Posts Tagged ‘Lella Lombardi’

(N Stratton)

 

Kevin Loy’s Matich A51 ‘005’ Repco F5000 departing Oran Park in Vice-Regal style, 2 February 1975…

No standing on ceremony here, although its a you-beaut ANF1 car- the Formula 5000 machine is travelling in no more comfort than my Formula Vee and considerably less so than my old Lola T342 Formula Ford. And its off to Surfers Paradise, 850 kilometres away in the hands of Ian Douglass to whom it has just been sold.

I’ll bet Frank Matich, Derek Kneller and the boys looked after the thing much more nicely in the US- this chassis was new for the US L&M Series tour Team Matich undertook during 1973. It was FM’s primary weapon, A51 ‘006’ went along for the ride as the spare. Here is a story about Matich and his F5000 cars;

https://primotipo.com/2015/09/11/frank-matich-matich-f5000-cars-etcetera/

Matich A51 ‘005’ in the Mid Ohio paddock 1973 (T Capps)

 

Lella Lombardi in A51 ‘005’ during the 1974 AGP- car was overseen by Matich himself. Lella pushed Max Stewart, the winner very hard before oil pump failure ended a great run (HAGP)

In many ways this little baby would be ‘the’ F5000 Matich to own. It toured the US, was raced by Lella Lombardi at Sandown and Oran Park in 1974, and, sold to John Goss to keep A53 ‘007’ company, won the 1976 Sandown Park Australian Grand Prix modified to A53 spec.

Another shot of Lombardi, this time at Sandown Park’s Dandenong Road corner in 1974 (B Keys)

Later still French sportscar ace Henri Pescarolo raced it at Calder in 1977, so too did Jim Richards in its ‘period dotage’ in 1979.

A very nice jigger indeed, here looking a bit forlorn on an open trailer behind an XA Ford Falcon Wagon rent-a-rocket.

Still, the serious money should be spent on the car not the trailer…

Goss wins the 1976 AGP aboard his Matich A51/53 ‘005’ from Vern Schuppan’s Elfin MR8C Chev, Sandown Park (HAGP)

Credits…

Neil Stratton, oldracingcars.com, Terry Capps, Derek Kneller, ‘History of The AGP’ G Howard and ors, Bruce Keys

Tailpiece: A51 ‘005’ fitted with Repco V8 flat-plane ‘Shaker’ crank in the Watkins Glen pitlane 1973…

(D Kneller)

Finito…

Lola T330 P Island

Peter Brennan blasts his Lola down Phillip Islands straight on Saturday 27 September 2014, the car last ran in John Turners’ hands at Brands Hatch on 19 October 1975, only 39 years ago!…

Over the last three episodes of ‘Racers Retreat’ we have covered Peters’ purchase of the car in the US, and its rapid restoration commencing in August 2013, the car finally made its debut at a Phillip Island test day a month ago.

Australian readers should get to Sandown on 7-9 th November to see the car make its first race appearance in a huge field of F5000 cars in the Victorian Historic Racing Registers’ annual historic race meeting at the great Melbourne suburban venue.

John Taylor lola T330 Thruxton 1975

John Turner at Thruxton in ‘HU18’ earlier in 1975 (tinkerwinkerTNF)

John Turner bought the car from Jackie Epstein at the end of 1974, after Lombardis’ year in it. He raced the car in  many rounds of the 1975 Shellsport UK Series, finishing fifth in that final race at Brands, Peter Gethins Team VDS Lola T400 Chev won the race and the sister T400 of Teddy Pilette won the championship.

Turner sold the car to Jim Burnett for use as a central seat CanAm car, and as covered earlier in the series of articles the car was damaged in a factory fire until rescued by Peter many years later…here in his workshop just prior to the massive job of restoration.

brennans workshop

Phillip Island Test…

Lola T330 Brennan P Island

Peter Brennan all loaded up…livery all 100% period correct 1973 ‘shellSport 208’ team. Front brake ducts taped over in this shot

It was a beautiful September day, fortunately the ‘Islands weather gods were smiling…’I had been looking forward to the first run of the car, checking and re-checking the thing over the prior weeks, and firing it up a million times, then the bloody thing wouldn’t start for the first session!’

‘I had plenty of advice of course, but the bloody magneto had cacked itself, they are like a flighty girlfriend , here one minute and gone the next! I didn’t take a lot of spares with me, but i did have a spare mag, so we fitted that and were ready to rock and roll’.

‘Off we go ot onto the circuit in session two, i went about eighty metres and it died, i slowed down and it cut out. I checked the fuel pressure and volumes, the engine is on Webers. After a lot of thought i took the air-boxes off the carbs and that did the trick. I hadn’t created vents in the airboxes to allow excessive pressure to escape, the set-up cannot be fully sealed, i got advice from Peter Molloy and others after the weekend’.

vent tubes

Look closely at this shot, on the RHS of the carb base plate near the rollbar and you can see the breather holes cut to relieve surplus pressure in the airbox…4 thirsty 48 IDA Webers…’nasty’ magneto cap just visible to the left between the oil tank and carb base plates

‘After that change the car was sensational, even using the basic initial settings. Later in the day i did 6 1:36 laps without pushing hard at all. The thing is a jet, really quick. Most of the fiddling around on the day was just getting comfy in the car, the gearchange is a little close to me and the cockpit is as tight as…i’m not a svelte 18 year old anymore!’

‘Before Sandown we need to just check the thing over, the airbox bleed is done, re-align it and so on. Its amazing how much fuel the thing uses 3.7 litres per lap. I can afford the car but not the fuel to put in it, i used 90 litres on the day at $3.75 per litre! Time to drill an oil-well at home in the eastern suburbs’.

Lola T330 P Island front

Lola T330 Brennan up

See the rear wing compared with episode # 3. Far-back original wing supports banned by FIA at the end of 1973..attention to detail in the restoration superb, our mature age driver doing his best to find some space…

Lola T330 B & W

‘HU18’ to early, original T330 spec. Carbs common in the UK then, early airbox setup, far rear mounted wing, and none of the T332 mods to the tub, bodywork and suspension that most 330’s modifed to T332 spec received in period to keep them competitive

Lola T330 nose

Front suspension typical of period. Upper and lower unequal length wisbbones, coil spring damper units (Koni double adjustable alloy shocks), adjustable roll bar

Lola T332 Chev 'HU18' Phillip Island

Lola T330 Brennan P Is front straight

Roll on Sandown for Episode 5 in November, be there if you can!…

Photo Credits…

Peter Brennan, Jay Bondini

Finito…

 

cutaway

Superb Tony Matthews cutaway drawing of ‘HU18’ in 1973 spec…

The first instalment of Peters’ restoration of the Lola was its history, acquisition of the car and its journey from Portland, Oregon to Melbourne, Australia…

Once unloaded, there was no doubt, not that there ever was, that the chassis was completely hors’d combat, so the big initial question was who to get to repair it. This months account is essentially  the first 8 months of work…

tub

HU18 tub as it arrived in Melbourne. Note delicate placement of Hewland bellhousing, general state of tub, RH front aluminium melted by workshop fire and ‘fried’ state of steering rack. Original Lola wheels crack-tested ok, ‘wets’ use perhaps.

Monocoque…

unpicking

‘Unpicking’ the old tub at Borlands. Fire damage clear, side pontoons in front

‘My choices were the Kiwi’s,  Mark Bahner (in the US) or a local. Price-wise their was little difference between the US and NZ once exchange rates were taken into account but I wanted to be involved in the actual build itself. I was never going to be happy just sending $ overseas, then there are airfare costs to keep an eye on things so I settled on Mike Borland of Borland Engineering. He had done tubs from scratch for 2 mates and some great work over 10 years on a range of other cars and he was happy for me to be involved. His workshops in Mordialloc are a helluva lot closer to home than the West Coast of the US!’

Borland Racing Developments are a renowned local builder of Spectrum Formula Fords, and a whole lot more, rather than go off on that tangent here is a link to their website…

spectrum

http://www.borlandracing.com/

Tub 1

Measuring assembly of chassis

‘Decisions needed to be made regarding its construction, the original alloy sheet was 1.3mm, no wonder they were called the ‘flexi-flyer’! We decided on 1.6mm, marginally heavier, but they are my legs!’

‘The task was a big one though, the RT4’s I have rebuilt have been relatively simple. In essence the tub is laid on the floor, templated, holes punched and popped into a folder. The Lola was far more complex, we ‘unpicked’ the tub, what a mess. We were never likely to be able to salvage much of the ‘tinware’. There was a huge amount of work to duplicate the inner support panels. Everything is handmade. There are metal bits inside the tub, which are beaten, riveted works of art. Internal brackets are then solid riveted to external panels’.

fabrications

Fabrications, old & new

‘We borrowed the wrecked tub of ‘HU1’ off Darcy (Darcy Russell owns the ex-Stewart T330 HU1, and had Chas Talbot build a new tub for it having destroyed the old one in an Eastern Creek accident some years ago) to help with key measurements and reference points. We kept the front and rear roll hoops of HU18 but the rest was rooted. All internal bulkheads had to be remade, new front suspension ‘top-hats’, gearshift linkages etc.’.

The process commenced before Christmas 2013 and took around 8 months.

stteering mount

Steering mount/roll hoop. Front master cylinder bulkhead in front

 

tub 3

Continuing assembly, constantly measuring and checking images as reference, steering mount/roll hoop original.

 

tub 2

Carefully squaring the chassis up pre-drilling rivet holes

 

chassis 2

Front of new monocoque

 

chassis 1

Chassis workmanship apparent, front bulkhead in situ. Centre section cross beam also in place. Steering mount/roll hoop on the floor behind.

 

mount

The rear attachment point for the lower front wishbone is weak in a frontal impact, this in period ‘Lola Limp’ brace connects the two pickup points and minimises the risk of part of the A arm /wishbone piercing ones leg…

 

front

Dummy fit of steering mount/roll hoop, roll bar, suspension top mounts, nose-cone support. Roll-over bar leg just visible in far left middle of shot.

fuel cell

‘Harmon’ 60 litre fuel cell sourced in the US. Front & rear rollover fabrications original.

Suspension…

‘The suspension was all pretty good. All the wishbones are made of T45 steel, we oxide blasted, then crack tested using magnaflux the lot, Paul Faulkner helping us out. The cross beam which mounts the lower ‘A arm’ or wishbone was remade, as was the anti ‘Lola-Limp’ cross beam, refer to the photo above.

‘Finally we nickel plated the lot, all new spherical bearings used throughout of course’

‘The uprights both front and rear were also all good. Oxide-blasted, crack-tested, then re-diechromated. This blackens everything and gives a nice finish, but also protects the magnesium to which we apply WD40 regularly to keep it  (the magnesium castings) moist.’

Hewland DG300…

box before

Hewland had been reputedly rebuilt 30 years before and then unused…as was the case

‘As I had been told, it had been rebuilt years before but it was all good. No surprises. We still had to pull it apart to diechromate it but that was just time not bulk $.’

bax after

Shot of dismantled DG300 courtesy of Motorsport Solutions NZ

Fuel Cell…

‘People who have never taken on one of these projects before would be stunned on how much stuffing around there is just on the relatively small things.The Marston fuel cell was useless of course. One of the poor bits of the original design is that whilst the cells hold 100 litres of fuel, the last 20 litres in each isn’t picked up. Our historic races are short so in the end we sourced a cell from ‘Harmon’ in the US , 1 60 litre cell on the left handside only.’

Steering Rack…

‘The steering rack was a complete pain in the arse, i couldn’t find one anywhere in the world. Its Lolas own rack, in the end it turned out Jay Bondini, a mate in Melbourne had one. It was bent but I was able to create one good rack using Jays bent one, the centre section in all Lola’s racks are common, they then have different ‘ends’ to suit the particular application…and the centre on my ‘fried’ one was ok’

steering

Radiators and Additional Ducts…

‘The radiators were an interesting exercise as I think we may have worked out the reason the car was fitted with the odd additional ducting to keep the thing cool. My bloke is a racer himself, ‘Aussie Desert Cooler’s in Thomastown. When Norm looked at them he found there were no dividers in the radiators so that the coolant goes across the core, and down and back the other side. The coolant was going straight down and not through the core and therefore not working effectively. No other 330 seems to have had a cooling problem so i think we have idntified what they did not in 1973-4’

rad ducts

This shot is of Lella at Brands at the 1974 ‘Race of Champions’ in which she finished fourth. This close-up shot shows the additional aluminium panel (the mirrors are mounted to it) made to inprove airflow into the radiators, which 40 years later trnaspired to be radiators which were not properly made…(Unattributed)

 

radiators

Wheels…

‘I got a swag of wheels, original Lolas’ which all crack-tested ok and may be alright for wets. I looked at the available alternatives , in the end Noel Robson and I had some centres cast and machined and then had Whitehorse Industries ‘spin’ the outers at their Lilydale facility’.

Addendum…

lola heritage

‘Lola Heritage’ shot of assembly of the T332, late 1973 or 1974, Huntingdon factory.

works 2

‘Lola Heritage’ shot, again assembly of T332

Lola Heritage…

lola 3

http://www.lolaheritage.co.uk/

lola 1

 

lola2

Episode 3 in late August…

The chassis is completed, assembly of the car begins, and the engine, ‘Old Midnight’ comes in for some attention.

Photo Credits…

Lola Heritage, Tony Matthews cutaway drawing, Peter Brennan

 


 

 

 

 

 

  1. lella brands

    Lella Lombardi, Lola T330 Chev ‘HU18’ , Brands Hatch ’74

     

Lola’s T330…

Lola’s F5000 domination started with the ’72 model T300, the process completed by the ’73 T330, and 332, 332C, single seat Can Am T333 variants of the car built over a decade.It is one of the most successful competition cars ever in terms of race wins and longevity, if not THE most successful.

Eric Broadley’s evolution of the T300 produced an extremely competitive car for one of F5000′ s most competitive seasons, the cars aluminium monocoque ‘dressed’ in curvaceous bodywork executed by Specialised Mouldings. If ever an F5000 looked right this was it.

The 1973 season and those which followed proved that beauty was far from skin deep.

T330 ‘HU18’…

T330 ‘HU18’ was sold in March to Jackie Epstein Racing for the ’73 European F5000 championship. Epstein was a long time race entrant of sports cars before changing to F5000 after the death of his business partner, racer Paul Hawkins.

The Radio Luxembourg # 208 sponsorship was iconic at a time when the BBC had a monopoly on the radio airwaves in the UK. Radio Luxembourg, on frequency 208 medium wave were an offshore broadcaster of popular shows into the UK.

The car’s driver for 1973 was ’71 Le Mans and ’72 British F5000 Champion Gijs Van Lennep. His best results a 2nd at Snetterton and 3rds at Mondello Park and Jyllands-Ringen. Whilst Gijs was away on sports car duties Tony Trimmer, Clive Santo and Ray Allen also raced the car, albeit without success.

Teddy Pilette won the 1973 title with a demonstration of consistent speed in his Chevron B24.

brands van l

Into 1974 Epstein signed Lella Lombardi, she had come through Italian racing and European F3 and immediately impressed with her handling of HU18. Her best results 4ths at Brands, Monza, Oulton Park and Mallory Park. In ’74 the title was won by Bob Evans in a T332.

Lombardi raced in F1 for March in ’76, HU18 was sold by Epstein to John Turner, the car also driven by Keith Holland and Richard Scott that year. Hollands 4th at Brands was the best result.

monza

From Europe to Obscurity in the US for 34 Years and into Peter Brennan’s TLC…

Peter Brennan picks up the story, ‘Allen Karlberg was an American working in the UK at the time and was commissioned by countryman Jim Burnett to acquire a car for conversion to a central seat Can Am spec, F5000 having morphed into Can Am in an attempt to improve crowd numbers. The car was shipped to Portland, Oregon in 1977 where it remained for 36 years’

‘It was disassembled and some work done, for example the DG300 had a new crown wheel and pinion but essentially it was untouched, the only thing preventing considerable damage to the car was the fact it was in parts and the bits and pieces far enough away from a workshop fire which melted the right-front corner of the tub some time in the ’90’s.’

‘Burnett died several years ago and his Executors approached Karlberg to sell the car, I was cruisin’ the internet as I do. I was looking for another F5000 to restore and spotted a small ad in a club magazine which said something like ‘fire damaged F5000 for sale, major project’.

‘Whilst their was a lot of junk in the workshop around the bones of the car I could make out what it was and also see that the factory chassis plate was on it. I agreed to buy it and with a little research from the pictures he sent me, the front brake ducts and oil tank, for example, I was confident it was HU18 even before he called me to advise the plates details !’

‘Even though the car had been in bits forever it had remained in the same place so the tub, ‘box, 4 complete corners, wheels and spares, exhaust, radiators, fuel cells, swirl pots etc, etc were all there. Shipping it out of Portland was a pain in the arse but Kevin Bailey’s ‘Cheetah Imports’ always helps me and it finally arrived, then the real work began’.

Our intrepid racer has owned and restored Elfins, Matich and Lola F5000’s, everything but a Chevron. HU18, as the most lightly raced of the surviving T330’s, most of which were converted to T332 spec, is something special.

Peter is the ‘real deal’ as a racer enthusiast ‘…the main reason I do this is that I love the challenge, meeting and making new friends, it’s not all about the racing. It’s a real journey, going to all parts of the world in pursuit of parts and information’.

We look forward to sharing the journey with you PB.

Next month, the mammoth task of resurrection begins.

Tub as found

First photo of the tub allowed Brennan to identify it as probable T330, RHF tub melted away readily visible.

front suspension

Front suspension in need of a crack-test…

Tub as it arrived

‘HU18’ tub as it arrived in Australia

boxes of bits

‘HU18’ as it arrived out of the container in Port Melbourne, despite 34 years of neglect, and the fire, most of the critical parts had remained in the workshop in Portland close to the car

Box

Hewland DG300, oil tank, wheels and discs

wheels

Original Lola wheels, calipers and rear uprights, nose-cone support, suspension componentry, second hand Mota-lita steering wheel,and much-much more

boxes

lotsa stuff…

brennans workshop

‘Racers Retreat’ just arrived’, Peter Brennans workshop in suburban Melbourne…’HU18′ tub, Arrows A1, a Ralt RT4 or 2, Cosworth BDD head and sundry other bits of interest..always an intriguing place to have a beer

pre strip

‘HU18’ tub pre-strip

stripped

‘HU18’ tub post strip…and ready for Episode # 2

Photo Credits…

Richard Bunyan, Peter Brennan