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  Article Image gallery (22) 29/2 Specifications  
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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1963
Numbers built:3
Successor:Lotus 34 Ford
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:November 23, 2012
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWith the ground-breaking Type 25 introduced at the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix, Lotus had become one of Formula 1's top runners. Its key strength (literally) was the revolutionary monocoque chassis, which was both lighter and more rigid than the conventional tubular spaceframe chassis. In fact, it was so strong that it allowed Lotus' Colin Chapman to quickly develop a machine for the lucrative Indy 500.

One of the driving forces behind this ambitious project was American Dan Gurney, who convinced Chapman that a mid-engined Lotus would be more than a match for the rather more archaic and much larger Indy 'Roadsters'. He had raced a mid-engined car in the 1962 Indy 500 and believed that a lighter, more efficient machine would be able to break the Roadsters' stronghold. In Ford, where an all-aluminium V8 was under development they found a formidable partner.

Dubbed the Type 29, Lotus' first Indy racer was effectively an enlarged version of the successful F1 car. This was done to meet the minimum wheelbase requirement and to accommodate for the new engine, which was over twice as large as the diminutive Coventry-Climax V8 used in the Type 25. As on the F1 car, the chassis consisted of two sheet aluminium pontoons that were connected by various steel cross-members and double as the bottom of the body.

Also carried over from the Type 25 was the suspension with wishbones and rockers at the front and wishbones, top links and trailing arms at the rear. Both a conventional and an off-set version of the suspension was developed. The later was designed specifically for use on ovals. With formidable performance expected, the car was fitted with the largest disc brakes available. Halibrand knock-off wheels were used to allow for lightning quick pit-stops.

Ford provided a new all-aluminium V8, loosely based on the Fairlane engine. A quad-cam version was in the works but in its original guise the Ford Indy engine used a single camshaft, actuating the valves through push-rods and rockers. Lotus replaced the Hilborn fuel injection with four Weber carburettors, which the British mechanics were much more accustomed to. In this guise, the 4.2 litre V8 produced around 400 bhp. It was mated to a Colotti four-speed gearbox with two gears blanked off.

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  Article Image gallery (22) 29/2 Specifications