Lola’s second generation of two-litre Group 6 sports car kicked off with the stylish snub-nosed T290 of 1972, in which old-school designer Bob Marston’s team boasted future superstar F1 penmen John Barnard and Patrick Head.
Longer in the wheelbase than its T210 and T212 predecessors, the T290 was stunningly pretty and proved incredibly long-lived, taking privateers back to Le Mans time after time throughout the decade.
Cosworth (Ford) BDG, BMW and ROC Chrysler engines powered the mainstream European-based cars, although Guy Edwards persevered with a Chevrolet Vega unit breathed upon by Cosworth and an Abarth engine motivated one in Italy.
More than 30 examples kept the marque close to the forefront in Europe, with Claude Swietlik landing a surprise win on the fearsome Portuguese street circuit at Villa Real.
Lack of downforce was addressed in the revised T292 of 1973, which sprouted a pukka high-mounted rear wing (in place of a vestigial full-width flap in a recess across the rear of the engine cover) and a longer nose, supported by an extended nosebox.
The running gear remained very similar, although the rear brakes were moved inboard, mounted on the sideplates of the Hewland FG400 gearbox.
Another run of approximately 30 cars were built in Huntingdon during the year. Chassis HU55, driven by Chris Craft for Crowne Racing (headed by Martin Birrane, who now owns Lola Cars International) was the class of the field. The Briton overcame mighty inter-marque opposition to win the European championship.
This Lola T292 is believed to have been delivered new to Lolas European agent Joakim Bonnier on March 24, 1973. Most unusually it was equipped at that time with its engine bay configured to accept a 3-litre V8 Cosworth-Ford DFV engine, and a Hewland FGA/25 transaxle gearbox. This information has been confirmed to us from documentation held by Lola Heritage the famous marques factory archive. Please note that within the documentation file accompanying this Lot there are copied pages from the FIA Wagenpass/Carnet de Bord racing log book for this particular chassis which records participation in 1978 at such circuits as Kassel-Calden and the Nurburgring and such European mountain climb events as Les Rangiers and Roche dOr. During the 1979 season participation is confirmed at Hockenheim, Erding Flugplatzrennen and Les Rangiers. Stamped 1980 entries include events at Karlsruhe, Les Rangiers and the hessen-Preis while in 1981 the ADAC 300Kms is also listed, together with Hockenheim and into 1982 another edition of the ADAC 300Kms, Dijon and the legendary Freiburg-Schauinsland mountain climb. This record is completed by the Les Rangiers climb of 1984. The power unit presently installed within this Lola T292 is one of the very rare and illustrious Renault RS V6-cylinder naturally-aspirated (non-turbocharged) power units, apparently matching those which dominated the European 2-Litre Championship race series of 1974 powering the works team of Alpine-Renault A441 Barquette cars.