A fully restored Lotus gas turbine racing car, originally driven by Graham Hill in the Indy 500, will be sold at Motostalgia's next auction
The world’s fascination with barnfinds is such that headlines in the run-up to Motostalgia’s inaugural Brickyard Auction are likely to be dominated by a collection recently discovered outside Austin, Texas, and featuring several excellent pre-war Cadillacs, but you can’t have a sale at Indianapolis without a few interesting racecars – and Antonio Brunet and co have got their hands on a doozy.
Such a good car, in fact, that it was among the finalists for last year’s IHMA Car of the Year award: the gas-turbine-powered Lotus Type 56 driven in the 1968 Indy 500 by Graham Hill.
It began that race from second, behind only the Type 56 of Joe Leonard, but was sadly back in the pits after 110 laps, missing one wheel and intimately acquainted with the concrete at turn two. (‘I hit the wall rather smartly,’ Hill explained to reporters later.) Following its outing at the Brickyard, Hill’s ‘Whooshmobile’ was returned to Lotus for repairs but never raced again thanks to a concerted effort by the USAC to regulate turbines out of competition. Eventually it ended up in the hands of Richard Petty, who sold it to the current owner, Milton Verret, in 2012.
Take a look at the spectacular racing car in more detail here
Verret returned the car to its Indy 500 condition, and anybody who has encountered it at a show in the last 12 months will have experienced the same wonder that was often apparent on the faces of racegoers in period. No cooling system; no conventional gearbox; exhausts pointing straight up towards the sky; engine sounding for all the world like it belongs there. It’s an extraordinary piece of engineering and, considering it has previously failed to sell at $1.2 million, it will take an extraordinary bid to convince Verret to part with it.