The Sid Taylor Racing, Ex – Redman, Hulme, Gardner, Revson 1969 Lola T70 Mk3B

The Sid Taylor Racing, Ex-Brian Redman, Denny Hulme, Frank Gardner, Peter Revson 1969 Lola T70 Mk3B

Established in 1958, Lola cars had an influential impact on the motor racing world from the minute they burst onto the scene with the stunning Lola Mk1. The company remained at the forefront of racing car design and construction for over half a century and enjoyed remarkable success with single-seaters as well as in Sports and GT racing.

Lola was founded and masterminded by one of most renowned and regarded British race car designers, Eric Broadley. Trained as an architect in the late 1940s and like so many of his compatriots, he started out building and racing his own creations. Spurred on by the success of the Broadley Special he turned his attention to a new, more sophisticated venture.

In July 1958 the Lola MK1 made its debut and was an instant success, turning the sports car world on its head. Single seaters followed with the Formula Junior Mk2 and Mk3 in 1960 and 1961. After only four years of being in business Lola took on the Formula 1 establishment with the Mk4 which proved to be very successful, becoming a regular at the front of the grid during 1962.

Soon came another sports racer with the Mk6 GT, a project of Broadley’s which combined the compact size and strong performance of a Ford V8 with an aluminium monocoque chassis. In 1963, after showing promise at Le Mans, Ford bought the project from Lola and tested the car further involving Broadley himself. This Mk6GT really laid the foundation for the GT40, a car which became a legend of sports car racing worldwide.

Broadley’s work with Ford had come to an end during 1964, and now back to focus on Lola he designed some Formula 2 cars before creating a new challenger for the Group 7 regulations, the T70. With Group 7 becoming a popular grid both in Europe and America, Broadley incorporated an American V8 engine as with the Mk6 GT that went before.

The new T70 used a full length aluminium monocoque with fabricated steel bulkheads and the engine being a semi-stressed member. A relatively conventional double wishbone suspension layout was used and Hewland’s new LG500 gearbox was specified, this magnesium cased unit having been designed specifically for use with high output V8 engines. Closely fitting around this ensemble was another classic body design, penned by Jim Clark of Specialised Mouldings.

John Surtees was one of the first customers for the T70, running what in effect was a ‘semi-works’ team in 1965. Traco prepared Chevrolet V8s were used, a 5.0-litre unit at first and then from mid-season a 5.9. A Mk2 version of the T70 became available before the end of the ’65 season, Broadley, taking advantage of the forthcoming deletion of the ‘spare wheel’ requirement to redesign the nose, replacing the original twin radiators with a large single unit while incorporating a host of detail improvements to both chassis and suspension. The result was a car which, in prototype form, was driven to a convincing victory by Surtees in the Guards International Trophy at Brands Hatch on the August bank holiday weekend. The Lola T70 remained a popular choice for teams and privateers alike, among whom it was rated as the best handling car of its type.

When the new Group 4 category regulations came in for 1967, Broadley homologated the T70 in what became Mk3 form, building the required 40 cars by end of the 1966. The Mk3 was produced in such a way that they could either be run as spyders for Group 7 or Coupes for Group 4. A 6.0-litre small block V8 was used for power, and the new T70 Mk3 Coupes challenged the GT40s which also ran in Group 4 through 1967.

Regulation changes for 1968 meant that the engine size was forced to be reduced to 5.0-litre in order for it to be able to run in Group 4. Success was found in sprint races, but reliability issues plagued the Chevrolet engines over longer distances.

Broadley and Lola stepped things up for the 1969 season, redesigning the T70 to produce the Mk3B. Although just a B was added to the designation, the only part carried over from the Mk3 Coupe was the windscreen. The Mk3B used a full aluminium monocoque, similar to that of the 1968 T160 Cam-Am car. It retained the 5.0-litre Chevrolet V8 from before, and for the most part a revised Hewland gearbox, the LG600 now with five forward gears. One of a number of notable customers was Roger Penske, who’s new T70 Mk3B, SL76/139, claimed victory at the 1969 Daytona 24 Hours, beating John Wyer’s Ford GT40s and the four car strong works Porsche entry of 908s.

Another of the notable T70 Mk3B customers was Sidney Taylor. Sid bought the first of the Mk3B production, SL76/138, this car. Having broken cover on Lola’s stand at the Earls Court Motor Show in January 1969 in the distinctive Sid Taylor Racing livery of white with a green stripe, SL76/138 soon gained the sponsorship of Hamlyn Books.

SL76/138 made its race debut in the International Trophy at Silverstone on the 30th March 1969, driven by Brian Redman. Redman qualified SL76/138 in 2nd place and held the position to finish 2nd, just 5 seconds behind Denny Hulme in John Woolfe’s Mk3 Coupe. SL76/138 and Redman then went to Snetterton for the Guards Trophy on the 4th April 1969, where they took pole position before retiring from the race on lap 32 with a gasket failure.

Just three days later, it was to Thruxton for the Embassy Trophy at the then one year old airfield circuit. Redman again took pole ahead of Jo Bonnier’s similar Lola, and won after a race long battle. The winning margin was just 1.4 seconds after 25 laps. The following weekend, the 13th April, was to be SL76/138’s first International Championship of Makes race, which was also round 4 in the RAC British Sports Car calendar.

The BOAC International 500, held at Brands Hatch, was to be 6 Hours in duration and attracted a very strong entry including the likes of a works Porsche System Engineering outfit, the works Ferrari team, an assortment of Ford GT40s along with challengers from Alfa Romeo, Lotus, Chevron and Alan Mann Racing’s Ford F3Ls. Driving duties of SL76/138 went to the eminently capable trio of Peter Revson, Denny Hulme and Sten Axlesson with Jackie Oliver listed as a reserve. After qualifying 10th, 138 made 120 laps in the race before retiring with overheating issues.

Next, was to Monza on the 25th April for the 1000kms, the fourth round of the International Championship of Makes. Taylor selected charismatic Aussie Frank Gardner and local man Andrea de Adamich to share SL76/138, and the pairing qualified in 10th before finishing 5th behind a trio of Porsches and a GT40. From the early season Italian sun, SL76/138 returned to England for the next round in the RAC championship at Silverstone on the 17th May, with Redman back behind the wheel once more. He qualified SL76/138 2nd for the Martini Trophy race, and finished 2nd behind Chris Craft’s Mk3 GT.

Round 6 of the RAC championship was the Tourist Trophy, now held at Oulton Park, on the 26th May. Redman qualified 3rd but crashed out after 46 laps, eventually being classified in 19th. After being entered for the GP Paris at Montlhery but not arriving, SL76/138 went to the Norisring for the 200 miles on the 29th June, a non-championship race. Redman qualified 6th, but had a pair of great heat races, taking the victory in heat one and finishing 2nd in heat two, which equalled victory on aggregate.

The Vila Real 6 Hours wasn’t attended despite being entered, so the next outing for SL76/138 was the Wills Trophy at Croft on the 13th July. Trevor Taylor was this time tasked with driving duties, and he qualified 3rd. A finish of 8th in heat one, a lap down on the winner hampered the aggregate results despite Taylor taking 1st place in heat 2, ending up 2nd overall. The Sid Taylor Racing crew and SL76/138 then made the journey back out to Italy for the Mugello Grand Prix on the 20th July. An all Italian line up of Andrea de Adamich and Nino Vaccarella featured, with the pair qualifying 7th before finishing third overall and 1st in the 5.0-litre class.

On the 10th August at Thruxton for the Kodak Trophy, Kiwi Denny Hulme took the wheel and put SL76/138 on the front row, in 2nd place with the Chevrolet engine running fuel injection for the first time. He then proceeded to win the first heat and finished runner up in the second, but enough to claim the overall victory for Sid Taylor Racing. A week later and the outfit went out to Sweden for the GP Sweirge at Karlskoga. Reunited with SL76/138 once more, Redman set the pace with pole position and went on to win the race ahead of David Piper’s Porsche 908/2.

The team then stayed in that part of the world for the three part Nordic Challenge. At the first round, held at Keimola in Finland, SL76/138 did not start due to a protest regarding the prize money. By the following week at Mantorp Park in Sweden, that disagreement had seemingly been rectified with Redman and SL76/138 running in the race but not finishing after 35 laps and being classified 14th. The third and final round was also held in Sweden, but this time at the Anderstorp circuit. Redman qualified 138 4th behind two Porsche 908/2s and the T70 Mk3B of Jo Bonnier. Pole sitter and local man Leo Kinnunen maintained his position to win the 50 lap race, with Redman taking the runner up spot in SL76/138.

On the return leg of the Nordic adventure, the team went to the Preis von Salzburg, Austria on the 21st September with local man Dieter Quester on driving duties. Quester took to SL76/138 well, and put the car on the front row of the grid in 2nd place. A result didn’t materialise however, and a DNF was recorded. On the 5th October, SL76/138 took part in the Preis von Tyrol at Innsbruck, Austria. Entered under the Grand Bahama Racing banner, Frank Gardner was behind the wheel and didn’t hang around, taking the win ahead of Arturo Mezario’s Abarth 3000.

With the European season drawing to a close, Taylor rented SL76/138 to John Love for the South African Springbok series which would run over the course of the European winter. Love adorned SL76/138 in the very distinctive orange, brown and gold livery of his sponsors, the cigarette company, Gunston. His first outing with SL76/138 was the Kyalami 9 Hours, on the 8th November where he shared with SL76/138’s regular pilot, Brian Redman.

Sporting number 1, the pair didn’t disappoint in qualifying, taking pole position ahead of David Piper and Richard Attwood in Piper’s Porsche 917K. The larger 6200cc Chevrolet V8, allowed in S.A., was proving to be a match for the 917. Photographs show that Love added an extra fuel tank in the right hand side of the chassis, boosting the fuel capacity massively. Despite the strong start, SL76/138 recorded a DNF with crown-wheel and pinion failure putting it out of contention.

Next was to Killarney for the Cape Town 3 Hours on the 23rd November, where Love drove solo in SL76/138. He qualified in 3rd and went on to finish 2nd to the similar Mk3B of Mike de Udy and Frank Gardner. The rivalry between Love and de Udy/Gardner’s Lola would turn out to be the theme of the Springbok series, with Love being beaten to pole position at the Lourenço Marques 3 Hours on the 1st December. With Love forced to retire SL76/138 from the 3 Hours with head gasket failure, de Udy/Gardner went on to take victory.

The Bulawayo 3 Hours was the fourth round, held at Kumalo, Rhodesia on the 14th December. de Udy and Gardner pipped Love to pole position once more, but this time it was Love who had the upper hand, taking victory in the 3 hours by 5 laps over his rivals. The fifth and final round, the Roy Hesketh 3 Hours on the 27th December saw Love take another victory in SL76/138, winning by 7 laps and capitalising on de Udy’s retirement due to crown wheel and pinion failure. However, it wasn’t quite enough to claw back the deficit inflicted with the two DNFs, and Love had to settle to being runner up, with de Udy winning the series.

On the back of SL76/138’s South African exploits however, it was bought by de Udy to be run in Europe for 1970. At the  Brands Hatch round of the International Championship for Makes, the BOAC 1000kms on the 11th April, de Udy entered SL76/138 under the Grand Bahama Racing Car Company monika, still in Gunston colours but with the logos removed. Photos show that the right hand fuel tank was removed to comply with the fuel capacity limits in Europe, along with de Udy’s distinctive top mounted cockpit air ducts being added.

Sharing the driving again with Frank Gardner, the pair qualified 12th and first of the T70 Mk3Bs, now with the 5000cc  Chevrolet Bartz V8 refitted. In the soaking wet race, they only managed 26 laps before camshaft problems put them out of the running. The pairing then entered SL76/138 for the Le Mans trials on the 13th April, however they did not arrive, presumably due to the lack of a correctly functioning Chevrolet V8.

Having been advertised for sale in Autosport on the 23rd April, SL76/138 was then sold to Paul Vestey who practiced the car at Spa but didn’t start the raced due to mechanical issues. Vestey then sold 138 to Mike Coombe. Coombe painted SL76/138 mauve, and it’s first appearance in this new colour was at the BOAC 1000 km, Brand Hatch, 4th April 1971. Coombe didn’t drive himself on this occasion, instead it was Brian Muir and Guy Edwards who took the controls on Coombe’s behalf. The pair did not start the race however, as they suffered engine dramas. That was to become a theme during Coombe’s ownership.

A spell of did not arrive and did not finish shows on the results sheet for the Le Mans Trials and 3 Hours, Criterium Nivernais at Magny Cours, Spa 1000km and Nurburgring 1000km, until the Thruxton Modsports & GT round on the 30th May. Finally, Coombe had SL76/138 running well and he took 2nd place in the race. From Thruxton, Coombe and SL76/138 travelled to Silverstone for a National Formula Libre race the following day and finished 2nd.

Coombe then did not arrive for the Texaco Trophy Interserie round at Zolder on the 6th June, and retired from the Vila Real International in Portugal on the 4th July. Coombe entered the SMT Trophy at Ingliston in Scotland on the 18th July but again did not arrive. On the 15th August, SL76/138 and Coombe raced at the Wunstorf round of the ADAC Flugplatzrennen, finishing 6th. Two weeks later on the 29th August, Coombe took part in another ADAC round, this time at Mendig and took 6th once more.

On the 11th September, Coombe raced SL76/138 at Crystal Palace in Special GT, before traveling to Hockenheim for the Preis von Baden-Württemberg Interserie round on the 3rd October, where he finished 12th. Coombe then entered the Paris 1000km at Montlhery, sharing with Pierre-Francois Rousselot. The duo qualified SL76/138 22nd, and raced through to finish 12th. Coombe is finally recorded as doing a National Sprint at Silverstone on 20th November which concluded his ownership of SL76/138.

Coombe then sold SL76/138 to Jack le Fort, who entered the Rothmans 50,000 on the 28th August 1972 with Albert Powell as driver. Powell was only 55th quickest amongst the Formula Libre style entry with a number of Formula 1 cars, so did not qualify for the race. In le Fort’s race at Silverstone, he brushed the pit wall, damaging the nose. In the process of repairing SL76/138, le Fort decided he would fully restore the car and road registered the now red with gold stripe SL76/138 with registration MME10L. He then raced SL76/138 at a Silverstone club race on the 31st March 1975, finishing 6th. In July that year, le Fort raced SL76/138 at Silverstone again, qualifying on the front row of the grid before not completing the first lap in very wet conditions.

In 1977, le Fort sold SL76/138 to John Etheridge who only used the car on the road during his ownership. In 1979, Etheridge sold SL76/138 on to John Heath. Heath raced SL76/138 in historics during 1979, and sold it to Mike Wheatley in 1980. Wheatley raced it until 1987, sharing some of the driving with Richard Bond. After the seven seasons of hard use, SL76/138 was being rebuilt by John Sabourin over the winter of 1987/1988 and the decision was made to fit a new monocoque as the original one was deemed to be too old. A monocoque was bought from Lola, and Sabourin rebuilt SL76/138 around this new monocoque.

The original, slightly tired monocoque which had been removed, was then sold to Mike Ostroumoff and John Hunt. Ostroumoff and Hunt then had Clive Robinson refresh the original monocoque before building up a complete car. Hunt took this car, with no Lola chassis number, to South Africa for the Killarney round of the International Sports Prototype Series. At this time, to be granted the relevant HVIF technical paperwork, cars had to show a serial number, and so the built up car was given the number MO/JH1. It was finished in white, with a thin tricolour stripe running down the centre of the car.

The completion of the rebuild of Wheatley’s car, remaining as SL76/138, coincided with the same South African trip. Both cars featured on the grid at Killarney in 1988. Wheatley’s car remained in the same orange colour as before it’s rebuild, and Hunt’s car in the white based livery as described above. Wheatley went on to have a heavy accident in the newly rebuilt SL76/138 which of course had a new monocoque fitted. He suffered severe injuries as a result, and while he was undergoing recovery, the crashed SL76/138 was bought by Ostroumoff and Hunt as seen by them in Clive Robinson’s workshop.

Ostroumoff and Hunt rebuilt the damaged SL76/138 with the help of Clive Robinson, who repaired the Lola replacement monocoque as part of the rebuild. The completed, repaired, SL76/138 was then sold to Chris O’Neill in 1988. O’Neill raced SL76/138, painted white with a broad blue centre stripe. O’Neill then sold SL76/138, the continuous car, to the current owner who, in his first ownership of this car, raced it only a few times before selling it to Frank Sytner in 2003.

Sytner had Simon Hadfield Motorsport undertake a full restoration of SL76/138 before racing the car in historics with repeated success. After several seasons, Sytner sold SL76/138 to Nick Linney in 2008. Linney kept SL76/138 with Simon Hadfield Motorsport and he picked it up where Frank left off, with many victories and the car receiving whatever work was needed to maintain it’s competitiveness and condition. In 2010, Linney sold SL76/138 back to Sytner who raced it over the following two seasons.

Having raced the car which he and Ostroumoff had assembled around the original monocoque, MO/JH1, during 1988, Hunt sold it to John Starkey in 1989, who painted it silver with a red centre stripe. Starkey raced the car over several seasons before selling it to Jonathan Baker, the man behind the Group 4 series, in 1994. Baker continued racing the built up car, and was very successful taking numerous victories. In 2000, Baker sold the car to José Segimon, Segimon raced the car through to 2008 around Europe, having Clive Robinson maintain the car. Prior to Segimon selling the car through Bonhams in December 2011, Hall & Hall undertook rebuild work including crack testing. During Segimon’s ownership, the car gained the number SL76/1138.

At the time of Segimon’s car, then numbered SL76/1138, coming to market with Bonhams in December 2011, the current owner was in discussions with Sytner about his car, SL76/138. Upon reaching a deal with Sytner, the current owner then also purchased the Segimon car. With both cars in the possession of the same owner, Pearsons Engineering were tasked with reuniting the original monocoque from the Segimon car with the original components from the Sytner car, SL76/138.

After collaborating with Clive Robinson, Pearsons Engineering have completed the process of reuniting the components, the result of which is the car that we are proud to offer for sale today. It benefits from a 0 hours Tim Adams built Chevrolet engine and 0 hours gearbox, with valid crack testing, fuel cells and safety equipment. Furthermore, SL76/138 is accompanied by the reproduction chassis plate which bears the SL76/1138 number and all previous paperwork for that car, including the FIA HTPs and HVIFs.

Today, SL76/138 is presented in the attractive livery of its first owner, Sid Taylor Racing, and offers the superb opportunity to acquire one of the best Lola T70 Mk3Bs extant. Driven by a large number of the best drivers from the golden era of sports car racing, SL76/138 is as much an important piece of history as it is a potential race winner in FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars and Peter Auto’s CER 1, along with being eligible for Pre ’80 Endurance, Le Mans Classic, Tour Auto, Modena Cento Ore and more.