54 TIME MACHINES
LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE
1970 PJ COLT-FORD/
JOHNNY LIGHTNING SPECIAL
Inspired by an existing Lola design, the
George Bignotti-built, Vel’s Parnelli
Jones-run PJ Colt-Ford was the class of
the field at the 1970 Indianapolis 500. Al
Unser put it on the pole with an average
speed of 170.221mph, then romped into
the distance in the race itself, leading 190
of 200 laps and winning by 32.19sec.
One year later, an updated version of the
electric blue racer would repeat the feat –
although Unser wouldn’t enjoy quite the
same superiority, qualifying fifth, leading
“only” 103 laps and winning by 22.48sec.
Vel’s Parnelli Jones was the team to beat
in the early 1970s, winning the 1970
(ABOVE) and ’71 Indy 500s and three
National Championships (’70, ’71 and ’72).
(NOT) KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES
BY THE WAY...
• The 1970 race was the first “all-turbo”
Indy 500, with every one of the 33
starters running forced induction.
• Before he was a winning Indy 500
team owner, Parnelli Jones was a
winning driver, dominating the 1963
race in J.C. Agajanian’s Watson-Offy.
“I STILL THINK IT’S CRAZY WHAT INDYCAR DRIVERS
DO. THEY’RE STILL THE BIGGEST DAREDEVILS ON THE
PLANET WHEN IT COMES TO RACING”
(MAIN) Is the 1970
PJ Colt-Ford the
coolest looking car in
Sponsored by Johnny
Lightning die cast
model cars, its
performance was as
stunning as its looks.