The Ex-Nick Mason,1967 McLaren-Chevrolet M1C Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. '40/12'

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Lot 231
The Ex-Nick Mason, 1967 McLaren-Chevrolet M1C Sports-Racing Two-Seater
Chassis no. '40/12'

£ 100,000 - 120,000
US$ 140,000 - 170,000
The Ex-Nick Mason
1967 McLaren-Chevrolet M1C Sports-Racing Two-Seater
Chassis no. '40/12'

Footnotes

  • During the mid-1960s two great racing drivers followed the lead of their friend and mentor – the great Sir Jack Brabham – by developing their own racing teams and manufacturing facilities to build cars of their own. One was Dan Gurney whose All-American and Anglo-American Racing teams produced Formula 1 and Indianapolis single-seaters, and the other was Bruce McLaren – whose ‘Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Team’ found its feet by creating new Tasman Formula and sports-racing cars.

    The latter were aimed squarely at the contemporary Group 7 unlimited-capacity class of 1964-65 which developed into the CanAm Challenge series machines of 1966-74. This multi-tubular spaceframe chassised McLaren-Chevrolet is an example of the second design to issue from the McLaren team’s drawing office in Colnbrook, adjacent to Heathrow, west of the British capital city, and its rounded body was originally styled by none other than celebrated motor racing and aviation artist Michael Turner.

    The McLaren sports-racing car line had been founded in 1964 by purchase of what had been Roger Penske’s highly modified Cooper-Climax ‘ZereX Special’ into which was installed a lightweight medium-capacity Oldsmobile V8 engine. An in-house replacement chassis was then developed, which emerged as the McLaren-Oldsmobile M1A design and for 1965 McLaren signed a manufacturing agreement with industrialist Peter Agg’s Trojan company which had just acquired Elva Cars Ltd. While the McLaren works team would develop original new models and campaign its own works cars, Trojan would put each design into series-production for customer sale under the McLaren-Elva name.

    This arrangement worked very well and the cars were successful although at top level initially underpowered compared with the latest 5.5 and 6-litre Chevrolet V8-engined Lola T70s. The new M1B model was launched in September 1965, and through 1966 the works M1Bs in brick-red livery excelled in British events and starred in a tremendous rivalry with the big Lolas. The M1B was put into production for customer sale by Trojan, and sold in the all-important American market as the ‘McLaren-Elva Mark 2’. For 1967, while the Gulf-sponsored McLaren works team developed brand-new new monocoque-chassised M6A cars with which Bruce himself and team-mate Denny Hulme took the CanAm Championship title, a further updated version of the M1B emerged for customer sale, promoted in the US as the ‘McLaren-Elva Mark 3’. Numerous Mark 2 and 3 tube-frame cars such as this then shone in private hands, not only in American CanAm and United States Road Racing Championship events, but also at home here in England and to a small extent in Europe.

    This particular car is offered here effectively direct from some 21 years’ preservation and display within the Rosso Bianco Collection in Germany. It is understood to have been an original American market car which was acquired by Ian Webb of Northdown Racing from prominent American dealers Chuck Haines and Tom Fredericks in around 1981-82. In common with so many sister cars it had fallen into disrepair and obsolescence, as any middle-aged racing car tends to do. It was effectively complete, though engineless, and was fitted with what was apparently an M6B-like nose body section. It is described as having been finished in what had become a matte ‘Boxcar red’ livery, which might indeed have been some kind of primer, or faded top coat paint. It had every appearance of being an entirely genuine old racing car, but one sans engine…and hope…

    At that juncture a good home beckoned, as leading competition car collector and racing driver, Nick Mason – the musician of Pink Floyd fame – became interested in this McLaren and bought it. The car was completely stripped, inspected, perfected and restored for him, fitted with a 5-litre ‘small-block’ Chevrolet V8 engine equipped with Kinzler fuel injection, a completely rebuilt and race-prepared Hewland LG500 transaxle gearbox, and it was returned to the race tracks.

    Ian Webb recalls the car being driven with particular verve by Nick Mason in one event on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, when the drummer “…went out there absolutely like a man on a mission!”. The car was finish prepared for Mr Mason by respected specialist restorer/preparer John Dabbs and this fact is recorded by a plaque still attached to the car today. It was used in the Dubai Historics event of 1984 and at Donington Park before being sold to its new German owner, in whose hands it has survived ever since.

    In common with the other cars offered in this Sale from that source, this McLaren-Chevrolet is – after its many years on static display - in need of careful mechanical inspection and preparation before any attempt is made to start or to drive it in earnest.

    It is in all respects a most attractive example of the ultimate ‘tube-framed’ McLaren family of CanAm cars and it has seen hardly any significant use since its performances in Nick Mason’s painstaking ownership in the early 1980s. This is a terrific opportunity for a would-be Historic CanAm owner/driver to find his way into this most exciting and fulfilling class of competition. Why not start at the top of the newcomers’ class?
The Ex-Nick Mason,1967 McLaren-Chevrolet M1C Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. '40/12'
The Ex-Nick Mason,1967 McLaren-Chevrolet M1C Sports-Racing Two-Seater  Chassis no. '40/12'
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