Once owned by McQueen & Moss, this Lola T70 was more famous in SA
A most interesting lot appeared on an Australian auction this week. While the gavel failed to fall, this 1965 Lola T70 MK1 Spyder serial number SL70/05 has an incredible history. Not only was it owned and driven by both Steve McQueen and Sir Stirling Moss along the way, but it also just happens to be the famous Walls Ice Cream racer. One that most silver backed South Africans will clearly remember from the 1960s.
It’s a Rare Gurney Weslake Ford V8 T70
Recently rebuilt back to MK1 specification, while Lola T70s are more commonly powered by Chevrolet V8 engines, SL70/05 is rare. It has always been one of the few Lola T70s to be propelled by a 4.7-litre Ford 289 V8. Topped by Gurney Weslake heads and Weber IDA 48 carbs with a sand bent exhaust and dry sump. This 1965 Spyder also has its original all-magnesium uprights and wheels, and Koni dampers.
Originally acquired by David Good and raced by Roy Pierpoint in the UK in 1965, it was shipped to South Africa for the Springbok Series later that year. Pierpoint and South African legend Doug Serrurier endured a troubled Kyalami 9 Hour race. Australian Paul Hawkins took it over and drove to second in the Rhodesian Grand Prix. Hawkins then won the Kyalami Rand Sports Car Grand Prix and ended third in both the SA Grand Prix support race and the Killarney Cape 3-hour.
The car went back to Europe early in 1966, where Steve McQueen used it as a camera car for the filming of his unfinished Day of the Champion F1 movie. It was driven in filming by Sirs Stirling Moss and John Whitmore and McQueen himself at the Nürburgring. The car recently appeared in exclusive footage released in the documentary. Steve McQueen: The Lost Movie.
Stirling Moss Bought T70 SL70/5
T70 SL70/5 was then sold to Sir Stirling Moss later in ’66, who in turn offed it to Roy Pierpoint. He returned to Kyalami for the ‘66′ 9 Hour alongside Serrurier. They led until a pushrod broke but ended second in the Killarney 3 Hour and won the Lourenco Marques 3 Hour. Serrurier then bought the car and promptly drove it to its second Kyalami Rand Sports Car Grand Prix win, when he also made history by turning the first ever 100 mph lap time lap on the Johannesburg circuit.
Ever the developer, Serrurier then took three seconds off the Killarney lap record a week later, before a completing a competitive SA sportscar season. Doug teamed up with old pal Jackie Pretorius for SL70/05’s third 9 hour in its famous Walls Ice Cream ‘Stop Me and Buy One’ livery, but the lads took an early shower before settling down to a typical afternoon of branners and Coke after a piston broke. They bounced back to third at Killarney 3 Hour and won the Hesketh 3 Hour.
Doug and Jackie’s Kyalami 9 jinx struck again in ’68 9 Hour, when the T70 fractured an oil pipe. They crashed at Killarney when a brake pipe failed, ended third in LM and broke an engine in ‘Martizburg. Despite the car racing its fifth straight 9-hour, the intrepid duo had a great run in the 1969 race. Until halted by a fire. Serrurier and Pretorius scored SL70/05’s final podium third in the ’69 LM 3 Hour. Sadly, Jackie wrote it off in a Hesketh 3 Hour shunt.
Serrurier made It into a F5000 T140
Doug used the Ford V8, gearbox and parts in a project to build a T70/140 Formula 5000 single seater. He sold that car along with many T70 parts to the Domingo brothers. Mike, Alan and Joe all raced it as part of their fleet of three T140s. It later went to Allan Saffey and then Peter Haller. T140/70 was sold to a man known only as ‘Delport’, who turned it into a dragster. The car went to ground for many years after that.
The sum of ’T140/70’s parts were eventually tracked down by South African race car sleuth Jannie van Aswegen. The remains, including chassis parts, a gearbox, the suspension corners, steering, two sets of wheels and numerous other parts, went to New Zealand. The project eventually found its way to Australia. It was rebuilt and eventually more recently, restored to Serrurier’s SL70/05 Walls Ice Cream specification by its current by owner.
Despite its incredible history, Lola T70 Mk 1 Spider number SL70/05 failed to make its auction reserve on Aussie auction. Despite a R3.1 million top bid, earlier this week. It did, and still will however warm the cockles of many a hardened midwinter South African race fans heart. After all, who can ever forget that splendid ‘Stop Me and Buy One’ message across its racing rear?