1969 McLaren M6B GT

1969 McLaren M6B GT 1969 McLaren M6B GT 1969 McLaren M6B GT Sold for $423,500 at 2006 Vintage Motor Cars in Arizona.
This is a 1969 McLaren M6B GT with serial number M6 GT 50-17. This car is one of six M6B/GT's built and the only one to have raced in period.

This chassis was the Trojan Prototype displayed at the London Auto Show in January 1969. Later it was sold to English racer David Prophet and bodied as a M6B GT Coupe and raced during the 1969 European season.

In 1970 Prophet sold the car to Bill Bradley Racing for the 1970 Interseries Series, which was the European equivalent to the CanAm series. It was rebodied as an M 12 Roadster and campaigned by Prophet in all of the Interseries races except Keimola where Leo Kinnunen drove it.

After the 1970 season Bradley racing offered the car for sale and was purchased, as a M6 GT Coupe street car, by Canadian Andre Fournier who used it to drive his children to school. Later Gilles St. Pierre of Quebec, Canada purchased the car for his collection where it remained until January 2006.

Since purchasing the car in January of 2006, current owner James Edward is returning the car to its original race condition for competition in select historic race events.

It was inspected by McLaren Trust Members at Road America's 40th Can Am reunion. It was confirmed that this M6B/GT was as originally built including the chassis, corners and body. They stated that it was one of two such vehicles left in existence.

The car just participated in the 40th CanAm reunion at Road America where a number of McLaren experts were amazed to see an original chassis in such pristine condition. Comments from former McLaren crew members, fabricators, and McLaren Trust Members from New Zealand included that this may be one of two or three original McLarens in existence.

They all loved seeing it in the true museum 'The Track' but hope it will remain an unmolested example of vintage McLaren.

New Zealander Bruce McLaren had many talents. He was the youngest ever Grand Prix winner, scored Ford with their first ever 24 Hours of LeMans victory in 1966, and a very successful racing car manufacturer. His McLaren M6 cars dominated the Group 7 CanAm series in 1967; his cars did well in other series, such as Formula 1 with Denny Hulme scoring the marques first victory in 1968.

As the end of the 1960s came into sight, Bruce worked aggressively towards realizing one of his personal dreams and goals of building the fastest mid-engine car in the world based on his very successful racing cars, specifically in the Can Am series. He intended to cloth an M6 monocoque in a coupe body and use it for contention in the Group 4 category of the World Sports Car Championship. He had wanted to contend the Group 6 prototype category, but new regulations in 1968 limiting displacement to just three liters had him focusing on the Group 4 category. This category required a homologation of fifty cars and limited displacement to five liters. This 5-liter limit was a worry for Bruce as his Chevrolet engines realized their true potential at a higher displacement level, plus the reality that European fuels had lower octane. Even with this potentially problematic concerns, Bruce continued with development of his Group 4 racer. The homologation requirements were satisfied by Bruce partnering with the British Trojan Company to build the production Group 7 Can-Am cars.

The M6 chassis was used for the new Group 4 car. This helped keep costs to a minimum and allowed development to progress at a quicker rate. The M6 chassis was a proven and sophisticated design and a excellent platform to base the new car upon. The design of the car took a mere eleven weeks and was given an engine bay adequate to house an American V8 engine. This was McLarens first car with a full-length monocoque. Its design was kept as simple as possible in order to aid in the mass-production effort. The racing versions of the cars were known as the M6B.

The first M6BGT was ready by January of 1969. It is believed that all fifty necessary fiberglass bodies were created during the same time, each with a coupe body design that was rather simplistic in traditional McLaren fashion. As the remaining cars were preparing for production, homologation requirements were dropped from fifty, down to twenty-five. This attracted other marques such as Porsche, whose 917 was more competitive than McLarens. Bruce's plan to run the car at LeMans later that year were quickly scrapped. The prototype car was sold to customer, David Prophet; a second car was later created by Trojan and used as a show car. Prophet's car was used in several European races during the 1969 season. It was rebodied in 1970 and used for the European equivalent of the Can-Am series, the Interseries. The body was very similar to the McLaren M12 design.

Prophet's car had little success during the 1970 Interseries season. At the conclusion of the season, it was re-bodied as a coupe and later sold to a Canadian individual in 1971. The car was later converted for road-going use and used as a daily driver for many years. Ownership later passed to the Gilles St. Pierre collection where it remained for many years. It was sold to its current owner in 2006.

Bruce McLaren had a third car created for his own personal use. After his tragic death at the Goodwood track in 1970, the car was purchased by his teammate Denny Hulme and had it shipped back to New Zealand where it was put on display at the Auckland Museum of Transportation. The car, now registering just 1900 miles, is part of the US-based Matthews collection.

Many years after Bruce McLaren had passed away, his dream of building a road-going car and LeMans contender was finally realized. Ron Dennis and Gordon Murray created the McLaren F1 which was a highly successful road-going car and a winner at the 24 Hours of LeMans.

The three original M6GT cars still exist in modern times. Several replica's, an estimated five, have been created from the remaining M6B and M12 chassis and M6GT bodies.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2008

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