Sbarro Lola T70 , 1969


 

 

Eric Broadley founded Lola in 1958 to build sports cars. The company soon achieved success on the racetrack in several classes: 1100 cc Sports Cars, Formula Junior, Formula One etc.. Broadley turned his hand to the world GT championship in 1963 with the Lola Mk6. Concurrently, Ford had set its sights on winning Le Mans. But they did not have a competition department so sought a partner. After failing to persuade Ferrari, Ford signed up Lola as a sub-contractor. Thus Eric Broadley was involved in the conception of the GT40 which was based on a Lola. After a strained relationship between the two companies (an overbearing attitude by Ford), Broadley left the project and began to build his own prototype, the Lola Spyder MkI T70. This car was based on the GT40’s specification. The car which interests us here is the Lola T70 MkIII which was unveiled at The Racing Car Show in 1967. Based on the chassis of the MKI and MKII spyders, it’s distinguished by a closed body with gull-wing doors, signed by Peter Bohanna and Jim Clarke, from the firm Specialised Mouldings. Only privateers raced this car: it never got sponsorship from a major manufacturer. So in spite of its genuine potential it could only play a secondary role. However its lack of appearance on winners’ lists has not prevented it from becoming very collectable and competing with style in historic races against old rivals from Ferrari and Porsche.

 

Where does Sbarro belong in this story? During this period, he was the chief mechanic for the famous Team Filipinetti which raced the Ferrari P3 and the Ford GT40. The latter car held no secrets from Sbarro and had a lot in common with the Lola. He had already built several high quality GT40 clones using original parts. So it is hardly surprising that Eric Broadley asked Sbarro to build him Lola T70 MKIII that he could use on the road. Roughly a year later Sbarro delivered Broadley the car, painted in british racing green.

 

Meanwhile ACA (Atelier de Construction Automobile), the company founded by Sbarro, got orders for twelve Lola T70 MKIII’s. Some customers wanted the original Chevy powered model. Others put aside technical authenticity: one choosing a Ferrari V12 motor another a Porsche 911 3.3 litre turbo motor. Apart from the engine, all the Sbarro Lola’s had the same chassis and bodywork. The car does pose some problems for road use: a cramped passenger compartment with restricted rear and side visibility; access reserved for the supple and not too large; a very skilled driver. Above all it remained a racing car even if Sbarro upholstered the interior in leather and installed climate control and entertainment systems on some models.

 

The Sbarro Lola T70 MKIII’s are so faithful to the original as to confuse even the experts (except of course the Ferrari and Porsche engined models). Good for more than 187 mph, the performance is spectacular. I doubt if the owners can use it to the full on the open road. But as gentleman racers they have the luxury of going to their nearest track, doing a few high speed laps then going home peacefully on the road. A luxury offered by few cars.

 

text Philippe Calvet, translation Justin Bouverie

 

 

 engine

V8 Chevrolet, V12 Ferrari or 6 cylinder Porsche turbo (Lola HH)

configuration

mid-engined longitudinal

displacement

5020 cc (102,4 x 76,2 mm)

four carburettors Weber 48

power

500 BHP @ 8000 rpm

torque

539 Nm (estimated)

transmission

rear wheel drive

gearbox

manual 5-speed ZF ou Porsche (Lola HH)

weight

about 900 kg (empty)

 

1,8 kg / BHP

brakes

4 ventilated discs

dimensions

length 5,00 m ; width 1,85 m ; height 0,95 m ; wheelbase 2,41 m.

top speed

+ 187 mph ( + 300 km/h)

production

13

 

 

 

Version française

 

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