1968 McLaren M6B Can-Am Race Car

If you can hustle one of these babies around the track, nobody will ever question your manhood

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The Can-Am Series for unlimited sports cars began in 1966, and a year later Bruce McLaren won his first championship, driving a car bearing his own name. Teammate Denny Hulme was second, and for the next four years, the factory McLaren cars dominated, with either McLaren or Hulme taking the championship in each. Lola, Chaparral, Shadow, and even Ferrari made valiant challenges to McLaren’s supremacy, but to no avail.
The M6B was an excellent design, the first monocoque chassis McLaren. It was strong, simple and an aerodynamically efficient package. The factory sold a number of replicas to eager privateers hoping to duplicate its success. Of course, this never quite happened, as the customer cars were always based on last year’s model, while the factory team raced the latest new and improved hardware.
This 1968 McLaren M6B is said to have originally belonged to privateer racer Dick Brown of Detroit, who drove it in the 1968 and 1969 Can-Am seasons. It was then purchased by Gordon Barrett, also of Detroit, who totally rebuilt the car and campaigned it for the next two years with Tom Dutton as the driver. For 1971, the Barrett team fitted a 427-ci big block motor-amazingly this is the same engine still found in the car.
The M6B then passed through two more owners before being purchased by its current owner in 1987. The M6B Can-Am Race Car is now in perfect condition, the result of a three-year restoration instigated in 1999. It appears exactly as it did in 1971, even down to the correct race number 79 and forest green with yellow livery.
An acquisition of this perfect “new” McLaren M6B has a time-warp aspect to it, almost as if one had ordered it new in 1968. It can now begin a second career in historic racing, be used to gather concours trophies, or join a museum collection as an example of the best marque in America’s most memorable racing championship.

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

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