1969 Lola T163 news, pictures, specifications, and information
Sold for $150,000 at 2008 Bonhams
This car was originally owned by Roger Penske and driven by Mark Donohue. Donohue qualified third at Mid-Ohio in August of 1969. The Lola had a half shaft fail during the race and did not finish. Penske subsequently withdrew from the Can-Am Series and focused on the Trans Am Series, which he won that year.
The car continued to be campaigned in the Can-Am Series by private entry. Since the purchase of the car by the present owner in 1994, it has been campaigned in several vintage events. The car has an all aluminum fuel-injected, 486 cubic inch, 850 horsepower, Chevrolet big block engine.
The Can-Am Series was very innovative. The rules were rather open, encouraging the development of down force using wings and ground effects, which continue in racing today.
Recreating Can-Am racing events has become very popular, and these cars have been acquired by a number of vintage enthusiasts.
This Lola T-163 was one of the most successful cars built by Lola for the Can-Am series. The T-163's were part of a continual evolution of similar models designated as T-160, 162, 163 & 165. These were the first Lolas to use the big-block Chevy engines. Approximately 25 of this series of cars were built in 1968-70 to Can-Am specifications. Of these 25, approximately eight of the T-163 models were built.
Chuck Parson , in the Simoniz car, placed 3rd overall behind the 'Bruce & Denny Show' in the 1969 CanAm Series and was the highest placing American driver in the series.
Other T-163 Drivers included Mark Donahue, Peter Gregg, Peter Revson, Bob Brown, Dave Causey, and Gary Wilson.
This car was restored from a wrecked chassis in 1987, and is an authentic example of an early high-wing car. It has competed in over 50 vintage racing evens in the U.S. and Canada since 1988 including many at the same tracks of the 1969 Can-Am season. It also participated in the Can-Am support race at the 2000 Melbourne F-1 Grand Prix.
Sold for $150,000 at 2008 Bonhams
Eric Broadley was a designer, constructor, and a brilliant businessman. He had no factory or even factory-back team; rather he relied on customers exclusively.
One very exciting and challenging arena for the Lola-based cars was the Canadian-American Challenge Cup series (CanAm). Two early competitors in the series were Roger Penske and Mark Donoue. They finished second in the series' first year, 1966, and tying for third in 1967. Both 1966 and 1967 they drove Lola T70s. In 1967, the team won the Road Racing Championship with six victories out of the seven races.
In 1968, the team switched to a McLaren chassis. The McLaren cars were fast and often set the pace of the race. Competing with a customer McLaren car was difficult for the Penske/Donohue team, as they had to compete with the factory McLaren team.
For 1969, a deal was made with Lola to use its chassis for both oval track and road racing. The T70 had evolved over time and it was now a truly refined automobile; it was dubbed the T163.
The 1969 season was extremely busy for Penske and Donohue, as they competed in a Trans Am Camaro, Lola T152 and T150 for the USAC oval races, a new T70 MkIII for endurance races and the improved open T163 for Can-Am. Penske wanted more from the T163 and requested that Lola built a special extra lightweight version just for his team. Broadley was hesitant, but complied. He created a unique lightweight tub.
Due to a busy schedule, the Penske team was not able to have the car ready for the first Can-Am races. With little preparation and testing time under its belt, the car made its debut at Mid-Ohio in August. The car handled poorly and later broke a half shaft in practice and another in qualifying. Still, Donohue had qualified it in third place and just 3.6 seconds behind Denny Hulme and 3.3 seconds behind Bruce McLaren. Nine laps into the race a half shaft failed. When it broke, it tore up the rear of the chassis and the car went right into an embankment.
The car required more testing, development, and financial resources to be properly prepared for the very competitive CanAm competition. Penske, at the time, had many more successful and commercially more important obligations, so he withdrew from the remainder of the Can-Am races.
The lightweight T163 was sold to the present owner who was racing another T163. During the mid-1990s, the owner began a restoration which first entailed re-skinning the tub with thicker aluminum than Lola had used. The sheet metal gauge was increased from the sparse 20 gauge to 16 and 18 commonly found in other Lola T163 monocoque tubs. The owner theorized that this lightweight sheet metal gauge had been responsible for the half shaft failures. He believed that the lightweight tub was flexing, thus causing the shaft failures.
The restoration was completed in the mid-2000s. Since then it has only seen a few laps at Lime Rock.
The car is powered by a GM big block 510 with Lucas/Kinsler fuel injection and can produce in the neighborhood of 750 brake horsepower. The transaxle is a Lucas LG600. The car rides on modern BBS alloys and the brakes are Wilwood discs. The original lightweight monocoque panels were retained for reference. A correct T163 body taken off the original molds was obtained from Waterman in England. It is finished in correct Penske/Donohue Sunoco sponsored Lola T163 livery. There is Sunoco Blue paint, bright yellow Sunoco brand identifications and white numerals. In the rear is the unusual rear spoiler developed by Mark Donohue.
In 2008, this T163 was offered for sale at the 'Quail Lodge, A Sale of Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia' presented by Bonhams Auction. The lot was sold for $150,000 inclusive of buyer's premium.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2008
High bid of $85,000 at 2013 Mecum. (did not sell)
Eric Broadley, a British race car designer and constructor, formed Lola to supply competitive cars to private owners around the globe. Between 1958 and 2013, Lola has had 6,758 entries in nearly 2,300 races, with two-thirds finishing the race; 512 outright wins; 315 additional class wins; and over 1,000 podium finishes.
After a successful career with their Formula Juniors and Formula 1 cars, Broadley began work with Ford on the Lola MK6, which led to Ford's request for the company to take the design lead on the Ford GT40. The GT40 would enjoy
Such success on one of the world's greatest racing stages, winning and dominating at LeMans for several years. Lola's T70 won the inaugural Canadian-American Racing Series in 1966. The aging T70 was replaced with the T160 in 1968 and with competition continued to grow, work continued for the 1969 season. The resulting car was the T163, an advanced open racer with a lightweight alloy monocoque structure.
This example is chassis number SL163/20 and was delivered to American Lola importer Carl Haas on June 6th of 1969. The first owner was G. Auto USA who didn't utilize the car. In 1970 it was sold to SCCA racer Steve Weaver of Indianapolis. Weaver drove the car to a 3rd place in the SCCA Central National Division points standings, with two outright wins at Michigan and Indianapolis Raceway Park. When the season came to a close, Weaver sold the car to Gregory Hodges, who campaigned it in SCCA California events.
Tony Settember acquired the car in 1973 and entered it in the 1973 Laguna Seca Can-Am, where it blew a head gasket on just the second lap. The car's last appearance in Can-Am was under the ownership of Charles Semple, whose driver Bob Kemple qualified for the 1973 Riverside race but failed to start.
Since the car's retirement, it has had several owners from America, New Zealand, and France. In 2009, the car returned to California where it was sold to its latest owner. The new owner had the car prepared for vintage racing by Toluca Lake Historics.
Since then, the car has competed in Can-Am reunion classes. It is powered by a carbureted 358 CI 1968 Chevrolet engine, with dry sump lubrication and magneto ignition. A Hewland LG 600 5-speed gearbox and Hewland differential transfer power to the 15x16 rear alloy wheels. It has rack and pinion steering, adjustable anti-roll bars, and Lockheed hydraulic ventilated brakes with alloy calipers.By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2013
This Lola T163 is the most raced chassis in the history of the CanAm series. It started over 30 CanAm races, and still retains much of its original tub. While it evolved through many changes, it was recently restored to its original configuration. It is powered by a small block Chevy engine which has a 383 cubic-inch displacement and produces 550 horsepower. There is a Hewland LG 500 transmission and the car weighs 1700 pounds.
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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