Whatsit: 1968 Lola Project

I spent about 45 minutes figuring out that our next car is probably a Lola T70 Mk3 coupe. Here on craigslist, for $100,000, is a project race car listed as a “Lola 908”. The car is located in Santa Rosa, California. Thanks to Pat L. for the tip! It’s difficult to know whether Lola ever stuffed a Porsche 908 motor in a T70, but that motor was a flat eight, and the ad indicates that the original motor was a flat six.  Furthermore, Lola and Porsche were staunch competitors in 1968. So surely the 908 wouldn’t have been a factory option. Lola did sell bodies to privateers who then installed engines of their own liking, but the T70 ran a Chevrolet motor from the factory. Anyway, it doesn’t matter much, because the seller of this shell indicates that the original motor is missing.

Lola T70 cars were fiberglass over an aluminum monocoque chassis; it was a mid-engine configuration. The design proved so enduring that at least one firm makes replicas of the cars – Broadley Automotive in the U.K., for instance. The cars did indeed race Can Am just as noted in the ad but they were not terribly competitive.

The interior shows the typical lay-back seat style of the Lola T70. Well, if there were seats. The seller indicates “all glass available, suspension, frame, body and wheels original.” So let’s set aside what this is or isn’t for a second and address the question: if you are looking to buy a race car, what should you know? I would ask where it raced, how it placed, and for photographs or journalistic mentions of it racing. It can be tricky to tie a shell and chassis like this to a series of races. Who sat in its seat? Was it a celebrity, or a wannabe? Is there a record of technical inspections? Can all of this information be corroborated by someone you can speak to? How did it end up in the garage where you are looking at it? How is it constructed and will that match the rules where you want to race? Who worked on it? Call that guy!

Finally, how likely is it that a historic racer ends up on craigslist? Often these cars are sold through brokers. Investigating this one might be an exercise in futility, but then again, what do you think? Is it worth putting in an inquiry?

Comments

  1. misterlou Member

    Being a North Bay Area car, maybe it was used in THX1138?

    Like 9
    • Michelle Rand

      You might have nailed it. Rumor has it that at least one of those Lolas hit a post, and this car looks like it has a new nose. Wow. Could it be?

      Like 5
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    100K for a stripped shell, boxes of parts, No engine, no mention of a transaxle, and all the questions Michelle has doesn’t add up in my money count. The fish smell is rising.

    Like 14
    • Tony Primo

      The seller could be a fisherman, just waiting for a sucker to show up.

      Like 5
  3. jo6pac

    As far as I know this is the only 908 type.

    https://racecarsdirect.com/Advert/Details/125421/porsche-908-vasek-polak

    Sad this doesn’t have the motor.

    Like 2
  4. Don

    I could be wrong but I don’t remember any Can-Am cars being closed cars.

    Like 3
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      You are correct, Can Am was open cars; there was some sister series that used the coupe versions of similar cars. I ran across that fact in my research. Good memory!

      Like 2
  5. SMS

    There would be a Lola Cars Ltd chassis plate on a Lola. No plate most likely a replica. Several of the replicas were good.

    Like 5
    • Bruce

      The could easily be a replica made by MARAUDER KIT CARS in the 80’s. The molds were pulled off of an original car body and replicated. They also did a few other cars the most specular being the CHEVRON B-16. I have seen one of these in person and they are just amazing.

      The thing to look for is the chassis and how it is made, round or square tubing and much of the other construction details. Critical is the transmission and clutch is it with the car and is it right as a racing transmission or an adapted one.

      These raced in long distance enduro racing of the time and won a few races but I do not remember them well except for the dark blue ones that Mark Donahue drove with much success and were spectacular to see in real life. Oh the windshield motor I believe was from a Boeing 727 so it will be breathtakingly expensive.

      Like 5
  6. gregv

    Chassis looks very untypical of a Lola T70, or any other Lola I could find. And nothing comes up for a Lola 908 online… so what is this? The body looks like a T70 repro?

    Like 2
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      See misterlou’s comment. If it was a movie car then who knows what it might have morphed into.

      Like 1
  7. bill tebbutt

    As best I know, T70s are full monocoque structure, not tubular. $100,000 for this is…..hilarious??

    cheers,
    BT

    Like 7
  8. Scuderia

    Prove it.

  9. Martin Horrocks

    Looks like a total and obvious scam. The description is a work of fiction.The claim that any Lola T70 was fitted with a Porsche engine is absolutely untrue. Maybe someone in the US made a kit car T70 with 911 motor, but that would never be a “Multi million dollar car”

    The real Lola T70 started as an opèn car, won the first ever CanAm Series in the hands of John Surtees (1965?). So, yes, it was competitive!. This chassis then was used for the Lola T70 MKIII , a GT group 4 car (25 needed to homologate) , fitted with 5.0 Chevy engine which was a step up from the GT40. I used to watch them in UK in late 60s and in shorter races a GT40 could not match a T70 In longer endurance races (500 miles plus), GT40 reliability produced better results.

    There are probably more T70 MkIII available now than were built in period, as they have been popular and competitive in Vintage racing since the 1970s.

    Like 5
  10. Bruce

    If you Google Marauder Kit Cars you can see on of their ads for kits. I agree with others unless you see a LOLA name plate on the chassis this is a kit and I think one of the Marauder kits as well. Those were very well done but most had the Chevy engine and a ZF transmission but much of the other stuff was from the racing community. I have only seen one of the replicas and I was not that close but I have been around both and the bodies look exactly alike. In their ads they said that the pulled the moulds off of an original body and I would believe them.

    But My god what a beautiful body shape. Painted right they are just stunning but I agree with others that the seller has been smoking the good stuff for too long and the price is about double what it should be. Even with the engine and transmission there.

    Like 4
  11. SMS

    Man all this talk about CanAm. How lucky we were to watch those cars and drivers.

    Like 3
    • RC Graham

      I teared up when Pete Revson and Mark Donahue met their Maker.

  12. James

    The team at Barnfinds does such a fantastic job a finding and identifying wonderful rolling pieces of aautomotive history. I look forward to every one of your emails. Thank you for the great job and for sharing.

    Like 6
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Thanks so much, James. On this one, the comments are better than the article, and I’m the author!

      Like 2
  13. Last 1LE

    Unfinished kit car. Used to see these sorts of things all the time (1990’s – early 2000’s) in magazines like ‘Kit Car Illustrated’ and at ‘kit car’ shows. At least it’s not a Pontiac Fiero with a malapportioned ‘GT40’ body kit…

    Like 5
  14. Graham Line

    The T70 Mk.III also turned up occasionally with a Ford or Aston Martin V8, almost always with a Hewland transaxle. But nothing here is very convincing.

    Like 3
  15. David Gilbertson

    Marauder kit cars were amazing. When I was a college student 40 plus years ago I was in the Midwest and a big kit car fan. Another fellow student who was also into the kit cars suggested we take a road trip over to the Marauder kit car factory. It was about a four hour drive each way but it was definitely worth it. They had a large steel shed out in what I remember to be the middle of a cornfield. There were cars in various states of completion all over and some were amazing. They had all the car bodies showing in their ads and they were also taking molds off of a Pantera to come out with that model. You could get them in various states of completion and I remember one vehicle there with a Chevy V8, ZF transmission, Weber downdraft carburetors, etc. Very memorable trip and I always wondered what became of the company as it was pretty new back then. I also had the opportunity to go up to the Cimbria plant up in Milwaukee although the cars made by Marauder were a different level.

    Like 5
  16. O)ldCarGuy

    This “project” has all the earmarks of someone, who, having found a derelict Lola/copy, was inspired to remove the good bits (I notice 2 style of wheels in the pics), source an aftermarket body (looks like all of it has just been taken out of the molds), install mechanical bits that would leave the aforementioned fish exclaiming “OOHHH! AAAH! OBOY!), and is advertising it with 7 pics, each of which would account for $14285.71. If this were a legit deal, I would think that, for that kind of money, about 40 pics, minimum, would show all details from the inside, the outside, everything underneath, up close, 3/4 views, wheel wells, instrument panel (does it look like it ever had one?), and, as mentioned, dear readers, the data plate.

    RUN, JIMMY, RUN!

    Like 1
  17. JagManBill
  18. JagManBill
  19. Ramin

    I live in Santa Rosa. Should I go check it out?

  20. V12MECH

    Did Chuck Beck ever do a Lola glass knock off? He is mostly a Porsche guy, but did numerous wild projects.

    Like 1
  21. Codyco33

    So it’s 10K right?

  22. JagManBill

    Don’t know if its a Marauder or not. Marauders were a 4 light front if I remember. Could still be one with an earler T70 Spyder nose. I think there was also a UK company making them back 20+ years back that used the 2 light nose.

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