LOLA TAKES PRIDE IN ITS HERITAGE

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HUNTINGDON, CAMBS LOLA TAKES PRIDE IN ITS HERITAGE

FORMER CHEF ENGINEER TO RUN NEW HERITAGE CENTRE

N 1958 A SMALL COMPANY called Lola Cars was created by Eric Broadley to build an 1100cc sports racer.

Back then very few people had heard of Lola, but nowadays it is one of the world’s most famous race car manufacturers.

“Weturned out a hell of a lot of cars,”says Bob Marston as we sip coffee in the soonto-be Lola Heritage HQ in Huntingdon. Marston (below) was Broadley’s “sidekick” between the late 1960s and early ’80s, and has now taken on the task of running Lola 4 Heritage and organising all the designs, drawings and history from a company that has been turning out racers for 53 years. “I personally worked on 80 different sorts of car, and we cleared our 1000th car quite a few years before I left. As for total numbers to date? I think the official number is well over 4000.” Bob may have helped design and draw many of those cars, but the precious drawings are currently housed at El, 41

the Lola factory in a row of cardboard boxes that stretches for over 10 metres. The heritage centre has moved quite a few times and inevitably things get lost along the way, so we are missing quite a few drawings,” says Marston as we wander down a corridor filled with boxes.

“Anyone who owns a Lola can call me and hopefully I can help. Most of the time it will be something along the lines of have you got a spare for this’? That we don’t, but I can usually find the original drawings of a part and you can then get one made. The biggest headache is that all these cars were modified, and if someone has a T300 Formula 5000 car now, it almost certainly won’t have the same front and rear wings as when it was built. You try and have a look at other cars, but in this case if you try and check it against the Frank Gardner car that’s a waste of time, because that was a works entry and it

changed three times a week! In cases like that we ask for a photo and then we can work from there.

We really want to make this office a proper base for Lola Heritage and my aim is to try and work myself out of a job. Iwant to archive all the drawings and part numbers etc properly so that someone could walk in tomorrow, pick up a query and have a pretty good idea of where to start.”

Next to the desk where we’re silting are three huge boxes which Bob tells me contain “just the drawings for the Lola T70 parts”. This is a huge job that the ex-chief engineer has taken on in retirement.

With the history and support that Lola Cars has, however, the new emphasis on its heritage will be welcome news to anyone who runs one of its cars. If you’ve just pranged your Lola 334 Formula 5000 and need a new upright, or indeed if you want to find out what your car looked like when it left the factory, then visit www.lolaheritage.co.uk or contact Bob Marston on 01480451301.