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|Lola T-640 Formua Ford, HU-18
Young Michael Andretti ran a 1981 Van Diemen as his fist race car that year to gain experience. The goal for 1982 was to win SCCA's Runoffs. For that purpose, Mario arranged with Carl Haas to bring two T-640 Lolas into the country as factory sponsored cars for Michael. They were chassis numbers HU-17 and HU-18. During the season #17 was crashed badly and written off. Another car was ordered so that Michael always had a spare car and chassis HU-28 arrived in Chicago. Number 28 was recently restored and sold to a new owner in Australia. Michael drove HU-18 at the Runoffs at Road Atlanta in 1982 qualifying on the pole and finishing third after contact with Michael Roe's car. We found HU-18 and are restoring it now. Look for it in VARA and HSR competition in 2012. Here are some photos of the restoration in process.
Michael Andretti's Lola T-640 HU-18 at West Palm Beach in 1982
Same car in 2009 after a good steam bath. Average condition for a 27 year old car.
After dis-assembly, the Lola's frame was blasted and checked for cracks or other issues. No cracks were found but we did discover a couple of previous crash repairs which need attention. Those were repaired and the frame was powder coated in glossy black. The suspension was also powder coated. This process does tend to hide cracks but we found none and so expect no more. This finish is impervious to brake fluid and scratches. It adds to a beautiful restoration and will last for years.
New bodywork was ordered from TW Mouldings in England. When it arrived, it was fitted to the car. This process involves trimming numerous areas and adding body fasteners where required. The original body was repaired where needed and both were then painted in a brilliant red to replicate Andretti's original color.
The small parts can be a time consuming area of a restoration. A new belly pan was fabricated and the fuel cell reconditioned. A new aluminum radiator was obtained, the master cylinders and calipers cleaned and re-plated and the sheet metal work was reproduced. A NOS set of Fox shocks were found to replace the non-adjustable Bilsteins which came on the Lolas.
Working on the Front Half
The gearbox was inspected and freshened as necessary, the header blasted and Jet Hot coated and a new clutch installed. The engine still retained the original Scholar valve cover. When the car first came in, we started the engine. It sounded good and showed no obvious problems. We then did a leak down test which also showed good. We opted to try it as is, rather than to do a rebuild that may not be necessary.
Engine and Rear Suspension
The car completed and delivered.
This one is sure to get some looks both on and off track. A Formula Ford with a history restored to as new and as raced condition.
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