World's best lola's?

#1
Imagine my surprise to learn that probably the worlds best LOLA builder is just over an hour from me in Central Florida. Mac McClendon builds some of the worlds best LOLA'S and ships them world wide. (most to Europe) I called him to ask if his brilliant engine builder would mind taking a look at my Weber'ed Ford stroker motor in the New Year. He agreed.

Mac invited me out to his cozy shop where he and his small crew of artisans build some stunning cars. In Ford GT 40 speak I guess you could say he's the GELSCOE of LOLA builders. A small parcel of land contains a few unremarkable buildings but as I arrived you could see a stunning Yellow LOLA T 70 MK III waiting to be delivered and take my word for it....its a breath-taking car and even more interesting the owner wanted it to be road legal so it even has AC! I believe its scheduled to be delivered during the Amelia Island event.

Mac, his very gracious wife and their 6 dogs greeted me like a long lost relative. They invited me into their shop and allowed me to peek inside and out as the small company of workers went about their daily chores of welding, filing, hammering and building these great machines.

Mac, is a guy that MUST right his memoirs. A truly remarkable man with a great story to tell. If their is anyone out there on the forum who knows someone that writes and needs a subject, Mac is your man. From Hollywood to Vietnam and from racing cars to NASA this man has done it all. He's met some of the best Hollywood drivers of all time including McQueen, Garner and Newman and he knows a few secrets.

He told me how he came to purchase all the original tooling from LOLA way back when and then moved from CA to FL to get away from all the government regulation and restrictions in CA.

As I sat and spoke with Mac his shop foreman came in to ask a question about a slight modification desired from an owner and without looking at a blue-print or going out to the shop to see what the mechanic was talking about Mac simply responded with knowledge that comes from years and years of experience of why it would or would not work and possible issues that might arise from the modification.

Mac showed me projects in the works including multiple complete chassis waiting for shipment to Europe and fabricated nose pieces that he stated were needed because "this part gets damaged more then most parts on the car so we're building them all the time."

The level of sheet metal work is obviously top of the class even for these untrained eyes. I could have stuck around all day talking to the legend or just hanging around the shop. I was so giddy after leaving I had to call someone who would appreciate my zeal so our own Pat Chaffin (Veek) had to listen to me running off at the mouth about what I'd just witnessed.

I can't wait to return after the new year. Mac's familiar with other fabricators and builders from our neck of the woods too. He spoke well of Fran Hall and Dennis Olthoff's name came up.

I did take a few photos with permission of course but I didn't want to overstay my welcome in that department so I'll see if I can get a few posted. Seeing the "parts" warehouse is mouth watering too knowing what the "parts" belong to or will be going on. Rows and rows of beautifully cast and forged parts ready to be shipped.

A kid in a candy store.......
 

Keith

Member
Moderator
GT40s Supporter
#2
Interesting, I wonder how Carl Haas and Multimatic view that operation? Perhaps their ownership of the (Lola) brand doesn't include the heritage parts, only the LMP efforts..
 

Brian Kissel

Member
Lifetime Supporter
#4
Mac is a great guy. When I was last there, I took about 500 pictures. Like you said, they treat you like a long lost relative. I'll be going back again, for sure.

Regards Brian
 

Randy V

Member
Admin
Lifetime Supporter
#5
Looking forward to the pics to put with your narrative... It sounds like one of those memorable visits that will be reflected upon for many years to come!
 
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