The Life of Car Designer Eric Broadley

On this day, September 22 in the year 1928, the founder of Lola Cars was born in Bromley, Southeast of London, United Kingdom. His name was Eric Harrison Broadley, considered the most influential and prolific designers of automobiles in the post-war period.

Eric Broadley
Eric Broadley (Credit: autosport.com)

Eric Broadley was an architect who initially worked as a quantity surveyor. Then he started to tinker with race cars. In 1956, he designed his own car using an Austin 7 chassis and 1172cc Ford-engine and named it Broadley Special. This car was an instant success as it won a number of local and national events.

In 1958, Eric Broadley generated so much interest when his iconic Lola MK1 dominated a number of races around British Circuits. Using $2000 of his savings, he set up Lola Cars Ltd., inspired by the song Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets, from the 1955 musical Damn Yankees. In the following years, the company created cars for different categories, helping make Great Britain the center of motorsports in the world.

Although Eric’s cars failed to any make successful run at the Formula 1 races, it won international recognition for winning the 1967 Italian Grand Prix at Monza. It also won the Indianapolis 500 three times. In 1975, Lola Cars produced its 1000th car.

In 1997, Lola Cars was on the verge of collapse and it was sold to Martin Birrane. Eric retired to his farmhouse but would occasionally visit the shop and talk to his former employees.

Eric Broadley died in 2017 at the age of 88. He married twice and had three children.

References
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/02/sports/autoracing/eric-broadley-dead-lola-racing-cars-designer.html
https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/129841/lola-founder-broadley-dies-aged-88
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/01/eric-broadley-obituary

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