12 April 2006
Bob Roemer tells the story of the IMSA T616-Polimotor, the racing car with the plastic engine!
T616 HU04
(Picture courtesy of Bob Roemer)

Polimotor Research, Inc., of Fairlawn, New Jersey USA, purchased T616 HU04 from Carl A. Haas Automobile Imports in the spring of 1984. The car competed in the International Motor Sports Association's (IMSA) Camel GT Championship in the Camel Lights (Group C2) category in 1984 and 1985.

The Polimotor Lola debuted in July 1984 at Watkins Glen; sponsored by Amoco Chemical Company of Chicago to showcase the firm's Torlon thermoplastic resins used extensively in the Lola's 2.3-liter, 320-horsepower engine.

The Polimotor Lola climbs the hill out of Corner 5 at the 1984 Road America 500.
(Picture courtesy of Bob Roemer)
Extensive use of thermoplastic polymers trimmed nearly 150lbs. from a conventional Cosworth BDA engine. The Polimotor powerplant developed 320 bhp at 9500 rpm.
(Picture courtesy of Bob Roemer)

Designed and developed by Polimotor founder and president Matty Holzberg, the engine, based on a Cosworth BDA, tipped the scales at 168 lbs - half the weight of its metal counterpart. Plastic parts included the engine block, cam cover, air intake trumpets, intake valve stems, piston skirts and wrist pins, connecting rods, oil scraper piston rings, tappets, valve spring retainers and timing gears.

Drivers over the two seasons included Michael Argetsinger, Peter Argetsinger, Tim Coconis, Herm Johnson and Peter Kuhn. The car's best finish was a third in class at the 1985 Road America 500.

In October 1984, Amoco took the Lola on a well-publicized demonstration tour of The Big Three's Detroit research and development centers.

After its retirement from competition, Amoco used T616 HU04 in university recruiting programs through 1996. When last we checked, it was part of an automobile collection in northern Wisconsin, albeit without its plastic engine.
T616 HU04 on display at the 1986 Chicago Auto Show.
(Picture courtesy of Bob Roemer)
The Polimotor installation in the T616.
(Picture courtesy of Bob Roemer)
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