1983 Lola T165/70 Provenance
The car traces its history back to the 80's era of the Californian based “Banzai Runners” Club. A band of rich and elusive renegades. The ultimate target was to pull a verified 200 Mph on the LA Freeway early in the morning. Guy's like Dan Haggerty of TV program fame "Grizzly Adams" brought Lola cars as their "weapon of choice" in order to achieve the hallowed 200 Mph mark.
In a 2013 Road & Track Magazine published an article titled "The Last Banzai Runner". Phil Henry was interviewed. "The speed limit was 55 at that time, not that it mattered," he recalls. He was 38 years old. Henry was among a close-knit handful of car nuts who became known as "Banzai runners," guys who would wait until I-15 was empty—usually around 3:30 in the morning—and see just how fast they could go.
"Anyone under 150 mph was just speeding. You had to be going 150 mph plus to be known as a Banzai Runner." The gutsier guys, he says, would wait until a patrol car would enter at an on-ramp, then blow past him. "The cops had no backup then; now they'd have 10 units and a helicopter to get you."
Charley and Don Bartz decided to build road versions of potent race track cars. They chose Lola as the vehicle marque. Their first car was the conversion of a T70 Spyder to a T70 MkIII CanAm Coupe. A T70 Sypder had a limited top speed of around 150 Mph due to the aerodynamics. A T70 Coupe body, (with the MkIII "long tail" body aero developments and horsepower) was in theory, capable of making the "Banzai" point. The body shape also lent itself to road adaptation. A splash mould was taken off Jerry Weichers car MkIII coupe (serial plate no. SL73/131.)
According to the 1984 Road & Track article the Bartz Brothers were not happy with resulting performance of the T70 (red livery) car. They moved onto a T160 series Chevrolet “big block” based Can Am car.
The cars were designed for acceleration on tracks versus outright straight line top speed. A T70 MkIII body was chosen to adorn the T160 series chassis. Given the T160 series chassis is wider than the T70 the body required a 9" widening stretch. The Road & Track article states that the Bartz brothers approach Lola to supply chassis's. Probably on the basis of selling a quantity of "production" cars.
The first client was Bobby Thompson, who contracted the Bartz brothers to build the first (and as history played out, only) Bartz T160 series car. Bobby recounts his account;
Quote "I once owned an entity called "Lola Historic Racing" which was back from 1981 to 1985. During that time I owned several Lola's. Please understand that all dates are approximate because it has been a long time ago. Around late 1981 I made contact with Charlie Bartz who owned Can-Am cars in Tempe Arizona. He had an idea about taking a Lola T165 racing chassis and putting a Lola T 70 body on it to make a great street car. I undertook the project and funded the cost to construct the car. Charlie and his brother Phil (ed: Don?) did a fantastic job in putting the car together. It was necessary to take a Lola T70 body and stretch it to fit the wider racing chassis of the Lola T165.
When finished we took the car to Newport and entered it in the show along with another Lola that we owned. The Lola T165 took "Best in Class" for competition cars and "Best in Show" for engine compartment. (see attached pictures) The other car did not win anything.
Lola Historic Racing consisted of three (3) cars which were part of a strategy we had put together to go racing and have cars to show. The show cars were the Lola T165 and the Lola T600 that Cooke Woods racing won the 1981 IMSA championship with Brian Redman driving. We also owned the Lola T222 L&M race car that Peter Revson drove during the Can-Am series in 1970-1971. That car started off as a Lola T220 but after a crash the Lola factory brought the car in and lengthen it and called the finish product the Lola T222.
During the time we were doing historic racing we were tremendously successful both with the race cars and show cars. The Lola T222 was always driven either by Brian Redman or George Folmer who became good friends of my family over the years. The team went from one end of the US to the other including a trip to the Bahamas. The Lola T222 never lost a race in all the time that I owned it. The most memorable race was the Formula One Dallas Grand Prix. The organizers wanted some satellite races to fill track time and came up with the idea of inviting the top 10 historic race cars from the UK to challenge the top 10 race cars from the US. Some of the UK race cars were driven by the likes of Sterling Moss and David Piper to mention a few. George took the pole position and when the flag dropped he walked away from the rest of the field. It was our greatest win.
Showing the cars to the level that the Lola T165 required became a real chore and by now I was ready to try my hand at driving. My driving was not a good idea because I never developed the talent to handle a Can-Am car. At any rate it was decided to trade the Lola T165 show car for a race car that I "thought" I could handle. A deal was made with Mac McLendon to swap the car for another Lola T165 race car". end quote
1985 - 2004 Once in Mac McLendon's possession the Bartz brothers involvement came to an end.
2004 - present David Harvey purchased the car on a Bill of Sale and imported the car into New Zealand.
Notes on Construction
The car used a 1968 T160 series chassis which was crash retired car (believed supplied by Mac McLendon - SL160/10 - delivered to Hass USA, September 68) This supplied the majority of the core chassis components (bulkheads, castings, steel mounting plates) which were then upgraded with the 1970 T165 series build specifications. This included thicker 0.063" aluminium to T-6 specification "outrigger skin" sheet parts with better quality, "cold shot" (nitrogen cooled) rivets and strengthened suspension pick up points to allow wider wheels. The suspension components were upgraded to the CanAM spec Lola 222 versions. Master Fabricator, John Collins of Santa Ana ex Lola Hass, the US agent (and ex Shelby race team fabricator and GT40 development program) carried out the chassis build. The T165 (SL165/25) was resident in John Collins workshop as a reference car.
Modifications were also made to the front air box section. This was to accommodate cooling suitable for a road going car. An enlarged radiator and three cooling fans we used. The new fabrication also negated the use of the radiator as stressed part of the chassis.
Additionally the air conditioning unit had to be accommodated which has been a masterly piece of engineering to incorporate within the bodywork and neatly on top of the chassis outriggers. The vents in the car are from a Beechcraft Baron aircraft.
The gear change is righthand shift via rod linkage to the ZF transaxle.
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