Car news

12 February 2013

For sale: a Lola T70 from "Le Mans"

Steve McQueen once bought five Lola T70s to crash spectacularly. This is one of them

Rowan Horncastle
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Having the King of Cool himself - Steve McQueen - on the ownership history of this Lola near enough justifies the estimated price tag of between Rs 4.79 crore to Rs 5.47 crore. But you also get one hell of a race car.

Welcome to T70 MkIII B, chassis number SL76/141, built in 1969 and with rather a crashy history.

The car first raced at Daytona, where the owners flew it out and entered the race without it ever having turned a wheel. Unfortunately, the car got nerfed into the banking and had to hobble into the pits with a broken wheel, suspension and driveshaft. It raced a few more times before catching the eye of Mr McQueen as he searched for props for his now legendary film "Le Mans".

Five Lola T70's (two MkIII's and three MkIII B's) were used in the film - this one was painted yellow and given the number 11. You may remember Rob Slotemaker spining it on the downhill approach to Indianapolis Corner after being nudged by a slower Porsche 911.

Later in the same film the car was dragged up as a Gulf-Porsche 917 and made into one of the world's most expensive remote-controlled racers. The problem: the early remote control technology was a bit iffy. The film company had already destroyed two T70 MkIII's dressed up as Ferrari 512's when the remote control equipment failed. In fact, it was so iffy they ended up having to ditch the remote control for one scene and just fire a mocked-up Ferrari from an air cannoni. But for SL76/141's big scene the remote control was put back in place. Unfortunately the system broke, the Lola's throttle was stuck wide open, and the car careered out of control playing pinball with the the Armco on the run towards Maison Blanche. It came to rest after burying itself into the barriers. The results were spectacular, and much better than expected, but the car was knackered.

Still, from then things got slightly more gentle. It has been completely rebuilt for European sports car racing, and has recently won at both Monza and Spa. The car also comes with FIA papers, a fresh engine, a rebuilt gearbox and a new differential. Plus an extensive set of spares (in case you want to relive its crashy past for yourself).

It's hitting the auction block later this month at the Silverstone Auctions hosted Race Retro & Classic Car Sale. Fancy bidding?

Tags: le mans, steve mcqueen, t70, lola

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