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  McLaren M8D Chevrolet

  Article Image gallery (36) M8D/1 Specifications User Comments (4)  
Click here to open the McLaren M8D Chevrolet gallery   
Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:1970
Numbers built:4
Designed by:Jo Marquart for McLaren
Successor:McLaren M8F Chevrolet
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:July 10, 2017
Download: All images

Add your comments on the McLaren M8D Chevrolet

 My grandfather built these Chevy racing motors  
My Grandfather Bernard Roy was a racing engine developer at the General Motors Tech Center in Warren Michigan from the mid-60's through the early 70's. As a kid he would talk often about working on the motor for the M8D that Bruce McLaren died testing. Especially getting the engine back as a molten ball of aluminum.

He is in his mid 80's now and in poor health. I plan to film him telling stories about the work they put into engines for Can-Am, Group 7 and Nascar/Grand National soon, and will recap what I can here.

 Tragic Irony  
"After the disastrous Spanish Formula 1 GP of 1969,where the Lotus 49's of Jochen Rindt and Graham Hill nearly went into the crowd when their under-stiffened tall strutted wings failed at high speed, the FIA immediately initiated a ban on movable suspension-mounted wings. This ban was not made effective on Group 7 (Can-Am)cars,however, until the 1970 season. This was the primary visual difference between the dominant 1969 McLaren M8B and the subsequent 1970 M8D,whose wing was mounted between two sweeping fins in the rear bodywork and not anchored to the car's hub carriers like the tall wing of the M8B. Ironically it was this ""safety"" feature which caused Bruce McLaren's tragic death while testing at Goodwood just days before the 1970 Can-Am season when the car's rear deck (and the wing attached to it)departed from the car at 180 MPH, crashing heavily into a bank."
 using an M8D  
I had the pleasure to own and race the last works chassis, #3. I sold the car a couple of years ago and regret that - it was a truly charasmatic machine. The reason for the sale?...it frightened the *!?* out of me! Peter Gethin gave me some general driving lessons at Goodwood, where Bruce Mc. was killed in testing - it was a day full of memories, Peters then, mine now. We enjoyed some good results in Europe, firstly with a 5 litre engine the with a 6.3. The chassis did not need a monster 8 litre+ unit, the delicacy of its handling let us take on the mighty M8F's and Lola T220's etc running those 8- 9 litre units and still gte on the podium regularly. I still have meny original parts taken fromt he car when we made safetly improvements for modern racing (NO trick changes, just for safety). I have an entire decalled imaculate front end if anybody would like to buy it. I believe the car went to Mosport, the chassis having won there in 1970. I heard it was going into the museum - that is a disaster for motorsport, the growling thunder of this machine deserves to be heard in its natural environment, not sitting mutre in a carpeted prison. I also heard that the car had been taken back to original 1970 spec., which would make it highly dangerous for racing. If anyone has any info do paste your comments. PW PS. I also have the original bell housing and certain suspension parts casting moulds for the Lola T260 - anyone want them?
 Incredible car... or just serendipity?  
Bill E. Boy
"Since 1970, the McLaren M8D has held a special fascination for me. Growing up in Riverside, California, very close to Riverside International Raceway, I was able to attend races during the early 1970s. My first visit to the track was for Indy car qualifying... for the 1969 Rex Mays 300. I had missed the 1969 CanAm race, but my friend Thor Loeffler showed me the tire tracks through the ice plant where Bruce McLaren had crashed his M8B.... breaking at least one of the legs of a track worker (thankfully, Bruce was not injured). Tragically, Bruce McLaren was killed on June 2, 1970, while testing the successor to the M8B; the majestic M8D Batmobile. Denis Hulme won the 1970 CanAm championship in the M8D. His teammate was Dan Gurney for two races, and then Peter Gethin for the remainder of the season (oil-sponsor conflicts prevented Gurney from completing the season; Gurney had signed with Castrol, and McLaren was signed with Gulf). The M8D had a huge engine, huge tires, and a wider track than the M8D... although the tub was the same, thus the odd overhang of the bodywork between the front and rear tires. """

  Article Image gallery (36) M8D/1 Specifications User Comments (4)