Today I had the pleasure of receiving a Firebird advertisement cutout from a 1963 American publication. The advert promotes the recent victory of the gasoline-powered Indianapolis-spec Lotus 29, driven by Jim Clark, at the 1963 Milwaukee State Fair Park. It was a time when the American motorsport industry was predominantly powered by alcohol-based fuels – but this was soon to change.
Lotus’s entry into North American racing was initially seen as no threat to the established runners in the United States, though they were soon to realise the strength of the Colin Chapman-Jim Clark combination. Initially greeted mockingly by American counterparts, Clark was quick to show his talent behind the wheel. After two years of suffering with mechanical unreliability while possessing a car capable of winning the prestigious Indy 500, Clark eventually triumphed in 1965. Check the 1963 advert out below.
Clark finished second in that year’s Indianapolis 500.