“It came in three boxes; I bought it unseen says Sid Hoole of the Martini-liveried Lotus 80 that he has just restored ready for use in the Thoroughbred Grand Prix Championship this season. It is expected to make its racing return at Hockenheim in late April, only the fifth race in the car’s history.
Chassis 1 — of only two built — was used by Mario Andretti in 1979 for four races before being consigned to a private collection. More recently it was shunted heavily when being tested in the US and two corners were wiped off the car. Hoole bought it from Murray Smith after the tub had been repaired in America. “It has taken five years of my life,” says Hoole. “I didn’t know what I was taking on!”
The support of Classic Team Lotus has been central to the rebuild of the car. Importantly, CTL was able to supply many of the components that needed replacing and also repaired the long one-piece bodywork section that had been partially shattered in the accident.
“We hardly had to re-make anything as we put the car back together,” admits Hoole. “Everything is different to the 79, but Classic Team Lotus had a lot of parts available. The tub was okay so I was lucky with that. It is very original. Chassis 2 remains with Classic Team Lotus.
I’ve restored it to the best spec they arrived at in period,” said Hoole after a shakedown at Donington recently. “We’re now just doing the final jobs, including making the rear wing. I’m proud to think we’ve got there, but at times I never thought we would!”