1969 Mclaren M12 Can-Am M6GT

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1969 McLaren M12 Can-Am M6GT

The McLaren M12 was an open-cockpit racing car developed by Bruce McLaren Motor Racing in 1969, solely for the purpose of selling to customers in the Can-Am series. The M12 combined elements from two of McLaren's previous efforts, the M6 series and the M8 series.

Chaparral Cars purchased this M12 in the early 1969 Can-Am season while their own model's development had been delayed. The car was subsequently raced by John Surtees until their own car was ready later in the season.

Bruce McLaren’s vision for the M6GT is the genesis for all McLaren road cars. Based on the latest race technology, the M6GT was superlight, blisteringly quick, confidence inspiring and safe.

Always more than a driver, Bruce McLaren was keen to test his skills as an innovator, designer and entrepreneur. His intention was to build the highest specification, fastest and quickest accelerating road car in the world. Performance and handling would be vital, but safety was also an essential feature of Bruce’s design. The car – a prototype M6GT registered OBH 500H – was light, low, loud and unbelievably quick, and Bruce used it on his commute to work and to attend race meetings. Its Bartz-tuned Chevrolet engine ensured sparkling performance – with an estimated top speed of 165mph and a zero to 100mph time of eight seconds. The prototype also had some quirky features, like manually operated lights that were raised and lowered using finger holes in the leading edge of the pods. Bruce wanted to turn the prototype into a production vehicle for customers; he turned to Peter Agg of Trojan (Elva Cars Ltd parent company) who had been building customer race cars for McLaren, and struck a deal. Sadly, the project to build 250 production cars died with Bruce, and OBH 500H stands as a testament to his vision. Twenty-five years later, Bruce’s supercar dream was brought to life by Gordon Murray in the awe-inspiring McLaren F1.

Trojan did however build a very small number of M6 GT bodies including one purchased by Paul Canary in order to complete his dream of running the McLaren Can-Am car at LeMans 24hr. Paul managed a qualifying lap before putting the M12 into a gravel trap and damaging the only body work he had for the car, rendering it unable to start the race the following day.

The car has passed through another pair of hands until it's current owner acquired the car in 2016. It is currently configured with a small block Chevrolet engine producing approximately 800bhp and weighs in at a mere 720kg.

An amazing part of Motoring history, this vehicle is not offered for sale, but can be seen participating in historic motorsport events and car shows.