Cars

Sir Jackie Stewart's 1971 Lola Can-Am Spyder

The Can-Am race cars of the 1970s were some of the best and fastest cars on earth. As a result, some of the best and fastest drivers signed up for the series when they weren't racing in Formula 1. Up for grabs at RM's Monaco auction is this 1971 Lola T260 Can-Am Spyder. It was Sir Jackie Stewart's backup car, and in his hands its sister car was the only non-McLaren to win a race in 1971.

Simply calling the car fast doesn't do it justice. The car is so wicked that all the holes you see in the front are there to help air literally pass through it, lest the car take flight and flip. The result is utter stability at enormously high speeds.

And enormously high speeds are pretty much a certainty on any track, thanks to a nearly 500 cid V8 pumping out somewhere north of 750 hp. By early 1970s standards, that was nearly sufficient to alter the rotation of the earth. Yet the joyous absurdity of the numbers pales in comparison to the cartoonishness of the engine. Just look at those intake trumpets: each one is a different length to make the engine smoother, more efficient, and even more powerful.

But if you're lucky enough to be seated here, the engine won't seem cartoonish. It will fill you with emotions ranging from allure to horror as the car attempts to tear a hole in the universe. The two canister-looking things on either side of the seat? Those are the fuel tanks. You really don't want to be in a high speed collision in something like this.

Of course, Sir Jackie did sit in a car just like this. And he won in it, at two of the era's most dangerous and daunting circuits in North America. This particular car went on to be raced by a few other drivers, and ultimately had a successful run in vintage racing.


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. He would be overjoyed, horrified, and overcome with adrenaline if someone let him take a few laps in any Can-Am racer.