In Oz today
While just two Can-Am left Australian shores to compete in the famed series back in the day, several have gone the other way and reside here today. AMC takes a look at four such machines.
Duncan Mackellar has owned the ex-Roy Woods Racing machine for five years and like most owners is smitten with the thundering beasts. “They were really the only class with unlimited rules. It was also a really cool period in history with things like the moon landing and the Concorde being built which we won`t see again. My car is chassis 10 of the approximately 18 customer cars built under licence by Trojan in the UK. In 1971 Sam Posey and Vic Elford drove it and gained a few podiums. I’m a Porsche fan so the Elford link is cool too. My engineer Barry Lock was with McLaren from 1968-’74 (see separate story). How we came to know each other is a good story: We were testing once and this gentleman came up to me and said he thought he may have worked on this car back in the day! So that’s how we met. This car only had a few owners including Chuck Haines who runs vintage racecar specialists Can-Am Cars and he had it for about 30 years. I kept an eye on it and eventually it came up for sale which Chris Bowden negotiated for me. Wayne Park did the initial set up and Barry has helped fine-tune it since then. He is still very much up to date with the latest aero theories so the car is just so enjoyable to drive. It runs an eight-litre (496 cubic inch) aluminium Reynolds V8 with 800hp with a four-speed box and weighs 750kg. It has a huge footprint with 16 inch wide tyres on the back so you can just use the torque to pull you out of the corners. It`s actually not that intimidating to drive.” I always wanted one,” he told AMC. His prize is chassis five of the 28 customer McLaren M6Bs built for the 1968 season. “I don’t wish to claim it has any famous history because it doesn’t but I consider myself lucky to have it as there are so few examples of them out here. I wanted to play a part in getting more on the grid in Australia and now we have just about every model represented. It was originally bought by a very wealthy businessman who raced it until he had a big accident and parked the car. It was rebuilt and runs a 5.7-litre pushrod Chev and a five-speed Hewland LG gearbox which is the original box. I was told it was race ready when I bought it and ran it at Sandown in 2015. I felt comfortable so took it to Phillip Island last year and bolted on some sticky new Avons. Well the suspension couldn’t cope with the extra grip and collapsed, sending me backwards into the pit wall. It’s taken nearly a year to get it back on the track as I moved down to the Island to live at the same time. Of course I’m a lot poorer now!” The M6B was the customer version of the factory M6A which Bruce McLaren won the championship