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Jim Halls Lotus 18 Grand Prix car lives!

On September 1st, 2012, I was at the Historic Grand Prix on the circuit of Zandvoort in the Netherlands. In one of the warming-up sessions in the early morning I spotted a car on the track that immediately drew my attention. It was a white formula car with a boxy shape and the racing number (24) did ring a bell! This could be the Lotus 18 in which Jim Hall once drove the US Grand Prix! I couldn't believe my luck!

One of the exiting aspects of historic racing is that you're free to go everywhere, except for the track. So I started to search. There were a vast paddock and many pit boxes with at least a few hundred historic racing cars. Taking my time, I discovered a lot of interesting cars. For instance one of the original F1 Scarabs (see Chaparral Chaps: Hall/Reventlow comparison)! Beautiful car. I had a little chat with the owner. Happy man. There was an awesome collection of Can-Am machinery like McLarens 1A and 1B, the ex John Mecom Zerex Special and sports cars like Lister Jaguars.

In one of the last pit boxes I finally discovered the white Lotus 18. Graphics on the body indicated that my guess had been right. It was the very Jim Hall car of 1960! I waited for someone who could answer my questions but the owner, driver or mechanic(s) seemed to have vaporized. I stood there completely alone for the best part of an hour. All I could do was enjoy the sacred moment and take lot of pictures. I discovered Jim Halls autograph on the dashboard, and the chassis plate indicating #907.

Afterwards I had occupied a very good position near the second dummy grid area. There the car lined up for the pre-'65 race! I had a quick and pleasant conversation with the driver in the car. He was indeed the proud owner of this piece of racing history. From the drivers list in the program I learned his name, McCabe. I complimented him with his marvellous car and said that, hence my interest in Chaparral, he made my day. For me, this ex Jim Hall car was the star of the meeting.

New Chaparral newsletter

Recently I got an e-mail from The Petroleum Museum about a new pdf Chaparral newsletter. I reads:

Dear Chaparral Fans,
Attached is the inaugural newsletter of enthusiasts dedicated to sharing the Chaparral story. Although the group works independently of The Petroleum Museum, we share in their enthusiasm to tell the story. We have agreed to release this initial newsletter via The Petroleum Museum Chaparral "Live Drive" list. you would like to continue to receive this newsletter please send an e-mail request to Wallace Craig at

New General Motors design

GM designed a new concept car for the future: the Chaparral Volt. The name "Chaparral" and the Chaparral logo are used under the permission of Jim Hall and it features the famous #66. The car collects and generates its own energy from three different clean, renewable and abundant California resources: Earth, Wind and Fire.

Colani, proposal for a Chaparral Road Version (1966)

In my opinion, Luigi Colani is one of the best designers of our time. He certainly is one of the most controversial and original. For those who don't know this modern 'Leonardo da Vinci', take a look at

I have a few books about this genius. In one of them, Designing Tomorrow (Car Styling Special Edition No. 23), the following drawing is featured (text is quoted from the book).

"The racing car 'Chaparral' with an automatic transmission system which made its appearance on the world's motor sport scene between 1964 and 1967. Colani showed its maker Jim Hall what its road version should look like. Judging from the design trend represented, it is presumed that the original used by Colani for modification was Hall's second work, Type C."

I think it's a very nice study and there is some relevancy in the subject actually. Jim Hall is said to have toyed with the idea of producing a series of road going sports cars in the Sixties. It never became reality however. Colani had already designed a VW based body kit, the Colani Spider. About 600 are claimed to be produced in the same period. Some survived and can still be seen at VW meetings.

Lancia Stratos Bertone

The fact that this Marcello Ghandini design of the early Seventies, to my knowledge, never has been compared with the Chaparral 2H is probably due to the fact that the 2H was relatively unknown in the old world. But there are too many similarities to speak about coincidence and I suppose Bertone took a very close look at the 2H concept at the time: overall profile, driver position, radiator in the very back, fed fresh air by making use of the boundary layer, air intakes at the sides, the side windows and the front screen. In the Stratos' case the front screen doubles as the entrance hatch whereas the 2H had a separate entrance opening, but nevertheless..

Birthday fax

My brother in law sent his congratulations by fax. He's not a bad artist, is he? I wish I had that tray at home!

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