a “494 cu inch all aluminum large block Chevy, injection, dry sump etc”. A hand-written copy letter from Mr Kaus infers that the 494 cubic-inch Chevrolet engine was specified with this purchase, while he also stipulated that the car should not be painted.

    As presented today the car is dazzlingly finished in metallic blue with almost copper-shaded anodising on the road wheels. It has apparently seen relatively little significant use in recent years during which it has been one of the most popular exhibits in the Rosso Bianco Collection displays at Aschaffenburg.

    After having played a pivotal role in the original Ford GT programme – for the immortal GT40 was derived very much from his own pioneering Lola-Ford Mark 6GT design of 1963 – Eric Broadley produced his prototype T70 model as an open-cockpit unlimited-capacity sports-racing Spyder in 1965. Where the Ford GT40 had emerged with a hefty steel-skinned monocoque hull, Broadley’s T70 was much more a purebred competition machine with lightweight – yet no less robust – monocoque chassis skinned in lightweight aluminium-alloy.

    Ferrari’s 1964 Formula 1 World Champion driver John Surtees was deeply involved with T70 development and in 1966 he won the inaugural CanAm Championship in the USA and Canada in his own Team Surtees car, using Chevrolet V8 engine power. The following year saw Aston Martin V8-engined T70 GT prototype cars competing at the Nurburgring and Le Mans, and Chevrolet V8-engined derivatives quickly followed, finding many sales amongst eager customers.

    For 1968 Group 4 sports car regulations permitted production stock-block engined cars to take advantage of a full 5-litre capacity ceiling – in contrast to the 3-litre limit which was enforced upon purebred sports-prototypes using specialist racing engines. The Lola-Chevrolet T70GT cars paralleled the production Ford GT40s in providing the international backbone of this class, and they competed strongly throughout this most evocative and historic period in which race success was dominated by the immensely more expensive and demanding Porsche 917s and Ferrari 512s.

    This Lola-Chevrolet T70GT is a most attractive, practical, useable and potentially extremely competitive Historic racing machine and is a fine example of probably the most beautiful rear-engined Grand Touring machine ever produced.
The Ex-Dan Hagerty 'Grizzly Adams',1969-70 Lola-Chevrolet T70GT Mark IIIB Group 4 Racing Coupé  Chassis no. SL71/37 Engine no. 38581
The Ex-Dan Hagerty 'Grizzly Adams',1969-70 Lola-Chevrolet T70GT Mark IIIB Group 4 Racing Coupé  Chassis no. SL71/37 Engine no. 38581
The Ex-Dan Hagerty 'Grizzly Adams',1969-70 Lola-Chevrolet T70GT Mark IIIB Group 4 Racing Coupé  Chassis no. SL71/37 Engine no. 38581
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