Those readers who follow
the early days of McLaren will be familiar with the name of Tyler Alexander who was a very important part of the team for many years. With Wal Willmott he did the conversion of the Zerex Special into the Cooper Oldsmobile, the early beginnings.
Sadly, as most people now know, Tyler had a stroke a few months ago. I visited him recently and I am happy to say that he is walking and talking very normally, and hopefully will make a full recovery.
His first book, with many photos from inside the McLaren team was published last year and his biography is due out soon. Tyler used to take his camera to most tests and races both in the early days and later years and he has had access to events which would not be available to any other journalist or photographer, so his books are a unique insight into the inner world of racing.
While I was there we were joined by Tim Mayer, son of Teddy, who was Bruce’s partner in McLaren Racing. Tim is named after his uncle Timmy, killed at Longford in 1964.
There is some doubt about which year is the “50 Years of McLaren” and while there were celebrations in 2013, there are likely to be more in 2014. I had always assumed that 2014 was the correct year, on the basis that the team had its first race, at Pukekohe, in January of 1964.
Tim and Tyler explained to me that in a way both years are correct on the basis that the first company, McLaren Cars Ltd, was registered in 1963, but the company which did the racing, Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd was registered in 1964. When I worked there, from June 1964, it was very much Bruce McLaren Motor Racing on the door, the letterhead, the badges and anywhere else that required a corporate logo.
I first became aware of McLaren Cars Ltd when Bruce put me in the works F5000 car (M10B) for 1970. He was very insistent that we had ‘McLaren Cars’ in large letters on both sides of the car and the other works car of Peter Gethin had the same lettering. It also appears on the Can-Am cars.
In the last issue Eoin Young showed his share certificate for McLaren Cars but I note that it is dated 1965, signed as Eoin says, by himself and Bruce plus, I notice, the Company Secretary and accountant Mr L Gould.
Tim is now a Steward for many top level events, and in fact was on the panel which had to address the issue of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull having excessive fuel flow during the Australian Grand Prix.
We had a fun time BUT we lost third place on a countback. Probably due to that putt I missed on the 14th hole! I hope that doesn’t cost me my team leader position in 2015.