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  • David Story

1964 Lotus 34

Lotus 34 Indy Car

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Jim Clark finished second at the Lotus-Ford Indianapolis debut in 1963. Now with experience and more time to prepare, the new-for-1964 Lotus 34 Ford looked set to finally break the stronghold of the front-engined 'Roadsters'.

The new Lotus was very much an evolution of the Type 29 used in 1963. The single biggest change came from Ford in the form of brand twin-cam, four-valve cylinder heads for their all-aluminum V8 engine. This almost brought the car level in terms of power with the much heavier Indy Roadsters.

Now mated to a two-speed ZF gearbox, instead of the Colotti used in 1963, the mighty V8 was mounted in Lotus' familiar full-length monocoque chassis. A point of much debate between Lotus' Colin Chapman and Ford was the choice of tires. Chapman got his way with running stickier Dunlop tires, while Ford would have rather used the sturdier but harder Firestone tires.

Clark led the race in the early stages until a massive vibration caused his rear suspension to fail. The problem was traced back to the Dunlop tires. Under high loads, they overheated and shed enough threads to cause the vibrations. Gurney was called in a few laps later as a precaution. Ford was understandably furious and to make matters worse, it was Foyt in a front-engined roadster who won the race.



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