Lella Lombardis’ Lola…Peter Brennans’ Restoration of Lola T330 Chev ‘HU18’ Episode # 3…

Posted: September 10, 2014 in Features, Restoration


The first two instalments of Peters’ restoration of the Lola were about its history, acquisition and journey from the US to Australia, and last month the commencement of the restoration of the tub, suspension, gearbox, suspension etcetera…

As you can see from the shot of the car at ‘Racers Retreat’, HU18 is now complete and ready for its first track test, very fast progress given the starting point of the project in August 2013!

How great does it look!


You may recall that Borland Engineering in Mordialloc, Victoria were commissioned to rebuild the tub with assistance from Peter.


‘The tub is all solid riveted as aircraft were made during World War 2. You need a driver of the gun and someone to back the rivet. Putting the tub together involved three solid weeks of riveting, your head and shoulders aching every night, exactly as the crews putting the ‘planes together did’.

lola 3

‘Each morning we had to plan out the assembly procedure, one mistake, drill out the rivets and start again…’


chassis 1

The chassis is superb, the workmanship and commitment to the task fantastic. Mike Borland on the left and fabricator Dean on right.

tub mike


‘I didn’t get any panels with the bits from the US so bought the lot, new off ‘Motorsport Solutions’ in New Zealand, there was little effort to adjust for fit, the quality of the workmanship was very good. I had the body painted by ‘ReFace Autos’ in Melbourne’.

body 1

body 2




Chassis re-assembly now underway at Peters’ home workshop. ‘Smiths’ chronometric tach and guages all exactly as they were ex-Huntingdon. Front suspension fitted, brakes, steering column, pedals, plumbing for the engine…Nickel plating throughout as Lola utilised.

Engine, ‘Old Midnight’…


Nice black and white PB shot of ‘Old Midnight’ from above…4 X 48 IDA Webers, Vertex magneto, lovely linkages…

‘Some years ago i was looking for a Chev to finish the restoration of my Elfin 400 (the ex-Matich ‘Traco Olds’), Mary and Peter Middleton owned the ex-Cooper/Perkins Elfin MR8 and offered me this engine which was originally built by Max Stewart as his spare. Its nickname was ‘Old Midnight’ as the motor was usually slipped into his Lola after midnight when the race engine was cactus for the weekend!

Anyway, there was something great about reuniting Max’ old engine with a Lola T33o chassis. I bought it as a ‘long motor’ less injection. The block was shaved, of all uneccesary production lugs and lightened as much as possible.

It has Bow-Tie heads, TRW pistons, Carillo rods, a Crane ‘574’ roller cam, Z28 crank, Vertex magneto, and like most of Max’ engines is on Weber 48IDA carbs

In the early 70’s a good race Chev had 535BHP, this engine has 505BHP @ 7500RPM, which should be enough to keep me busy’


‘Old Midnight’ doing its thing on Peters dyno recently…Ex Max Stewart ‘spare’ good for 505 BHP on Webers


After the tub was completed Peter took it back to ‘Racers Retreat’, his home workshop where the various componentry covered in Episode # 2 was fitted to the car…suspension, wheels, gearbox, fuel-cell etc.


Still fettling the bodywork, mirrors period correct


Fabrication a work of art…note brake ducts

reassembly 1

That long bellhousing so Broadley got the weight where he wanted it and the longer wheelbase which made such a difference in 1973. Rear suspension and driveshafts to come..look at the rear bias of the wing, eventually FIA rule changes addressed this trend in all single-seater formulae. This shot shows the sheer ‘bulk’ of a Chev relative to a DFV, all that weight, 250Kg of Chev sits high!


New wheels made in Melbourne by ‘Whithorse Industries’, ‘Old Midnight’ to the right awaiting installation. Thats a Lola S2000 to the left

‘My good mate and fellow T332 racer , Jay Bondini made the rear wing, he did a beautiful job, and it was a much bigger project than he thought! The ‘spiders-web’ far aft wing support bracket is period correct for 1973. We are re-profiling the wing endplates to reflect the car  in that year as well, i can’t thank him enough, he did a great job’.


Smile Jay Bondini, beautiful fabrication of rear wing


T330 1973 spec attention to detail superb, very few 330’s were not converted to T332 spec in period, as such the car a welcome and different addition to Historic F5000 grids. Snorkels hide 4 48IDA Weber carbs, still common in Europe at that time and ‘standard spec’ on Swiss ‘Morand’ and Pommie ‘Alan Smith’ prepped Chevs


From this to this…August 2013 to July 2014.


The transformation of the ‘car’ in such a short period of time is great testimony to the skill of all involved especially Peter himself. All being well the car will make its debut at Historic Sandown in November, it last raced in 1975…I think Jackie Epstein and Lella Lombardi would be mighty impressed with their old car?

Next Episode…

Will cover Peters’ test of his new car…

Photo Credits…

Peter Brennan


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