De Cadenet-Lola LM-4

70 years of purchasing and selling the world’s greatest cars

De Cadenet-Lola LM-4

The last de Cadenet built, LM-4 is the final and fastest weapon produced by the Le Mans-obsessed London-based sports prototype team. Using all the good ideas from the previous year’s car, which included suspension by Len Bailey, and benefitting from extensive wind tunnel work, LM-4 was built around a new tub with longer wheelbase and further aerodynamic mods for high-speed stability. This tough but very fast car would go onto compete at Le Mans in 1978, ’79, ’80 and ’81, win races in the World Championship and even cross the pond for a Can-Am campaign.

LM-4 really is the ultimate British Le Mans challenger, mixing the great British designers of the day – Gordon Murray, Gordon Coppuck, Derek Gardner and Len Bailey – all bought together by charismatic team leader in Alain de Cadenet. This combination, plus input from Lola and power from Cosworth, was the perfect recipe for LM-4’s giant-killing antics. As well as a brilliant chassis, LM-4 was blisteringly fast in a straight line, achieving an incredible 365km/h (226.8mph) on the Mulsanne straight.

Having run in Can-Am and at Le Mans in 1978, a Silverstone 6hr class win and Le Mans again in 1979, LM-4’s finest hour certainly came in 1980. Starting the year with a class win (2nd overall) at the Brands Hatch 6hr, LM-4 would go onto win the Monza 1000km and Silverstone 6hr in quick succession, with Alain de Cadenet and Desire Wilson driving. This would mark the first time a woman had ever won an FIA World Championship race. Expectations were therefore high for Le Mans, now with Francois Migault added to the driver roster. After setting encouraging times in first qualifying, Wilson was however caught out on a damp patch, hitting the barriers, and landing upside down, the driver trapped inside, soaked in fuel. Amazingly, the team would fix the car for the race, but the organisers wouldn’t allow Desire to race – her decent time having been ‘lost’. The repaired car would go onto finish a respectable seventh in the 24hr, but at least there was another great tale to add to the car’s already wonderful history!

Remaining almost untouched following its 1981 campaign, where it returned to Le Mans for one final effort, LM-4 is a remarkably original car. Having competed at Le Mans Classic once and entered selected CER rounds with its current owner, it has recently benefitted from a nut and bolt restoration – the process of which we have photographed in detail. A highly competitive car for CER, and a potential winner at Le Mans Classic, this offers a unique opportunity to acquire one of the great Le Mans cars of the era.

  • 4-time Le Mans runner
  • Raced in Can-Am
  • Winner 1980 Monza 1000km
  • Winner 1980 Silverstone 6hr
  • Highly competitive in CER 2
  • Eligible for Le Mans Classic
  • Highly original
  • Freshly restored