Big Mac…

Posted: January 1, 2016 in Fotos, Sports Racers
Tags: , , ,
mc l m8

McLaren M8A at rest 1968. (unattributed)

I re-read Mark Donohue’s excellent biography not so long ago, in it he refers to his Lola F5000 as a ‘little car’ which made me laugh! I’ve never seen F5000’s as anything other than ‘big cars’ but i ‘spose its all relative. When your frames of reference include McLaren M16 Indycars and Porsche 917/30 CanAm racers they are…

spankers

The ‘brand spankers’ M8A out front of McLaren’s ‘salubrious’ David Road, Colnbrook facilities in early 1968. A contrast with the opulence of Woking today (unattributed)

There is nothing small and subtle about CanAm cars, everything is BIIIGG!

They were built for 200 mile races, GP distance. The engines 7 litres and up, the chassis had to be big and strong to carry the engine and its fuel, they used a lotta fuel! The dimensions were unrestricted, the bodies large to provide downforce. Big engines; lots of power and torque needs a big gearbox and driveshafts, the shot above of a 1968 McLaren M8A in all its naked glory illustrates the point.

Denny Hulme took the ’68 title from teammate McLaren with 3 wins to Bruce’s 1 in 6 races.

mc and team

The team; Tyler Alexander left and Gary Knutsen right, sorting an M8A engine drama at Bridghampton 1968. The car ran a bearing in the race so problem not sorted! Denny’s broke a rod, Donohue won in an M6B Chev. Bruce patiently awaits. Few racing drivers as intelligent, analytical and thoughtful. Or quick (Pete Lyons)

M8A’ s vital statistics; 7 litre/427 cid McLaren modified aluminium blocked Chev ZL-1 engine. Bore and stroke 108mm x 95mm, pushrod OHV, Vertex magneto, Lucas fuel injection the package giving circa 620bhp@7000rpm. Hewland LG500 4 speed transaxle.

Monocoque chassis of rivetted and bonded aluminium with fabricated steel bulkheads, the Chev engine was a stressed member of the chassis at the rear. Wheelbase 94 inches, front and rear tracks 57.5 and 54.5 inches, length 153 inches and height to the top of the roll bar 36 inches. Weight circa 1350 pounds.

denny

Hulme in the workshop prior to the M8A’s departure to the ‘States. Engine extractors, Lucas injection trumpets, (horizontal) fuel metering unit and (vertical) Vertex magneto, Hewland gearbox casing and brake ventilation ducts all clear. The rear wheels are fabricated magnesium, McLaren had 2 attempts at making these work and both failed. Its a top shot, Denny spent a lot of time in the workshop when not racing (Jabby Crombac via ‘kayemod’ TNF)

Rear suspension; single top link, reversed lower wishbones, twin radius rods, coil spring/damper units and adjustable roll-bars. Front by unequal length wishbones, coil spring/damper units, adjustable roll-bars.

Brakes, Lockheed outboard front and rear, McLaren cast magnesium wheels of 15 inches diameter and up to 11 inches wide and 15 inches and up to 16 inches wide at the rear…Big, like everything else!…

m8 cutaway

McLaren M8A Chev cutaway drawing. Specs as per text above. An incredible successful series of cars, the M8 family; M8A, M8B, M8D and M8F won the CanAm title in 1968-’71 respectively. (unattributed)

cars loading

All hands on deck to load the cars for shipment to the US. Teddy Mayer on the trailer with Bruce’ car, note the standard 4 spoke cast wheels on the front of Hulme’s car and experimental fabricated ones on the rear. (Nigel Beresford Collection via ‘kayemod’ TNF)

denny m8a

Denny Hulme, M8A Laguna Seca practice 1968. John Cannon won this race, famously held in very wet conditions when so many ‘fell off the Island’. Cannon’s old McLaren M1B Chev won from Hulme and George Eaton’s McLaren M1C Ford (tamsoldracecarsite.net)

Credits…

‘Cars in Profile No8 McLaren M8 Series’ by David Hodges, Pete Lyons, Jabby Crombac and Nigel Beresford Collection via ‘kayemod’ TNF, tamsoldracecarsite.net

 

 

 

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