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The first McLaren road car goes to auction


February 12, 2006

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February 13, 2006 It was sadly many years after the death of New Zealand racing driver and automotive engineer Bruce McLaren that his dream of creating the world’s fastest road car became a reality with the McLaren F1 road car. McLaren’s legacy in all forms of racing, from winning Le Mans in the famous GT40, to creating one of the most successful Formula One teams in history, puts him among automotive history’s immortals. And now one of his most significant creations is to go under the hammer: the stillborn M6-GT, of which only two examples were ever completed by the factory. The official Bruce McLaren Trust web site chronicles the history of the car which was modeled after the McLaren M6 CanAm monocoque sports racer. The head of the McLaren design department during the development of the M6-GT was aerospace engineer Robin Herd who recalls the M6 McLaren tests and certifies it as one of the earliest examples of a ground-effects car, with the nose shaped to create negative pressure under the car. From an article on the McLaren Interntaional site, “On the day of the big test … we went all high-tech with a half-inch rubber tube taped to the bottom of the car leading to a pressure gauge which I was holding. I had crammed myself into the passenger seat and Bruce was barrelling into the first corner at Goodwood … when the gauge suddenly registered negative pressure. I had rather hoped that Bruce would be concentrating on staying on the road, but he spotted the change on the gauge and started whooping and shouting and laughing and banging my arm. We’d cracked it!”

Perfect down to the smallest detail, this stunning car is expected to go for between £50,000 and £60,000 when it is auctioned by H&H; on February 21.

If the McLaren doesn’t appeal, there’s an array of delectable machinery to go on the block on the same day, including:

Ford GT40

Ford GT40 Chassis No.1089 was one of the original sanction of 100 cars released to JW Automotive and was one of the three that remained unassembled until the 90s. In recent times it has been displayed at the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust museum at Gaydon. The car shares the same technical specification as the definitive 1968 and 1969 Le Mans winners – chassis 1075 and 1076. This highly desirable machine carries an estimate of £280,000-320,000.

Works Le Mans AC Cobra

A range of scintillating competition cars are on offer, topped by the Works Le Mans AC Cobra of 1963, known throughout the world by its registration number, 39 PH. Highly original and very sought after, it carries an estimate of £700,000-800,000.

Genuine Formula One cars

There are no less than three Grand Prix cars up for grabs: a fully-restored ex Jean-Pierre Beltoise 1971 Matra MS 120B, complete with new period engine (£270,000-320,000); an ex-Nigel Mansell 1981 Lotus 87B along with a host of spares and body moulds (£250,000-275,000) and the only 1968 Brabham BT31 – ex-Jack Brabham (£90,000-110,000).

Jaguar SS100

One of the stand-out road car entries in the auction is a Jaguar SS100 2.5 litre that has completed a mere 1000 miles since a full restoration. Silver with black trim, it presents an increasingly rare opportunity to acquire one of these iconic British sports cars (£90,000-110,000).

Gizmag is always keen to hear about upcoming auctions of exotic machinery.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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