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Lotus Turbine (1969)

  
Lotus Turbines in Spectraflame aqua (L) and  olive (R), both with decals applied.

The Lotus Turbine was one of four open-wheel Indy cars released in 1969 as part of the new Grand Prix Series.

The Hot Wheels Lotus Turbine is modeled after the cars that Andy Granatelli's STP team raced at Indianapolis in 1968.  The #70 car, driven by Graham Hill, was one of three bright orange Lotus Turbines that started the race (a fourth Lotus Turbine was destroyed in a pre-race crash that took the life of driver Mike Spence).  Powered by Pratt & Whitney turbine engines, the Lotus cars were amazingly fast.  Joe Leonard captured the pole position in the #60 Lotus Turbine with a then-record speed of 171.559 mph.  Hill started the race from the second position.  All three cars were running near the front, but Hill crashed on lap 110.  Leonard was leading the race with nine laps remaining when a fuel shaft broke and forced him to retire.  Amazingly, Art Pollard's #20 Lotus Turbine also had suffered a broken fuel shaft three laps earlier.  The three STP cars finished in 12th, 13th and 19th places in the race won by Bobby Unser.



The three STP Lotus Turbines that ran in the 1968 Indianapolis 500.

As with the other Indy cars, the Lotus Turbine was produced only by the Hong Kong factory.  It features a blue-tinted windscreen and a silver-painted intake vent behind the cockpit.  Lotus Turbines were painted with a variety of Spectraflame colors, and included a small "Hot Wheels" decal on the right side of the car.  A waterslide decal sheet with #70 racing numbers and sponsors logos was included in the blister pack.  Most Lotus Turbines have black interiors, but occasionally tan and white interiors can be found.  Most production cars have bearing (white hub) style wheels, while later runs have cap style wheels.  Some Lotus Turbines can be found with both types of wheels.  Lotus Turbines can be found with a black-painted base, which typically adds about 50% to the value of the car.


A group of Lotus Turbines with tan interiors.

 
A copper Lotus Turbine with white interior.

Lotus Turbines with clear windscreens and white interiors are prototype cars and are quite valuable.  Perhaps the most interesting prototypes are the ones that were painted in bright orange enamel, just like the real cars!


An orange enamel Lotus Turbine prototype with a white interior and clear windscreen.


An orange enamel Lotus Turbine prototype with a snap-on fuel tanks (B. Rosas).


 
Lotus Turbine Color chart

COLORS:
COMMENTS:
blue common
red common
aqua common
green
purple
olive
orange
copper hard to find
rose ("watermelon")
hard to find
light blue
very rare (only one known)



Red and rose ("watermelon") Lotus Turbines.



A Lotus Turbine rainbow minus rose!


A prototype Lotus Turbine in purple (B. Rosas).


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