The last McLaren Group 7 / Can-Am design to utilise a spaceframe chassis rather than a monocoque one, the M1C debuted in 1967. Building on lessons learnt from the earlier M1 and M1B, the newcomer featured additional chassis bracing and improved aerodynamics including an adjustable rear wing. Fabricated from square- and round-section tubing and reinforced via sheet aluminium bulkheads bonded and riveted to it, the spaceframe was equipped with all-round independent double-wishbone suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. Capable of accommodating a variety of ‘small block’ V8 engines and transaxles (though, the proven Chevrolet / Hewland combination was the most popular choice), the M1C boasted an excellent power to weight ratio. The fibreglass bodywork incorporated numerous cooling ducts, while the main chassis tubes doubled-up as oil and coolant conduits. Despite being the best developed of the McLaren spaceframe Can-Am models, the M1C’s status as a ‘customer car’ ensured that its achievements were overshadowed by those of its predecessors. However, a limited period production run of 25 units means that demand has long outstripped supply.
Keen to prove the worth of the 3D-CAD hybrid modelling software, CAD/CAM production technologies, 3D-Tube laser cutting, 3D-machining and surface scanning techniques he had developed, Wolfgang Lange of LMP Engineering in Graefelfing, Bavaria decided to pay homage to the McLaren M1C by constructing an extremely accurate evocation. Loaned one of the original twenty-five cars for the project, he set about mimicking every aspect of its design using the (then) latest technologies. The result was the LMP Engineering Can Am M1C with the very first example – chassis 1206-001 – being the one offered here. The spaceframe chassis layout is the same (albeit with better / stronger welds on the German version) and bodywork is interchangeable. Indeed, the only major deviation we are aware of between a McLaren and LMP Engineering M1C concerns the brakes with the more modern machine using the largest discs that the hubs / wheels will permit.
Entering the current ownership in 2007, chassis 1206-001 immediately impressed with its build quality and authenticity. Reportedly ‘great fun to drive’, the M1C’s competitiveness took a palpable leap forward once Steve Hart of the renowned race preparation specialist stevehartracing.com was invited to share the helm. Between them the vendor and Hart achieved a string of impressive wins against Ford GT40 and Lola T70 opposition whilst racing in South Africa from 2016-2018 (the associated trophies and result sheets come with the car). Powered by a 350 cu in Chevrolet V8 engine allied to a Hewland DG300 MKII transaxle (complete with five forward gears and reverse), the Can Am car is understood to develop a relatively unstressed 450bhp or so. Not fired-up since its last major refresh by Steve Hart which cost £25,000 at heavily discounted ‘co-driver rates’, chassis 126-001 would benefit from fresh rubber and a precautionary spanner check before being run in anger. Intriguingly, the seller was told that the rear bodywork clip, wing and some of the internal ducting are genuine McLaren / Elva components.
LMP Engineering morphed into Carl Coelln – Rennwagen Manufaktur during 2019 and continues to offer McLaren M1C, M6 and M8 Evocations. One of its customers, Walter Hoffmann, piloted his M1C to victory in the Jim Clark Revival race at last May’s Hockenheim Historics and has also accumulated silverware in the HistoCup and YTCC series running at Dijon, Salzburgring and Le Mans etc. The seller has not explored the possibility of obtaining a FIA Historic Technical Passport for chassis 1206-001 due to its oversize brakes but conjectures it should be possible subject to some re-engineering / modification. He informs us that in its current configuration the car is eligible for the UK-based, Bernie's V8s race series. Offered for sale at a fraction of its build / development cost, this appealing M1C is accompanied by the aforementioned trophies, assorted paperwork and a small quantity of spares (gear ratios etc).