Can Am McLarens
by Doug Breithaupt
Thirty years ago, McLaren was a power in Can Am racing and their cars became popular choices for diecast producers to model. I have three in my collection although additional examples were done by Polistil and others. The three shown here are from Siku #1328 (Germany), Ertl (USA) and Hot Wheels (USA). The Siku example is particularly nice and features a real metel roll-bar. Both the Hot Wheels and Ertl examples have flip-up engine covers revealing McLaren V8 engines.
With McLaren's success in Formula 1 over the years, it may
be easy to forget about their success in sport/GT racing. The Can Am cars
from McLaren ran against the Sunoco Porsche 917 and UOP Shadow DN-4 and
other 'unlimited' race cars with power sometimes exceeding 1,000 HP. The
three cars modeled here represent the M8F from Siku, the M8A from Ertl and
the M6A from Hot Wheels. Of course, McLaren returned to GT racing several
years back with the F1 road car. A victory at Le Mans showed this effort
to be quite serious. It is a shame that this new McLaren has not been done
in 1:64 scale although it is available in 1:43 and 1:18 scale. Hot Wheels
was ready to produce one but may have had licensing problems.
The good news is that you can still see Can Am cars like the McLaren in action. Vintage racing is gaining in popularity world-wide. There is no substitute to hearing and seeing one of these mega-horsepower monsters, howl down the front straight. If you can find a vintage race to attend, do it. In the mean-time, pull out some of your diecast Can Am cars and do a little vintage racing of your own.