December 2009

1968 Lola-Colt T150 Indy Car

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You couldn't think about an equivalent Formula One car for less than four to five times the money. The engine alone is worth half what the car sold for

The advantages of four-wheel drive had been shown at Indianapolis in 1967, and George Bignotti sought to profit by combining it with the Ford V8 in 1968. He bought a single four-wheel-drive Lola with Ford V8 power for Al Retzlaff, to be driven by Al Unser. It was this car. In the 500, Unser qualified the 4WD Lola outside the second row in sixth position but crashed on lap 40 when a spindle broke. After being repaired in England, it returned in time for the USAC road course race at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Unser proved his versatility by winning both ends of the two-heat feature.

A major development in 1969 was the foundation of Vel's Parnelli Jones Ford team. With backing from Ford and Firestone, Vel Miletich and Parnelli Jones bought out Al Retzlaff and acquired along with his Lola-Fords the services of legendary chief mechanic George Bignotti and driver Al Unser. The objective was to dominate USAC racing in North America and also race competitively in international Grands Prix, carrying the Firestone banner into Goodyear territory.