Before being a well-known supercar manufacturer of the 21th century, McLaren was born after a vision of a young man, a talented New-Zealander Formula 1 driver: Bruce McLaren.
The youngest F1 driver to win a race at age 22 in 1959, a record which stood until Fernando Alonso rocked up in 2003, but being so successful behind the wheel was not enough and Bruce McLaren established his own F1 racing team in 1963, and Can-Am team in 1964. What set Bruce McLaren apart, was his ability to switch from the shoes of an F1 driver, to engineer, manager and manufacturer – a quadruple threat!
The Can-Am series was becoming very popular when McLaren launched the M1 in 1966. The very powerful, brutal and spectacular machines were the key to the growing popularity of the championship. Lola and its T70 completely dominated the 1966 championship and performed also very well across the pond in UK, where the same sportscars were soon to be banned following the impressive lap records they broke, becoming faster than their contemporary – Formula One.
The M1 was a good car built around a tubular chassis, but it was no match for the T70. In 1967, McLaren launched the M6A, a new car built on an aluminum monocoque. McLaren wanted to beat Lola, and he did, leaving only 1 victory throughout the season for Lola. The M6A proved so successful that many privateers expressed their interest in buying one for the 1968 season. McLaren thus decided to produce a series of 26 McLaren M6B customer cars.
The M6B was often referred to as a “mini Can-Am” compared to the monsters that later raced in that championship, the 750 HP McLaren M8 or the 1000 HP+ dominating Porsche 917/30. The irony is that this beast with nearly 600HP from its small block Chevy and an extra low weight at around 750 Kg (1650 Lbs) was anything but that.