LOTUS INDY 56


AMT/MPC 1/25 Lotus 56 - 1968 Indianapolis 500


by Dave Freeman

 

Serial No
Veh type
Lotus 56
Based at
Scheme
Kit
AMT/MPC 1/25th scale Kit Number 6025 - Ill fitting and required a bit of modelling putty to get the body sitting pretty. Built out of the box (basically).
Reference

Kit Instructions and Modelling Madness Wed site review by Scott Van Aken

 

Introduction

Lotus founder Colin Chapman is best remembered for having a lot of success with unconventional and revolutionary racing cars. One of the most outrageous Lotus designs was the Type 56, prepared for the 1968 Indy 500. Although the novelties found on the 56 were not new, but the combination proved to be a package very well worth the Lotus badge.

Designed by Maurice Philippe, the 56 was not equipped with a regular internal combustion engine, but with a Pratt and Whitney industrial turbine engine. Such an engine was used previously and proved very reliable. Due to the nature of a turbine engine, no gearbox was needed. Using the proven Ferguson four wheel drive system, the turbine engine's power was transferred to all wheels.

Although the turbine was not quite as powerful as the Turbo charged internal combustion engines used by the competition, Chapman was confident that the four wheel drive system would give Lotus the edge over the rest. The operation was partly funded by Andy Granatelli's STP company and the wedge shaped cars were livered in STP's striking orange colour scheme.

Lotus intended to enter their two Formula 1 drivers, Jim Clark and Graham Hill and Granatelli himself would enter another two cars for American drivers, including Parnelli Jones. Unfortunately Clark lost his life in a Formula 2 accident earlier that year. His replacement, Mike Spence, was struck by tragedy as well, losing his life after a high speed accident with Lotus 56 in one of the Indy 500 test sessions.

Eventually Graham Hill, Joe Leonard and Art Polland entered the race with the turbine Lotus. Again Lotus' bold move proved successful with Leonard on pole, closely followed by Hill. Hill crashed out early in the race, and Leonard and Pollard both retired with fuel pump problems. Leonard was in the lead with just a few laps to go, when his turbine engine died. On display here is the car driven by Graham Hill.


The images

 

 

 



 

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