Graham Hill, a Formula 1 world champion, was the surprise winner of the 1966 Indianapolis 500, just a year after Jim Clark, with the same credentials, had won.
But it was Clark and his STP crew that were surprised by Hill’s win, thinking they had won.
Now Replicarz expands its 1/18 scale Indy winning car lineup with Hill’s beautiful and surprising Lola T90.
Here’s a brief look at what happened on that wacky 1966 race day. First, 11 of the 33 starters were knocked from the race before the first turn in a massive pileup. A few other cars were damaged, but restarted after the red flag and track cleanup.
Hill and teammate and future F1 world champ Jackie Stewart had made it through the carnage, despite starting 15th and 11th, respectively. Clark, who started on the front row also was not involved in the first lap silliness and went on to lead 66 of the 200 laps.
But here’s the deal, Clark spun his STP-sponsored Lotus twice, without hitting anything or doing any damage. After the race the joke was that STP stood for Spinning Takes Practice. However, during those spins both Stewart and Hill passed Clark. Stewart then was the leader for 40 laps until lap 190 when his engine lost oil pressure and he parked his Lola racer. Hill picked up the lead and led the final 10 laps to win, while Clark was most of a lap behind.
After the race the STP team and Clark both raced to Victory Lane, where Hill was already receiving his wreath, bottle of milk, and Borg-Warner trophy. Embarrassing for a lot of folks and some still argue that Clark won. But a picture in the local newspaper the day after the race clearly showed Hill passing Clark during his second spin.
Hill’s winning Lola T90 was much the same as teammate Stewart’s, carrying a Ford 4.2-liter V8. Both drove for team owner John Mecum Jr. and the Lolas were sleek well-designed racers.
Stewart’s car was primarily red and white, but Hill’s was too, yet with the noticeable difference that there was a yellow ring around the nose, and gold racing stripe up the nose to the cockpit along with its snake-like tailpipes painted gold.
Sponsorship was American Red Ball Transit Company, which just two years earlier had been the sponsor of popular Eddie Sachs when he was killed in the fiery second lap crash that stopped the race and also killed rookie Dave McDonald.
Obviously the Mecum team was better prepared and far luckier as Hill won and Stewart finished sixth to be named Rookie of the Year. Hill too was a rookie, but he already had the accolades from winning.
The model’s V8 stacks are matte silver as are all the offset suspension and steering parts. Also a standpipe behind the cockpit and short roll bar with single strut support feature the same finish.
Cockpit mirrors are on aluminum stands as with the Stewart car, but are yellow here to match the nose. Again there are photo-etched seatbelt clasps, a black seat and black three-spoke steering wheel in the cockpit along with short shift lever on the driver’s right. Four gauges are seen on the flat dash with wiring receding under the windscreen into the car’s nose.
Along with the big Red Ball logo on the sides, Hill’s No. 24 carried numbers on both sides of the cockpit, nose and both sides of the tail. Sponsor logos include Champion on the engine cover, plus Monroe, STP, Perfect Circle, Mobil, Premier, Raybestos and Bear to name a few. The team’s logo and a Red Ball logo are on the nose’s sides, too.
Love these models, just wish you could pop off the engine cover and see the Ford V8, but then most of us display these in full regalia, so that’s really not essential. As is this is a beautiful rendition of Hill’s winning car, and fills another slot in Replicarz Indy 500 winner lineup. And if you are a Stewart fan, his car also is now available from Replicarz. See my earlier review!
Vital Stats: 1966 Indy 500 Winner, Lola T90 (G. Hill)
Stock No.: R18025