Owner History Lola SL160/4
SL160/4 1968-09-07 Carl Haas => Dan Gurney => Carl Haas (~1/1969) => Jerry Hansen (1969) => Fred Baker (1969) => Orly Thornsjo (1970) => Jim Richmond (1973) => Mitch Nalda (1974) => Pete Moore (1976) => Bill Peter (1978) => Rich Mason (1980) => Dick Wyly (1982) => Bill Swope (1999) => Jim Edwards (2004) => Sam Lang (2005~Present)
When I purchased the car in 2005, it had last been vintage raced by Bill Swope in unrestored but somewhat tired condition. The car had the original tub and suspension, and a Chevrolet engine - it was judged to be the "Best Original CAN-AM Car" at the Road America CAN-AM THUNDER event in 1999. I received a clear ownership history with no gaps back to Orly Thornsjo and Jerry Hanson.
However, close inspection revealed cracked motor mounts, cracked suspension components, incorrect suspension geometry, multiple body damage repairs, etc, etc, etc. So begins the restoration which is now in progress.
...little doubt as to the need for a rebuild!
Although as a racer, the broken motor mounts, cracked tub, repaired suspension components etc. were a disappointment ,there was a silver lining on that dark cloud. The original "as raced" condition of the car and the mandatory disassembly provided an unanticipated window into the cars racing history. The tub was original with numerous repairs typical of a car of that age - raced hard and crashed often!
Ike Smith, ex Carl Haas Lola crew chief, who was helping Bill Moir with the resotoration, recognized some modifications to the chassis only done to the Gurney Lola 160.
There were four holes in the rear transmission Magnesium cross member that attaches to the shocks. These holes held a bracket for the single roll bar brace that was on the AAR Lola 160.
There was also the neatly detailed modification to the side of the chassis (photo below) to allow room for
the Ford engine starter motor. O (The Lola T160 was designed to accommodate a Chevrolet engine without modification to the chassis. All owners after AAR ran Chevrolet engines which do not need the extra clearance for the starter motor that the Ford engine requires.)
Ike clearly remembered the modifications, and once he learned of the ownership history back to Thornsjo, he knew it was the AAR Lola T160.
The photo of the starter cutout was recently shown to Dan Gurney and Phil Remington the fabricator who worked on his cars, and they confirmed that the modification was done by AAR . Dan was gracious enough to authenticate the photo with his signature.
more to come...
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