From 1966-1974 the Can-Am was the premiere auto racing series in the world. The Can-Am cars, called Group 7 cars, were the only unlimited racing class in the world. The rules were basically this:
- Must have 2 seats on either side of the centerline of the car
- All 4 tires had to be covered at least 60-percent
- No aircraft engines were allowed
- Must run on gasoline
- Had to have operable doors
- Must have at least on brake light
Other than that you could do or build anything you wanted! These lackadaisical rules allowed for the invention of aerodynamic devices such as wings, spoilers, dive plans and splitters. During this series the development of the big block V8 engines up to and over 900 horsepower became commonplace. Super-wide tires up to 24-inches wide were developed as well as many more ingenious devices to make these cars the fastest road race cars in the world.
In 1966, Lola won the first series with John Surtees driving their T-70 model. By 1968, Lola saw the need to build a car that could accommodate larger displacement engines (big blocks) and super-wide tires. Thus the T-160 became the successor to the aging T-70. Lola built 12 T-160's and this is the #12.
In late 1967 this T-160 was purchased from Carl Haas (the Lola factory importer) by John Crean for James Garner's American International Racing Team (AIR), who had been successfully running T-70 coupes in endurance racing. The car was never used as the team ran a Gurney Eagle F-5000 car instead in the L&M series. In 1976 #12 was sold to Ron Dahl who never raced the car.
In 1978 Tony Seinenger bought #12 and ran a few SCCA, A/SR races. Tony flipped the car at Buttonwillow Raceway and destroyed the body and part of the 'tub' (the chassis). Dan Martin bought the car in 1981 and ran it in the early days of the California Historics.
In 1988 #12 was sold to Lief Nielson in Sweden who put it in a museum. However Lief eventually failed to pay his bills and the car was repossessed by a bank in 1990.
In 1991 the car was bought by Canadian collector and sportsman, Jack Boxstrom. Jack brought #12 back to the US but never raced it; in 1993 he sold it to Harry Bytzek in Canada.
Harry raced the car twice and in late 1997 sold #12 to Reg Howell. Reg had the engine rebuilt and ran the car with Targa 66, HMSA and HSR. Reg sold the car to the current owner, Todd Glyer in 2006. Todd currently campaigns the car in HMSA races.
It is currently powered by a Chevrolet Small Block 6-liter engine that displaces 377 cubic-inches, has a Lucas-Kinsler fuel injection system, and produces over 600 horsepower. It was built by Lozano Brothers Porting. There is a four-speed Hewland LG 500 transmission and still has the original Lola body panels (GRP).
This new-for-1968 Lola T160 was first raced in the Can-Am Challenge series by the Autodynamics Corporation team driven by the celebrated Sam Posey. Its restoration was completed recently when it was given back its Can-Am livery. With an injected 468 cubic-inch Chevrolet big block and 4-speed transmission, installed in a lightweight chassis (#6) with an all-up weight of under 1900 lbs, the performance was massive. Posey raced with #2; his best place was 2nd in the 200-mile Fuji Can-Am, after a 4th in Edmonton, a 5th in Las Vegas and an 8th at Bridgehampton. The T160, although respectably successful, could not match the record of the previous T70, and was itself replaced by the T162 and then T163.
The Lola T70 was replaced by the T160 in 1968. The following year, the T-160 which had undergone developmental improvements through the 1968 season, was dubbed the T163. Sadly, the T160 and T163 were unable to carry on the tradition of the highly successful T70. Though they scored several important victories, they were unable to provide real competition for the dominate McLarens and failed to capture the Championship.
The Lola T160, T162, and T163 were never able to score a victory in the Can-Am series, but were able to capture many podium finishes with many top-six finishes.
The final derivative of the T160 series was the T165 which was introduced in 1970. These were customer cars; the factory backed cars were the T220 and T222 with the T222 entered mid-season as a replacement for the wrecked T220. The T222 had a wider wheelbase than the T220 and its best finish was a second place for the Peter Revson team.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2008
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