Reasonably big names, race wins on two continents, and what looked to be an excellent restoration
One of the most formidable F5000 cars of its era, the McLaren M10 raced successfully in Europe, America and Australasia.
This McLaren M10B Repco is a milestone car in Australian motor racing. Driven to victory at Sydney's Warwick Farm by Frank Matich in November 1970, it became the first Formula 5000 racing car to win an Australian Grand Prix and secured Matich's place as the most dynamic and talented of local racing drivers. After the car was updated as the SVS10C Repco, Matich also competed successfully overseas, winning the opening round of the 1971 Continental L&M Championship at California's Riverside Raceway. In 1972, Matich sold the car to build his own Matich-Repco F5000 car (which was based largely on the car featured here). The buyer was none other than Frank Radisich, father of New Zealand V8 Supercar driver Paul Radisich.
Since 1995, this McLaren has been owned and raced successfully in historic events by Melbourne enthusiast Max Warwick. In recent years it has been the subject of a total rebuild. The McLaren is fitted with a 5-liter Repco Holden V8 with a five-speed manual transmission. Sold with logbook and CAMS Certificate of Description.
|1968 McLaren M10B Formula 5000
|Original List Price:
|7,055 British pounds in 1968
|Tune Up Cost:
|The Bruce McLaren Trust, PO Box 109 050, New Market, Auckland, New Zealand
|Lola T142, Matich Repco-Holden
This car sold for $75,600, including buyer’s premium, at the Shannons Melbourne Grand Prix Auction, held March 10, 2003.
The McLaren M10A Formula 5000 was one of the first of the monocoque Formula 5000s to hit the market in 1968. It spelled the end of competitiveness for the Lola 140 and 142 and other tube-frame F5000 cars until it was itself displaced by the Lola 330 and 332 in the early 1970s. In 1968 the M10A was available new with a Bartz Chevy for $10,000.
The M10B described here had subtle chassis modifications when Matich raced in it. He had two wins in a McLaren M10 in 1970 and one in 1971 in the Tasman series (he raced in both an M10A and an M10B). Following on the heels of the A, the M10B was one of the last of the classic “cigar shaped” designs. It remains one of the most popular, and thus most expensive, of any of the F5000s.
These cars offer an awe-inspiring automotive experience: They have roughly 500 horsepower and weigh just 1,400 pounds.
The auction description of the car is impressive, to say the least: Reasonably big names, race wins on two continents, and what looked to be an excellent restoration. Strange then that there was no chassis number given (it was subsequently found in a racing-history book-ED.), since cars with such a known history usually have a well-established chassis number. Nailing down the serial number and determining that there is only one car out there with that number can be an issue with McLarens, though usually less of a problem with F5000 cars than CanAm models.
The biggest problem area with these cars is the monocoque itself, which is expensive to repair or remake. Fabricating a new monocoque can run into the $25,000 range. The gearbox can also be expensive to fix. For the US market, a Holden motor may not be as attractive as a good Chevy, but in general this car looked the business.
Formula 5000 cars have always suffered marketwise compared to CanAm cars, which ran with many of the same drivers during the same years. In today’s era of cookie-cutter race cars, there’s no denying the allure of the mythological “unlimited” formula of CanAm. CanAm bodywork, which allows for strapping in a passenger to terrify on hot laps, makes the cars more appealing for vintage racing. There are also fewer venues in which F5000 cars can be raced. The prices of early tube-frame cars in good shape run around $45,000 to $50,000, and the more competitive F5000 Lola 332s with good history run up to about $75,000.
The auction estimate of $126,000 to $156,000 seemed optimistic for this car, and the actual sales price was more in line with the value of the car. One thing to consider, when buying racing cars at an auction, is that unlike with private parties, rarely do the necessary spares come with the car. Still, at $75,000 this is a McLaren on the cheap. Spares and consumables can be purchased elsewhere without going completely underwater. For not a lot of money, the new owner got an interesting piece of automotive racing history that will provide an E-ticket ride wherever it is driven.-Bruce Trenery, Fantasy Junction (www.fantasyjunction.com)
(Historic and descriptive information courtesy of Shannons. Thanks to Tony Nicholson at Robin Automotive for additional information.)