1967 McLaren M1C-ChevroletSOLD

COYS Nürburgring Auction - Saturday 11th August 2007

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Estimate: €165,000-187,500

Sold: €47,140

In 1964 Bruce McLaren was both Cooper's number one Grand Prix pilot and development driver for Ford's fledgling GT programme. The latter concentrated on large capacity sports racing cars, already popular in America and about to take off in Britain; McLaren's interest was thus fired and he duly campaigned the American Zerex, first with a 2.7 litre Coventry-Climax V8 - with which he won the Aintree 200 from Jim Clark's Lotus 30 in only its second race - and then with new centre chassis and a 3.9 litre Oldsmobile V8, winning both at Mosport and in the Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch that August.

Inspired by such success, plans for an all-new Oldsmobile-powered sportscar were laid down. By September the McLaren-Oldsmobile Mk 1 was ready, its Tony Hilder-designed alloy coachwork crafted by Peels of Kingston, while beneath the tubular spaceframe chassis was stiffened with alloy stress panels. Front suspension comprised unequal length wishbones, the rear reversed wishbones and top links with parallel radius arms, together with all-round Girling disc brakes. Mated to a Hewland transaxle, its V8 producing 310bhp, the M1 on its race debut at Mosport finished in third place - having led until throttle linkage failure and set a new lap record. The potential was clearly there although niggling mechanical failures interrupted the car's race successes.

It was a chance meeting with Frank Nichols, whose ailing Elva Cars concern had been taken over by Peter Agg's Lambretta-Trojan Group, that led to customer Mk1s being built by Elva, the first being displayed at the 1965 London Racing Car Show; engines could now be either a 4.5 litre Oldsmobile V8 - the works cars were to use 5.0 litre units - or Ford's 4.7 litre V8. In the interim the retrospectively-named M1A was up-rated to M1B specification for the 1966 season, including a Nichols-revised spaceframe chassis, and curvaceous new bodywork penned by motor racing artist Michael Turner.

The M1B, sold in America as the McLaren-Elva Mk 2, non-started its first race at St. Jovite-Mount Tremblant - the first in the inaugural CanAm Challenge Cup - due to a broken crankshaft in its now 5.4 litre Chevrolet V8, but at Mosport's Canadian GP McLaren took pole and just beat Jim Hall's Chaparral in the first heat, the positions being reversed in the second. Subsequently, in the Los Angeles Times GP at Riverside, McLaren enjoyed a huge lead until a puncture dropped him to third place; then at the Grosvenors Trophy at Nassau he took a handsome win. For the 1967 season the M1 was superceded by the all-new M6 but many privateers opted for the M1C, an improved variant of the M1B. The first of a long line of sports/CanAm race cars, the M1 series was to form the basis of McLaren's very considerable future success.

Delivered new to Carl Haas in the USA in 1967, this M1C raced in the CanAm Challenge before going to the Harrahs Museum in 1971, from where it was sold at auction in 1985 and returned to Britain. The following year chassis 40/11 passed to Stig Johnson who campaigned it in the Steigenberg Supersports Cup with a 600bhp, 6.7 litre Chevrolet V8 and new AP brakes, his results including one race win. A complete restoration ensued in 1989, after which it again netted one Supersports race victory. Two years later it was purchased by Wido Rossler in Germany and once more underwent complete restoration, this time by Derichs Rennwagen, the work including fitment of a brand new 5.0 litre Chevrolet V8 producing 640bhp. 1992 saw the McLaren return to the Supersports series, winning both Class B and finishing second overall.

Subsequently, it resided in a private museum in Germany before being acquired by the current owner for his own museum in Sweden some 10 years ago. Since then it has gradually, once more, been restored and, although it has been driven, it has not yet been raced again. Finished in dark green and yellow, this desirable and very competitive CanAm machine is thus offered in truly excellent condition and is described as being 'on the button ' and ready to race. It comes with FIA papers and spare, original wheels.

Reference Number 11812

as of 7/28/2007

Car 1967 McLaren M1C-Chevrolet
VIN 40/11