Lola Mk. I #45 – Spark

Mk. I
1960 Lola Mk. I
Pilots: C. Vögele, P. Ashdown
Team: Lola Cars Ltd
Race: DNF (S 1.1) at Le Mans in 1960
Spark - S1129 (resin) 

Published 03/17/20

Born in 1928, Eric Broadley was an architect by trade. However, he was an auto sports enthusiast, and in 1956 he built his first car, the “Broadley Special”. Built around an Austin 7 chassis, the car used many scavenged and home-made parts. The Broadley Special was a success, winning many local and national races in the UK. That being so, other amateur pilots asked him to make more, and he started to work on the Lola Mk. I. He approached the project from ground zero, and first he designed a totally new space-frame chassis. For an engine he used the 1098 cm³ inline-4 FWA from Coventry Climax. The FWA only produced 36 hp in stock form, but Broadley managed to extract 83 hp in race trim. The gearbox was from Austin while brakes came from Triumph and suspension struts from Morris. In summary, it was a true franken-project.

Mk. I
Not exactly good looking the Mk. I… But quirky cool nonetheless.

However, the Mk. I was very light and reliable. Eric Broadley’s inspiration was the nimble Lotus XI, also powered by Coventry-Climax’ FWA engine. But despite that, the Mk. I out-performed the XI regularly. And that being so, more requests came for the car, and in 1958 he founded Lola Cars Ltd. Lola produced a total of 34 Mk. I from 1958 to 1962, and it was a winner. In fact, the Mk. I scored a class win at the 1959 Tourist Trophy and at the 1960 Nürburgring 1000 Km. With the good results, and especially after Nürburgring, he started to dream big: Le Mans. So for the 1960 24 Heures du Mans Broadley fielded one Mk. I (chassis #BR-06). Unfortunately, car #45 abandoned on lap 148 with a holed piston. 

Though authentic, the tape job on the headlights does look a bit weird.

That was the first and last time that a Mk. I raced at La Sarthe. Nevertheless, it paved the way for many more Lola cars. And for a Le Mans nut like me, the first Lola to race at La Sarthe is a GREAT car to have in the collection. A pretty hard-to-find specimen (mine was the only I one I ever saw), but quirky-cool. BUT, looks like time wasn’t kind to my model. As you can see, a few decals are cracked 😥. Oh well.

A model definitely not for everyone, but a great find for the Le Mans fanatic.
And now I need a Mk. VI…🙄

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