Two epic McLaren race cars to be sold this weekend
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A pair of beautiful McLaren race cars – a ’66 M1B Can-AM and ’76 McLaren M24B Indianapolis – will go under the hammer this weekend in the U.S. at RM Southbey’s Montery, California auction.
Both cars are in pristine, period-correct condition and represent two different eras of Bruce McLaren's legacy.
1966 McLaren M1B – expected to fetch between $309,000 - $377,000
The earliest model is a 1966 McLaren M1B Can-Am racer. The M1B is a development version of the M1A, the first McLaren-built sports car that debuted in 1964.
The M1A was a crucial car for the McLaren brand. With Bruce McLaren behind the wheel, the car was proven to be competitive and it attracted the company’s first customers.
By the time the M1B was launched for the first Can-Am series in 1966, McLaren had established itself in the paddock and the new model was attracting a steady flow of buyers. By the time production ended, 28 M1B’s were built for the American Can-AM series.
The M1B was designed and hand-built by Robin Herd and Bruce McLaren. Significantly, the M1B redesign featured a new chassis that was 20 per cent stiffer than the M1A, without any increase in weight.
This M1B up for auction this weekend has been subject to a ground-up restoration that began back in 2008. The current owner located Bill Moir - who prepared McLaren Can-AM cars when they were originally imported - who determined enough of the car was usable to justify the lengthy rebuild.
It took four years to rebuild the chassis before being sent to an award winning restoration expert for the final assembly.
The motor has been stroked from its original 5.4-litre capacity to 5.7-litres, but is fitted with period-correct Weber carburetors and Edelbrock heads. Output of well over 375kW is delivered through a three-dick clutch. The brakes have also received a modern update to comply with safety standards.
1979 McLaren M24B Indianapolis – expected to fetch between $412,000 - $550,000
In May, McLaren and Fernando Alonso made international headlines by announcing the Kiwi nameplate would return to the brickyard for the first time in 38 years.
This McLaren M24B up for auction - chassis #1 - was the backup car for three-time Indy winner Johnny Rutherford during the 1979 Indianapolis campaign – before this year, the last McLaren to race in the famous 500 mile race.
Both chassis's #1 and #2 were driven by Rutherford in the 1979 CART championship where the American driver finished fourth in the season standings.
After the end of the season, chassis #1 was resprayed in McLaren orange and used as a promotional car unit 1981 when it was sold to a private buyer. Approximately 20 years later Steve Roby, Rutherford's Indy crew chief, stumbled upon the car in the owners collection.
After the discovery Rutherford would purchased his former Indy car off its only buyer and had the car repainted in its original livery by fellow Indy driver, A.J. Foyt.
The McLaren remained in Rutherford’s private collection until recently, when it was acquired by a private collector in Texas.
Chassis #2 was retained by McLaren and still resides in the company’s collection, so this M24B is the only other existing example of the last period Works McLaren to compete at the Indianapolis 500.
Both cars will be sold over the 18-19 August in California, coinciding with the Pebble Beach Concourse d'Elegance.
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