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The orange steam roller

by Peter Radcliffe 

Bruce McLaren and his little team completely dominated the Can Am challenge after the first 1966 season until the might of Porsche took over in 1972. In 67,68,69,70 and 71 it would be the same story, a McLaren driver would take the title and only in 1970 was it not a one two for the team. In 1970 Bruce was killed testing the M8D at Goodwood and Gurney and then Gethin shared the second car. Their combined points would have comfortably denied probably the most consistent privateer Lothar Motschenbacher his well deserved second. Even 1966 was not a bad year as Bruce was 3rd and teammate Amon 6th in the final points. 

The Can Am series was other than Indianapolis the richest series in the world at the time and Bruce quickly realised that good result would fund the rest of his team's competition. From the M6 onwards the cars were thoroughly tested and ready to go from the start of the season. Others at times may have been potentially faster or more technologically advanced but until Penske and the Porsche none were ready and by the time they were Team McLaren had wrapped up the Championship. With the relative failure of the M20 only second in 1972 the writing was on the wall for both McLaren and the Can Am championship. In 1973 Penske and the 917/30 would dominate and then in the final year they would withdraw and a well-prepared Shadow would dominate. McLaren would have the last word however as Scooter Patrick won the last race in a McLaren M20.


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The models

Over the years Marsh M/odels have produced all the Works McLarens, in my collection the M8D and M6A were all white metal kits. M8F M20 and them M8A and M8B were produced in resin with the now familiar folded steel photo-etch chassis. The M8d was upgraded and recently the M6A after much demand was produced in a new upgraded version (See revue Marsh Models McLaren M6A). With a new version of the M20 due soon at long last new collectors will be able to complete the set. 


With the arrival of the M6A I had a can of correct orange mixed and started my unbuilt M8A, M8b and M8D, (a few amongst the many unbuilt kits I have, (may be I am a kit collector not a model maker?) the kits were prepared and painted but got no further until last weekend when I decided I must clear some of my part built kits. The first pictures illustrate the build up of the chassis and the remaining pictures show the simple rear end with fine turned trumpets and the completed models. Now I have some space for a few more to get started and who knows finished as well one day!


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