1968 McLaren M6B news, pictures, specifications, and information
This vehicle is a 1968 McLaren-Chevrolet M6 CanAm Sports-Racing Spider with chassis number 50.30. Its livery is similar to the Penske Racing Team that contested the CanAm Championship series of Group 7 sports car races during the 1968 season. Mark Donohue drove the Penske McLaren during that season and was the leading American driver behind Dan Gurney.
McLaren had done extremely well during the 1967 CanAm season with their M6A Works Team cars. They had secured a championship victory with their three cars. For 1968, McLaren put this design into production as a customer car and dubbed them the M6B.
The McLaren Oldsmobile V8 engines had been lightweight and lacking in power, in comparison to other team cars. A change was made to Chevrolet engines that offered large displacement sizes. The chassis of the M6A was brought to life in just eleven weeks. The design had been made by Robin Herd. Bruce McLaren and teammate Denny Hulme fine-tuned the design through rigorous testing session. The chassis was aluminum monocoque which was both lightweight and strong. During the 1967, McLaren and Hulme dominated. McLaren earned 30 points and Hulme was close behind with 27. The McLarens and their Gulf-sponsored cars had won five of the six qualifying races and easily outclassed the competition.
This example was campaigned in European SuperSports Championship events during the 1990s by Wolfgang Momberger. With this racing heritage, it should be eligible for FIA Historic racing. It is a tribute tot he Penske Racing cars and to Mark Donohue. It was offered for sale at the 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields auction held at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California where it was estimated to sell between $240,000 - $280,000. At the conclusion of the auction, the car had been left unsold.By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007
In 1968, Ford Motor Company decided to enter the Canadian-American Sport Car racing series called the Can-Am. They specifically built a few all aluminum 427 cubic-inch motors to be installed in a McLaren M6-8 which Shelby purchased from Trojan Motor Cars, who built all the Can-Am McLarens. This car, chassis number 50-12 was one of two cars Shelby campaigned and was driven by the late Peter Revson. At the end of the 1968 Can-Am season, many teams were invited to race in the Mt. Fuji 200 World Challenge held on November 23, 1968 at Mt. Fuji, Japan. This car won the race with Revson driving.
In 2000, the car was purchased by Joseph DiLoreto who, along with the expert craftsmanship of Bob Habermehl finally restored the McLaren with the proper all-aluminum Ford 427 engine. As far as we know, this is the only big block Ford Can-Am car actually campaigned in vintage racing. The car took over two years to restore to its original condition.
CanAm Sports-Racing Spider
Denis Hulme signed the driver's door in 1992, just three months before his death.
At Road Atlanta in 1970, driver Tom Dutton was hit from behind by another McLaren M6, bringing this car's involvement in Can-Am to an end.
Jo Bonnier first ran this McLaren on 8-11-68 in the GP at Kononioppet near Kariskaga, Sweden. Bonnier had the pole position , set fastest race lap and finished 2nd to David Piper in a Ferrari P4 after a first lap incident. Bonnier gave jazz singer Eartha Kitt a ride around the circuit after the race. This was Bonnier's best finish in this M6B. The M6B was then shipped to the USA for Bonnier to run in the 1958 Can-Am series.
Mickey Thompson side draft manifold adapted to Fuel injection.
The 1966-1974 Can-Am Series is fondly remembered as the last professional series to allow virtually unlimited motor racing. In their day, the cars of the Can-Am were quicker than their Formula One Grand Prix counterparts. The 1968 McLaren M6B was the production (customer) version of the McLaren Motor Racing Team's 1967 Can-Am Championship winning M6A. It was built by Trojan and was offered as a complete rolling chassis waiting only for an engine to be fitted. It was in tremendous demand and a total of twenty-eight were built, McLaren M6B's raced in the Can-Am Series as well as in the European Interserie Series. This McLaren M6B has Interserie history and carries chassis number 21 (50-21) and is presented with the ubiquitous six-liter small block Chevrolet engine with Lucas mechanical fuel injection yielding 600 horsepower.
CanAm Sports-Racing Spider
This McLaren M6B was purchased new from McLaren by Oscar Kovaleski. He raced the car in the 1969 CanAm series and Giants Despair Hill Climb. Cliff Apel raced the car in the 1970 Can Am series. The car raced the Auto World livery. In the 1980s David Franklin raced it in Europe and won the 1987 European Super Sports Trophy.
Currently the car is driven by Jim Pace in the Modern Can Am Series.
Chassis number 50-06, built in 1968, was sold new to AutoDelta, the racing division of Alfa Romeo, for their T-33 Race Project. After Alfa was done, 50-06 was placed in an Italian barn until found by Charlie Gibson. Charlie brought it to the United States with intentions of using the McLaren on the street. While doing the street project vintage racing started to get going and Charlie directed his efforts to racing the car and did so until his untimely death in 2004. Dave Handy, co-owner of Sasco Motorsports acquired the car and raced it until bought by the current owners in 2011.
Designed by Robin Herd and Gordon Coppuck and build by McLaren, the McLaren M7A and its B, C and D variants are Formula One racing vehicles.
The M6B weighed in around 1,700 lbs and had in the neighborhood of 600hp. An aluminum monocoque, the M6B was quite different from modern racecars, basically as sheet aluminum origami secured with rivets. Secured with removable pins, the only ‘safety cage' to mention is a not very confidence inspiring main hoop, braced only with a stringer from the center top of the hood back to the head of the engine.
An excellent design, the M6B was the first monocoque chassis McLaren. Strong, simple and an aerodynamically efficient package, the factory attempted to sell a number of replicas to eager customers hoping to duplicate its success. This of course never happened as the customers were always based on last year's model, while the factory team raced the latest and newest improved hardware.
Can-Am vehicles clearly occupy the ground where adrenaline and testosterone are at the maximum. At the same time these vehicles are both absolutely terrifying yet wildly exciting.
In 1966 the basic concept of Can-Am's debut was 'professional, minimum rules, closed wheel sports cars, who can go fastest'. A quantum leap in tire technology soon made it a contest of getting the most horsepower to the ground and horsepower quickly became the mantra of the series.
McLaren's M6B was designed to take the GM small-block V8 and mate it to a Hewland LG five-speed transaxle.
Only 28 models of the M6B were ever produced in 1968. They were sold for approximately $14,000.By Jessica Donaldson
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