Home  »  Car Racing  »  Features  »  For Sale  »  Gallery

Legendary Ex-A.J. Foyt Lotus Type 34 Heads to Auction

Submitted by on July 17, 2017

1964 Lotus Type 34

Images via Bonhams

This magnificent Lotus Type 34 has a string of names a mile long attached to it, set an Indy 500 record and is one of just two remaining. It’s heading to auction at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge auction on the 18th of August.

“All you’ve got to do is to get an engine with half the power of these great lumps of junk, build a decent chassis and you’ve won the race.” – Colin Chapman, via Bonhams

The car, Chassis 34/2, is from phase two of Lotus, Ford and Dan Gurney’s early ’60s assault on the Indianapolis 500. It began its career in the hands of both Jim Clark and Dan Gurney, who ran it in practice for the 1964 Indy 500.

1964 Lotus Type 34

Qualifying and the race itself saw Clark and Gurney jump into its two sister cars – ┬áChassis 34/1 and 34/3. Clark qualified his car on pole with a then-record effort of 158.828 miles an hour. Come race day, both cars would suffer tyre unreliability and Clark dropped out of the race with a failed rear tyre damaging his suspension. Having seen what was happening with the rubber, Gurney was brought into the pits and retired instead of risking an incident on the high-speed banked circuit.

Following that year’s Indy, Chassis 34/2 ran in the Tony Bettenhausen 200, where it would be driven by A.J. Foyt. He qualified third, but was forced out of the race almost immediately when the transmission failed – an outcome that would become somewhat of a theme for the pair.

1964 Lotus Type 34

Its next race would be the Trenton 200, in which it would be driven by yet another hot shoe – Parnelli Jones. This time, the car was able to convert on its potential, with Jones qualifying it first and driving it to a comfortable first win.

In 1965 the car returned to A.J. Foyt’s well-qualified hands, with the driver fresh off a dominant performance in the 1964 USAC Championship Car season – winning all but three races. Foyt had it rebuilt by┬áLujie Lesovsky and George Bignotti, giving it the pearl white, red and blue livery in which you see it today, as well as the big gold number 1.

1964 Lotus Type 34

The pair got off to a great start, qualifying on pole for the Jimmy Bryan Memorial 150. However, they would not see full distance, dropping out with a mechanical. The Trenton 100 was much the same – pole position to mechanical failure.

When they got to Indianapolis for the 1965 Indy 500, Foyt and Chassis 34/2 continued their dominant qualifying pace. The pair qualified p1 at a record 161.233 miles an hour, leading rivals Jim Clark and Dan Gurney who were both piloting newer Lotus 38s.

1964 Lotus Type 34

Foyt and Clark fought over the lead in the early stages of the race, but Clark was able to stretch out some breathing room and Foyt’s technical woes resumed, bumping him of the race with transmission failure.

The story was much the same in the Rex Mays Classic, with Foyt once again on pole and once again dropping out with transmission failure. The pair’s luck turned at the Trenton 150, when Foyt qualified fastest and went from pole position to the race win. At Indianapolis Raceway Park, however, Foyt led all the way to the last lap before the car ran dry and he coasted home to fourth.

1964 Lotus Type 34

Second in the Langhorne 125 was followed by further misadventure in the Atlanta Championship 250, where another pole position was followed by hardware failure.

Trenton Speedway was clearly charmed for the pair, and in the Trenton 200 they completed another sweep from from pole position to victory, holding the lead for the entire race and stretching out a full lap’s worth of clear air. They followed up with the car’s fourth race win at the Bobby Ball Memorial 200 to close out the 1965 season.

1964 Lotus Type 34

Chassis 34/2 would take to the track in anger again in 1966, but at the time Foyt was also running a Coyote chassis as well as a Lotus 38. The car’s final race would be the 1966 Trenton 200, on the track where it had achieved so much success throughout its career. The pair would wrap up their time together with a strong third place finish.

Foyt held on to the car at the end of its period career, keeping it through to 1992, when he put it up for sale at his Garage Sale auction at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There, it was purchased by its current owner.

1964 Lotus Type 34

2017 saw it sent for restoration by Walter Goodwin’s Race Car Restorations in Indianapolis. The sympathetic restoration brought it back to excellent, period-correct, mechanical condition. The restoration included a refresh of its aesthetics, and with redone finishes it has the looks to match its performance. Following the restoration, it was displayed in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Boasting an incredible period history, having raced at the hands of several legends of the sport, and in beautiful, period-correct condition, this awesome and significant Lotus will be welcome anywhere good historic motorsport can be found.

It’ll go up for sale on the 18th of August at Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Auction. For the official details, see Bonhams’ website here.

Images via Bonhams

1964 Lotus Type 34

1964 Lotus Type 34

1964 Lotus Type 34

1964 Lotus Type 34

1964 Lotus Type 34

1964 Lotus Type 34

 

Don't miss out! Our best stories, direct to your inbox!

[dfp name="home_tile11_300x250"]
x

Sign up now - it's free, weekly, and spam-free.