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The Lolette: what do we know about it?


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#1 EDWARD FITZGERALD

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 21:27

Since I joined I have often thought of using the forum to find out about the Lolette as shown on page 172 of Sun On The Grid , who built it etc ?

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#2 Jeff Weinbren

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Posted 24 September 2004 - 03:55

The Lolette was built in South Africa by Eric Brockhoven who also drove the car. It was Chevy V8 powered and had, if my memory serves me correctly, a two speed automatic transmission. I am sure that there was more than one Lolette built.
Jeff Weinbren.

#3 Wolf

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Posted 24 September 2004 - 17:43

OK, here are two rather large images Ry6 has sent me, so I'm putting them as links:

http://members.atlas...lf/lolette6.jpg
http://members.atlas...ettespyder1.jpg*

And here is accompanying text:

The brutal looking Lolette Coupe of the 1964 Rand 9-Hours has always been a favourite of mine. It was a very fast sportycar but quite a handful – certainly exciting to watch.

It was entered in the race by Scuderia Los Amigos, a Johannesburg based amateur team and was powered by a 4.6 liter Chevy V8. According to the program the car weighed 2035 lbs and had 4 dc carbs and 4 gears.

The drivers were Eric Brockhoven and Frank Rundel.

Per my notes of the race the lightweight E-Type of Peter Sutcliffe/Dickie Stoop took a car length or so lead from the Le Mans type start after David Piper’s 275LM appeared to falter on the pull off. (I can’t remember if this was a Le Mans type start where the driver sat in the car and the co-driver ran across the track with the key?)

The Lolette with Rundel first up made a sensational start and hounded the E-Type and Ferrari until the first corner but ran onto the verges at Crowthorne, the corner at the end of the straightway and raised some dust as Rundel tried to pass Piper!

After a few hairy laps the thundering Lolette was in trouble – the driver described it as “brake failure”.

It however continued to the end of the race and although still running at the end was classified a “non finisher”. It also had an off track excursion and damaged the oil cooler.

What a variety of interesting cars we saw that day – among them such as the the Ferrari 275 LM, the Ferrari GTO, the Cobra Coupe, the Lotus 30, the E Type, Elfin Mallala and the Thompson Special, a Lotus 23 look-a-like with its engine in front!

Peter de Toit, who owns Swartkops Circuit, near Pretoria owns an open Lolette and incidentally the Thompson Spl



* Rob, I hope You don't mind, but I've converted Spyder pic into grayscale (the size of the file has been cut down to third), but didn't have time to fiddle with duotones to get that blue-ish hue of the oringinal

#4 ry6

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 09:20

Thanks Wolf for your kind posting.

The second pic is of the Lolette in Spyder form. I think the photo is from the sportscar race before the 1962 Rand Grand Prix at Kyalami.

The Lolette being driven by Eric Brockhoven is leading Dawie Gous in the ex-Ian Fraser Jones Porsche 550 Spyder.

Can our eagle eyed members tell if this is the same basic car as the Coupe?

#5 EDWARD FITZGERALD

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 21:43

thank you or the fab pics, much better than the book , also the info on the Thompson special , any pics of it ? Did anyone do a book on the later races ?

#6 Wolf

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 14:44

Thanks to Rob for another photo. :) If it wasn't for him, I'd be poorer for a lot of photos and info on South African racing. :up:

Posted Image

Thompson 1500 Ford during the 1965 Rand Nine Hours. It was driven by Brian Pole and Tony Classens but dropped out after about 2 hours when its flywheel sheared. I am cheating a bit with this photo because it is a 1965 photo. The car looked more like a Lotus 7 back in the 1964 race when driven by Brian Pole and Jurgen Nieman (brother of Brausch) it finished the race after several delays. These are from my negatives which are a bit dirty after all these years - this is a photo by Len Konings as were the Lolette pix..



#7 ry6

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 16:23

Thanks Wolf for your assistance with the posting of photos.

No takers yet on whether the Spyder Lolette and Lolette Coupe are the same basic car?

Edward we are a bit off topic but 'tis interesting to see that the front wheels of the Thompson appear to be Lotus wobblys wheras the rear are steel wheels.

The Thompson Bros. who were great sponsors from Pietermaritzburg also had a Lotus 23 and perhaps the wheels came from some 23 "spares" or one of the many 18's that came to Afrique de Sud?

#8 ry6

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 16:26

Thanks Wolf for your assistance with the posting of photos.

No takers yet on whether the Spyder Lolette and Lolette Coupe are the same basic car?

Edward we are a bit off topic but 'tis interesting to see that the front wheels of the Thompson appear to be Lotus wobblys wheras the rear are steel wheels.

The Thompson Bros. who were great sponsors from Pietermaritzburg also had a Lotus 23 and perhaps the wheels came from some 23 "spares" or one of the many 18's that came to Afrique de Sud?

Perhaps also some moulds for the body panels came from the 23?

Note also that clear plastic bubble over the carbs.

#9 ry6

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Posted 28 September 2004 - 17:47

I spoke to-day to Peter du Toit who owns the Lolette.

The car was built by Eric Brockhoven an was an open car with Chevy V8 - that's the car is the "spyder" form in the photo shown in the sportscar race before the 1962 December Rand GP.

Peter says that they used an old Protea chassis. The Protea, only about 16 were built, was a glass fibre bodied South African sportscar built circa 1956 - most used 1172 Ford engines.

Well to this chassis was fitted a V8 Chevy of over 4 litre and a Ford 10 front axle cut in half was used up front with a 1948 Chevy back axle doing the job at the back! "A typical shoestring South African special".

Brockhoven took the car to the UK, must be 1963 or early 64 and evidently raced it at Snetterton and Oulton Park. Apparently the coupe body was fitted in the UK.

A second Lolette, with rear engine, was built using some parts of the original so Jeff's memory may well be correct.

Peter found the chassis of the original car on top of a fowl run - it had apparently seen use as a dragster after being discarded as a racer.

He rebuilt it and had an enormous crash at Midvaal in a historic race.

He says it's a monster and a "point and squirt" car and the handling is lethal!

Now you all know why I liked it.

#10 Felix

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 13:32

Excuse the delay in posting, but my good friend Jannie van Aswegen, who at some stage owned three of the five racing Lolettes, had been out of South Africa for 10 days, and only able to respond this weekend. Herewith his recollections re the various Lolettes Eric Brockhoven built (Italics are Jannie's words):

Lolette No 1......... as I will number it was built during 1961/1962 and the chassis was basically a Protea Chassis which was built for Eric by John Meyers who built the Protea cars . Eric then did the mechanical and the body work himself . The front suspension was a Ford Thames van solid axle that was cut in half and pivoted in the middle like a Lotus 6 . At the end of these pivoting axles he fitted Jaguar disc brakes . The rear axle was from a 1937 Ford saloon which was cut of next to the diff center and made into a De Dion back axle . The engine was from a early Chev . Corvette and was 283 cub inches [4.6 liters ] the gearbox was from a Alfa Romeo as the early Corvettes was only 3 speed and the early Alfas had 4 speed before going to 5 speeds . The body was hand made with Fiberglass from a cement mold . The second photo on the E mail link in spider form is what the car started its life like . This photo was taken in 1962 at Killarney in Cape Town . Eric then shipped the car to the U.K. at the end of 1962 and competed in the U.K. with the car for the 1963 season . During this period he was staying and traveling with Bobby Olthoff in the U.K. who was with the Wilment team driving the Cobra and Eric tagged along with his Lolette . The car was also constantly improved and updated by Eric during the time in the U.K. the first thing he did was to change the front suspension to fully independent by using Alfa components but still keeping the Jaguar brakes . He was also not very happy getting wet in the U.K. during races and had the roof fitted to the car with a different back end . These modifications was done in Allimunimum . Eric then returned to South Africa in 1964 with the changed car and raced it in sports car events locally.He then entered it in the 9 hour race of that year with his friend Frank Rundle as co driver . They started well from the Le Mans start but early in the race the gearbox jammed in fourth gear and that was the reason for all the off s during the race as well as the bad end result .
Eric decided to then get involved in Hot Rod racing and sold the Lolette to a chap in the East Rand without the Engine . In the mid 1980 s I found the chassis with suspension in Florida [South Africa ] and did a deal with the then owner by swapping some wheels I had for the remains . It laid in my Garage for a while before I gave it to Peter Du Toit for free to restore and this is now the car that he races from time to time at Zwartkops . Unfortunately the car has not been restored to its original condition.

After building this car Eric got involved after a visit to the States in producing the first Beach buggies in South Africa called Lolette buggies , he also started to produce locally all sorts of special parts for the buggies like Lollete cast split wheels ,inlet manifolds for IDA Weber carbs , steering wheels , Alli tappet covers . ect . This became his main business and how many of the buggies was built I don't know but Eric won the roof of Africa Rally in one of them .

Lolette No 2 ........Was a car that combined ideas and features that Eric had learned about during his racing in the U.K. and his visit to the States . He admired both Chapman and Jim Hall for their engineering skills and one would see this come through in the cars that Eric built , even the Lolette No 1 had some aspects that was copied from the front engine Chaparrals . The second Lolette was rear engined with a Chevy V8 with full independent suspension all round like Lotus ,using big Girling racing brakes and alli calipers .The gearbox Eric copied from the Chaparral ,it was his own transaxel casting with the internals off a Chevy powerglide two speed automatic gearbox inside . The body was a work of art made from Allimunium and based on the shape of the Lotus 30 . Eric now stood back from driving himself and had Peter De Klerk drive the car . As beautiful as this car was so bad was the handling. Between Eric and Peter they tried to sort the car out over a period of a year and a half but never really managed to get it to be competitive . Eventually they gave up and Eric sold the car to a person in Krugersdorp who wanted to build a road car from it . I traced the car in the late 1980 s and bought it from this chap . I later sold it to Brain Tyler who inturn sold it to Bunny Wentzel who at present is busy restoring the car .



Lolette No 3............. Was a rear engine Hot Rod that Eric built based on a replica Brabham BT 7 chassis that he got from Barry Neunborn as Barry had abandoned a formula one project when the formula changed from 1.5 liter to 3 liter . Eric used this chassis and fitted offset suspension to it based on what Chapman had done to the Lotus 29 Indy car . He fitted a standard Chev V8 engine with a four barrel carb and a In and Out box of his own fabrication as also some Lolette wheels which was the same as the ones made for the Buggies he was selling .The car also used Brabham F ONE body panels. He got a local German driver called Jurgie Bauer to drive the car at the Wembley oval track against the American produced CAE hot rods . This car was unbelievably successful and was eventually stopped from racing by the hot rod association . The car was sold to a fellow hot rodder in Krugersdorp called Ben Venter from whom I bought it in the mid 1970 s . I then sold it to a person in Pretoria called Kas Els . I have recently tried to trace the car again but have not been successful up to now .

Eric then extended his Buggy business by developing a local kit car for a VW beetle chassis by taking a mould of Dr Davie Gous,s Porsche RSK 62 spider,s nose section and a mould from Doug Serruriers Lola T70 s rear end and combining it with the roof of a VW Karman Gia to produce a very nice Lolette road car . Again he sold complete cars as well as kits ,but how many I cannot say .

Lolette No 4.............The above project let to a sports car that Eric built for him and Frank Rundel to race again in the 1969 9 hour race . It was called a Lolette Porsche spider and used the body as described above but with no roof . It was powered by a four cylinder Porsche Engine and it used a spaceframe chassis . The car finished as the first South African car home that year . The car was sold to a lady in Angola after the race and never heard of again although every now and then there are rumors that the car is in Namibia however I could not find it up to now .


Lolette No 5..............This was a small well built rear engine dragster powered by a modified VW air-cooled engine of 1800 cc through a VW gearbox this car constantly won the small dragster class with times of between 10 to 11 seconds for the quarter mile [on the reef which is 6000 feet above see level] . I later bought this car from Eric directly and change the Power unit to an NSU RO80 engine onto the VW gearbox . The car ran constant 10 second times with the standard NSU engine . I then turbo charged the engine but had a lot of problems with it as we then had to run Methanol fuel by law ,due to fuel restrictions . The Methanol did not suit the wankel engine but I once managed to break into the 9 seconds with the car . I later sold it to a fellow drag racer and have never seen the car again .


Eric then built himself a yacht and set sail around the world . He eventually got to Australia where he has been living since the 1980 s.


Hope that helps the posters. I see RY6 quotes Peter du Toit as having found Lolette 1 on a fowl run - well, I can vouch for the fact that Jannie never had a fowl run. Maybe Pieter is mistaken...???

#11 Wolf

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Posted 03 October 2004 - 17:44

Sorry, Rob, I had to cut this one in half. It was rather large (~1MB), so I reduced it to half the width and height, resulting in much smaller file (150kb) :

http://members.atlas...lolette_50p.jpg

"I was looking thru some old negs and came across this one - quite by coincidence. It is from June 1966 at Kyalami. If you look at the badge it says Lolette! So Jeff's memory was not too bad. This is the rear engine Lolette.



#12 EDWARD FITZGERALD

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 09:03

wonderful stuff , would make a great magazine article , once again wonderful

#13 ry6

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 19:31

Originally posted by Felix

After building this car Eric got involved after a visit to the States in producing the first Beach buggies in South Africa called Lolette buggies ,


I understand tht former race car driver/designer Gordon Henderson was the builder of the first South African beach buggies called the Manx Veldwagen. Certainly I saw them before I ever saw a Lolette buggy but who knows for sure.

QUOTE I see RY6 quotes Peter du Toit as having found Lolette 1 on a fowl run - well, I can vouch for the fact that Jannie never had a fowl run. Maybe Pieter is mistaken...??? [/B]


Felix, perhaps YOU can challenge Peter on his "find"?

#14 Felix

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Posted 06 October 2004 - 14:06

I had put it to Jannie van Aswegen that Peter du Toit maintains he found the remains of Lolette No1 on a chicken run, and he replied as follow:

RY6 is correct in that Lolette Chassis No1 was found on a chicken run, but it was I who found and swapped it for some Corvette rims or something I had here. I had various projects on the go at that time, so gave it to Peter du Toit to rebuild. Also, it was a specially-modified Protea chassis, not a normal road chassis, which Eric (Brockhoven) ordered built to his specification. 14, not 16, road chassis were built, with the other two being specials - the Lolette and one other

In fact I have a very nice photo I got from Eric of the chassis when delivered . I also have somewhere photo copies where Eric was racing the car in the U.K. at Crystal Palace .

The Photo the chap posted is infact the rear engine Lolette and as you can see it looks like a Lotus 30 but the lights in the centre of the nose are like those of a Chaparral

I trust that sort of clarifies this. As for Gordon Henderson - another of SA's intrepid race car constructors - and Manx buggies, yes, Gordon did build these buggies, but mainly for the Durban (coastal) market, whilst Brockhoven did them for Johannesburg and northwards. AS far as I remember, Gordon did not venture to the US, whereas Eric did, so possibly Eric imported the concept, and Gordon, who travelled to Kyalami often to race, saw a Lolette at Kyalami?

#15 bradbury west

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 00:18

It is a small world.

I have just spent time poring over a pile of race entries/practice sheets/results from the early sixties, and I came across

BRSCC meeting, Snetterton Sunday April 12 1964

Guards Trophy Race; Sports Racers 1000 to 1200cc, and over 1200cc; 8 laps

Third in over 1200 class, no 41, Lolette Corvette driven by E Brockhoven, finishing 1m 17secs behind the race winner C M M Williams in his Lotus 23B, but ahead, in class, of Alderslade's D Type. The race appears to have been a close thing between Williams and Peter Gethin in another Lotus 23

It would seem to tie in with the period when Brockhoven was tagging along with Bob Olthoff

Just thought it was interesting.

Roger Lund