In honor of what would have been Bruce McLaren's 85th birthday, we look back at the M6GT.

the m6gt is the first mclaren road car that never happened
McLaren

In mid-1968, the word got around that Bruce McLaren was thinking about homologating the coupé version of his championship-winning M6A Can Am car to give the Lola T70s a run for their money in Group 4. The production M6B seemed like a great idea, but the new body didn’t bring success in the 1969 season, not to mention that the FIA’s new rules said McLaren had to build 50 identical cars complete with their engines to play against Porsche, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. McLaren had no chance of meeting that demand, so the M6 GT program had to be cancelled.

But that didn’t mean Bruce McLaren had given up on his road car, which was supposed to be faster than anything with a license plate before.

the m6gt is the first mclaren road car that never happened

McLaren M6GT

McLaren

the m6gt is the first mclaren road car that never happened

McLaren M6GT

McLaren

the m6gt is the first mclaren road car that never happened

McLaren M6GT

McLaren

In early 1970, he prepared a prototype merging one of the empty M6 GT bodies with a stock M6B chassis and a Bartz-tuned Chevrolet engine. Registered OBH 500H, Bruce’s personal ride had an estimated top speed of 165 mph, and some quirky features, like manually operated lights that were raised and lowered using finger holes in the leading edge of the pods. It was also rather loud, based on this footage shot in Canada in 1971 of another M6GT:

While Trojan Cars, builders of McLaren’s racing machines released a statement that they might market a road-going version of the MGBGT, the project got shelved forever on June 2, 1970, when Bruce McLaren died after hitting a bunker that was used as a flag station at the Goodwood Circuit while testing his M8D Can Am prototype. It wasn’t driver error. The rear bodywork came off mid-corner, the car stopped producing sufficient downforce, and from that point on, he became a passenger.

This is what he wrote six years earlier about his line of work in his autobiography, From the Cockpit:

To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one’s ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.

the m6gt is the first mclaren road car that never happened

March 1970: Bruce McLaren (1937 – 1970) sits on the wheel of his McLaren-Ford M14A before the start of the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch in Kent.

Getty Images

Bruce McLaren only managed to put 1900 miles on the clock of his M6GT, and Trojan Cars never got to build a further 249. Four years later, Road & Track tested one in California and put it on the cover of the December issue.

“The wildest road car.” McLaren-Lanzante P1 LM, anyone?

the m6gt is the first mclaren road car that never happened

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