Car of the Month — 1967 McLaren-Elva M1C

The red M1C is owned by Denver McLaren afficianado Harry Mathews. It was the first car in his McLaren collection which at one time numbered 18 cars, and was originally owned and run by Jerry Hansen of Minneapolis. He entered it in the 1967 Can-Am series and it made its debut in the first race of the season at Road America in Wisconsin. That race also marked the first outing for Team McLaren’s two new M6A car. This would be the first episode of what became known as the “Bruce and Denny Show”, where either Bruce McLaren or Denny Hulme  would win every race of the championship. A field of 32 cars started the race at Road America, no fewer than 17 of them various different models of McLaren; M1C drivers that year included Skip Scott, Peter Revson, Chuck Parsons and Bob Bondurant.

For 1968 it was a case of more of the same for McLaren and the M1C, Canadian store magnate George Eaton in a car which was certainly becoming outdated, drove to an impressive third place at Laguna Seca, helped in no small part by torrential downpours, to give the M1C its highest placing in a Can-Am championship race. Incredibly, the M1C was still going strong in 1969, and a trio of customer cars raced confidently and competitively throughout the season. The spaceframe chassis era might finally have ended, superceeded by the aluminium monocoque, but at McLaren it certainly enjoyed a long run.