The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum has announced that the generous support of more than 140 donors has resulted in a fully-funded restoration initiative for the groundbreaking 1963 Lotus 29/1 (pictured) that Dan Gurney qualified and drove in the Indianapolis 500.
The IMS Museum Lotus Restoration Project requires $103,000 to restore the No. 93 Lotus powered by Ford entry, in which Gurney qualified 12th and finished seventh. Incredible progress is underway on the restoration: Noted auto restoration expert George Lyons is returning the car body to its original, glorious white-and blue paint livery, while IMS Restoration is completing engine and suspension work, and new wheels have been sourced from the United Kingdom.
While subject to change, the Museum’s goal is to debut the Lotus 29/1 during 2020 Indianapolis 500 activities in May.
Jack Brabham drove a rear-engine Cooper in the 1961 “500” and Gurney drove a rear-engine car for team owner Mickey Thompson in 1962, but it was the 1963 arrival of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, his drivers Jim Clark and Gurney, and three Lotus 29 entries that signaled the groundbreaking transition to rear-engine race cars at the Indianapolis 500. Years of historic technological and safety innovation in Indy car racing would follow.
Clark started fifth with Lotus chassis 29/3 and finished second to Parnelli Jones in the 1963 “500.” Gurney crashed his primary car, the Lotus 29/2 in practice, and switched to the 29/1 for his successful run in qualifying and the race. Scotland native Clark, a two-time Formula 1 world champion with Lotus during his Hall of Fame career, took the “500” the pole in 1964, and with the new Lotus 38, delivered the first Indy victory for a rear-engine car in 1965.
IMS Museum Curator of Vehicles Jason Vansickle provides an update on the Lotus 29/1 project in the video below:
Future Restoration Projects: With the Lotus 29/1 restoration in the homestretch, the IMS Museum soon will announce three exciting new restoration projects that will return to life three legendary engines of the Indianapolis 500. Details will be released soon.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization operated separately from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, support from donors will be essential for the IMS Museum Restoration team to complete timely and impactful restorations, just as they will soon do with Dan Gurney’s Lotus 29/1.