Registry – Lotus 30/L/3

According to the article “Will 1965 be the Year? The Development History of the Biggest Lotus”, Motor, 10 Jun. 1965, this Series 1 Lotus 30 was delivered to Bob Challman, CA, U.S.A.
This car left the Lotus Factory on an unknown date, body color of “BRG”, Lotus Ford V8 Serial Number unknown, and ZF 5DS20 Serial Number unknown.

Known Owners
30/L/3
1964 – Bob Challman (CA, U.S.A.)

1964 Oct 11 – To be raced by Mike Spence at the Riverside 200 Times GP. Spence was unable to qualify the car.


1964 Oct 11 – John Masterson (CA, U.S.A.)

1964 Oct 17 – SCCA Laguna Seca Regional, DNF

1964 Oct 18 – Laguna Seca 200 Miles, Car #222. DNQ – Raced and crashed in consolation race. [1]http://www.racingsportscars.com/type/archive/Lotus/30.html Retreived 2015-Aug-15


1966 – converted into PAM Lotus 30, raced by Dick Guldstrand.

Present – Missing


Gene deRuelle worked for Bob Challman’s Ecurie Shirlee Lotus dealership when this car came to California. Gene had the following to say,

“First of all, let’s deal with Mike Spence’s Lotus 30. I was part of the pit crew at the Times Gran Prix for Both Clark’s and Spence’s Lotus 30. The reason that Mike didn’t qualify was really simple. Mike went out for the morning practice on Saturday for about 10 laps. He came into the pits and asked the mechanics for some changes. When he went to restart the car it wouldn’t fire at all. We finally took off the valve covers to find that some of the valves were not working at all. For some unknown reason, when Mike shut the car off, the camshaft broke in two. There were not time or resources to fix it, so the crew just parked it.”[2]Personal communication, email, 26 Aug 2015

John “Bat” Masterson was a popular Southern California racer and a member of the family that ran Masterson Motors, a VW/Porsche dealership in Ventura, CA.

John bought the Series 1 Lotus 30 (30/L/3) immediately after the 1964 Riverside 200 Times GP. John had thought that he had been sold the Clark 30 but later found out Bob Challman, the Lotus distributor, had kept it for himself.

John very graciously send his Lotus 30 photo collection and they can be found here.

John had the following to say about his time with 30/L/3:

SHORT AND SOUR

Ahh… The Lotus 30 story.  It is short and not very sweet.  In the 60’s, sports car racing in Southern California was big, really big.  Movie stars, huge press, etc. It was THE happening.  The biggest event was the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix held at Riverside Raceway in October.  Big names came from all over to be in that event.  There were two GP’s at Riverside, one in the spring and the fall event.  October was the biggest race in town.

I had just sold my RS-60 (former Ken Miles) and had decided to try to quit competing in older race cars and make the move to current machinery.  I new that Lotus was coming out with a V-8 model, but I was leaning toward the Huffacker “Genie” being made in San Francisco.  A good friend of mine, Don Wester, outstanding Porsche driver) was convinced this was the hottest thing out.  I was about ready to place an order for a Genie, undeliverable till the Riverside and Monterey GP (the following week) were over, when I heard by the grape vine that Lotus was going to be at Riverside with the new 30.  All I knew of it at the time was a blurb in Road and Track.  I was gorgeous looking.

Being a sucker for looks and admiring the fantastic success of the 23, I contacted Bob Challman in Manhattan Beach who was the authorized Lotus Distributor.  He said he would arrange it for me to buy Jim Clarks’ 30 immediately after Riverside.  It meant that I could take it to Monterey the following weekend.  That cinched the deal.  Purchase price? $12,000.  Sounds cheap today but in 1964, I was newly married (1961), just bought a house with no money down, had a precocious 2 year old daughter and absolutely zero furniture.

Every penny I could scrape up went into racing.  I had a Bonanza to get to the races.  An old van to haul the cars and a full time race mechanic “employed” in the VW agency.  Now you might think that being an owner of a VW agency would allow me excess $.  Wrong.  I was the junior member to my father and older brother who was general manager.  In fact, when he found out how much stuff I was charging to my personal accounts receivable, he shut my credit off in the parts department!  I fooled him.  I went to the bank, borrowed the full $12,000 using our business line of credit.

RACE DAY — I OWN A LOTUS 30

I didn’t get to spend much time with the Lotus team as they arrived late and were tremendously busy trying to get the 30 prepared for Riverside.  I remember hoping nothing happened to the car during the race because I was pumped up about hopefully being a competitive threat at Monterey.  I wanted that “race-prepared” Lotus to be in immaculate shape!  Jim Clark was one hell of a magician.  He brought the 30 into 3rd place if I remember right.  When I came by the pits afterwards, he had already gone.  Basically, Challman was there, someone from Lotus flipped me the keys, I handed over the check and that was it.  No pre-sale walk through or even at thank you very much.  It was like get rid of this lemon quick before the mark wakes up.  In someways, buying Potato Chips at the grocery was more emotional.

I had made arrangements with Riverside Raceway to use the track on Monday.  I felt I needed to wheel time to help me get familiar with this new, sexy, green beast.  Monday morning, the full crew, my wife and I arrived excited about the new acquisition.  Most of the morning was spent, cleaning, tightening screws, replacing stuff that had fallen off etc.  Soon it was time to take the 30 out on the track.  I was pumped!

The first lap scared the hell out of me.  Nothing worked the way it was supposed too.  The difference between it and an RS-60 was unbelievable.  Porsche made good racers out of fair racers.  The Lotus 30 made widows.  It was all over the track.  Now I am the first to admit I am not a super hot shoe.  But I wasn’t lacking in effort.  My first serious lap times were slower than the times I recorded when I was racing my ’50’s technology Kurtis-Chevy.  Somewhere, I kept thinking that they had switched cars on me and the real 30 went back to England.  We decided to stay another day.  Tuesday.  More tune and test.  Things were falling off, in checking the car over thoroughly, we found welds not welded and basically a sign of hurried, shoddy construction.  We made plans after Monterey, to completely tear the car apart and “re-build” it.  All the while, I am say to myself, Jim Clark finished 3rd!  He is the Mandrake of Motorracing or you are the Don Knotts of Race car drivers.  Tuesday was spent in as much pit time as track time.  We decided to stay one more day.  We left for Monterey on Wednesday night.

MONTERY —

I love Monterey.  It is my favorite west coast track. I had raced there many times and felt confident I could be successful.  At least not embarrass myself.  We had entered the amateur races on Saturday and I really expected to win.  Sitting on the grid, waiting for the flag to fall was exhilarating.  “I had hocked the family’s furniture for this, boy it had better be great!”  The flag dropped, I popped the clutch and watched everyone on the starting grid roar by.  It felt like the 30 had added 1 ton of weight.  It was too pooped to pop.  I made one lap thinking it was something in the fuel lines that would eventually blow out but no luck.  I pitted on lap two.  The crew popped the long hood over the Ford powered, Weber carbureted engine bay.  Surprise, Surprise.  We had devised a chain of 8 orange rubber balls to be put in the carburetors while we were working in the engine bay.  You know, to keep things out…..like air?  In our excitement, the crew chief had forgotten to remove them.

After removal and back on the track, I started to feel that I was making progress in learning the 30’s style.  I was excited about tomorrows pro event qualifying.  Saturday night was a restless night.  I was afraid of making myself look like a fool if I didn’t qualify in the front for tomorrows event.  If you knew my racing career up till then, you would know what I mean.  I was a 50-50 driver.  Faster than half of them and slower than the other half.  With luck, guts and a competitive will to win, I could.  At least that what I believed at 29 years of age.

Sunday is a day that I don’t remember.  Oh, I remember having waffles, bacon and eggs for breakfast, that the famous foggy mist of Monterey was heavy when we arrived at the pits but really, everything from then on is what someone has told me.  I am completely blank.  This is what supposedly happened.

Morning qualifying was the last chance to get into the afternoon event.  As I had not qualified earlier, I had to put the pedal to the metal.  Supposedly, after leaving turn 4 (old Laguna Seca configuration) I was hot on the loud pedal heading under the bridge towards #5.  A car (Lotus 23?) ahead of me had blown its engine and I hit the oil at 80-90 mph.  I lost it, tried to correct it but instead ended up hitting the concrete bridge.  It totaled the car and me.  My wife was back in the pits anxiously awaiting word.  The amazing thing was the car didn’t catch fire.  If it had, I would be crisper than the mornings bacon.  Evidently I was drenched in fuel being that the driver is surrounded by fuel tanks.  Remember this is 60’s non-safety regulations.  A good friend, Jerry Titus, offered to drive my wife to hospital in his BMW 2002.  She was told that I was dead or soon would be.  Months later, she told me that that short drive was the longest ride she NEVER wants to take again.  In fact, she refused to going racing with me afterwards, saying “Just have them call me when they know your true condition.”

I remember coming around to reality the following Thursday.  Funny to say, but one of the first faces I remember seeing was my banker.  He professed concern over my health but I am sure he was worried about the loan.  Seemed the papers weren’t totally legal as the President of the corporation hadn’t signed on the loan.  (Much later, I signed up making me, not the Corporation, the one responsible for the $12,000.)  My parents showed up about the same time.  They were vacationing in Arizona and read the headlines about my accident.  There are two ways to be a headliner.  I don’t recommend this way.  Anyway, they drove to Monterey immediately as the reports were very negative.  Really, all I ended up with were broken ribs, concussion and bruised heart.  My first question when I came out of the ether?  “How’s the 30?”  My thoughts? “Twelve grand in debt, no furniture and my credit shut off in the parts department.  Where am I going to get my next race car?”[3]Personal communication, email, 11 May 2003

After John’s time with 30/L/3, it ended up with Dick Guldstrand and as converted into the PAM.

Last modified: Sep 23, 2015 @ 5:42 AM UTC.

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.racingsportscars.com/type/archive/Lotus/30.html Retreived 2015-Aug-15
2. Personal communication, email, 26 Aug 2015
3. Personal communication, email, 11 May 2003

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