Iconic Lotus Type 56 Turbine Indy Racecar, owned by racing legend The King Richard Petty and driven by Graham Hill at the 1968 Indianapolis 500-Mile Race, is now set to be offered by Mecum Auctions in Monterey. This will be the first time an original, authentic Lotus Type 56 has been offered for sale at public auction.
The STP-sponsored, a Pratt and Whitney turbine-powered, all-wheel drive racecar, Lotus Type 56/3, set a new qualifying record at the hands of Hill, during qualification for the race. Later, his teammate, Joe Leonard outpaced him. Though Hill crashed out of the race, Leonard was leading the race up to lap 191 when the fuel pump failed.
After the 1968 racing season concluded, chassis 56/3 made its way to First Brands (STP) corporate headquarters where it remained in their lobby until 1996, and was then acquired by Richard Petty, who owns the car to this day.
Just four of the STP Lotus Type 56 cars were built, with three raced at Indy. Because of their turbine-drive engines, they didn’t need gearboxes, and a Ferguson four-wheel drive system sent power to each corner. It was undeniably fast, even if it lacked the durability—really, the testing and development time—to complete the race.
Historic Lotus Type 56 Turbine Indy Racecar will wait for its byer at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa on Del Monte Golf Course, on August 17, 2012. [Mecum]