Displacement: 7,440 cc
Horsepower: A lot
Engine Torque: Massive
Top Speed: Very Fast
0 - 60 mph: Blink of an eye
click on image to enlarge
The M12s were intended as McLaren's first customer cars based on the M8As which the team had successfully used to win the 1968 Can-Am season, as well as the M8Bs which the team were developing for 1969. However, the M12s did not share everything from the M8 series. Instead, the monocoque chassis were actually based on the early M6 series initially developed in 1967. On top of this chassis, the aerodynamic bodywork of the M8A was added. The engine bays were specifically designed to house a Chevrolet V8 engine, but several customers opted for other manufacturers. All M12s were built by Trojan, rather than at McLaren's racing headquarters.
Several M12s were later modified by customers in order to cope with necessary demands. Many Can-Am M12 customers added larger rear wings for better downforce, in an attempt to keep up with competitors which had already done the same. Two M12s were imported to Japan by Toyota and received revised bodywork to allow better results at Japanese circuits as well as to fit company's own V8 engine. M12 owner Phil Scragg modified his car with smaller M6 bodywork for use in hillclimb events. One final M12 was used by Trojan to develop a street legal coupe for Canadian Andre Fournier.
Specific history of this car:
The M6 / M12 GT Coupe was a road going development of the McLaren M6 / M12 Can-Am car. In total, only 8 M6/M12 GTs coupes were built.
McLaren Can Am Customer car number M12 #60-14 was built by the Lambretta-Trojan factory of Peter Agg, as were all customer McLarens, only the prototypes being built by the then very small McLaren factory in Colnbrook. The M12 was the 1969 customer version of the previous year's M6B, using the same chassis but with M8A type bodywork being fitted, which gave greater downforce than that in the M6B.
Fourteen M12 spyders were built, and since chassis number 13 was not built, M12 60-14 was the last car produced. Numbers #10, #14 and #12 stayed at Shelby's shop for about a year before going to Holman and Moody's, where Vic Franzese bought #12 and #14 as rolling chassis (sold to Carrol Shelby in America 1969, without engine or gearbox). M12 #60-14 was sold on after a year, to Holman and Moody, the race preparation company, who in turn sold both M12 #60-12 and M12 #60-14 to Vic Franzese of Montour Falls, N.Y.
Franzese was running a race team in the Can Am series and had previously fielded a McLaren M6B for Ron Goldleaf to drive.
"The last two M12s" that Vic Franzese bought were numbers #12 and #14, not #11 and #12 as he thinks; He did not pay much attention to chassis numbers at the time, and only knows the number of the McLaren M12 that he bought, (#60-12), because he still has it
Vic Franzese assembled both cars in his workshop and entered them for rounds of the 1971 Can Am season, using aluminum "big Block" Chevrolet engines and having sponsorship from the "Great Western Champagne" Company. During the build up, Vic Franzese removedthe chassis plates from both cars and placed them in a cigar box on his office desk.
First time out for the new M12s was at the Circuit of St Jovite in Canada on June 27th, 1971 and Ron Goldleaf drove chassis M12 #60-12 but overheating forced him out after just twenty laps. The spare chassis, M12 #60-14, did not run.
This set the picture for the season; Both Gary Wilson and Bob Nagel then drove M12 #60-12 in four other Can Am races but #60-14 was the spare car and did not run. At the end of the season Vic Franzese sold #60-14 to whom, he cannot now remember, but says (2011) that "it might have been Pete Sherman, I can't remember".
In 1972, Pete Sherman raced M12 #60-14 (72CA31), with race number 51 at Road America on the 27th August, qualifying his new car twenty second out of thirty four cars entered and finished in an encouraging seventeenth position.
Three weeks later, Pete Sherman drove M12 60-14 again at Donnybrooke and this time finished ninth overall, a tremendous achievement, considering that he was up against much more modern and powerful machinery, such as the turbocharged Porsche 917/10, the Shadow Mk3 and the works McLaren M8Fs.
After this, Pete Sherman raced a newer M8C and sold the M12 to a Mr David Pearson of Lyons, Colorado in 1973. He may have raced the car in some local SCCA races in the West/Mid-west of the U.S.
In 1976, M12 #60-14 was sold to Larry Crossan, who had seen and fallen in love with the McLaren M6 Coupe of Fred Knoop at the San Francisco car show. Larry remembered seeing a "Great Western Champagne" McLaren M12 being advertised earlier in "Competition Press and Autoweek", and went back through his issues until he found the advertisement. He then called the owner, whose name he cannot remember, and bought the car, sight unseen, from Lyons in Colorado. Larry then sent the M12 to Santa Ana, California, and had it couped by the late John Collins, an ex-Shelby employee. Larry sold the original M12 roadster body to Micky Sanders of Watsonville, California.
Larry recounted in an interview how: "It looked beautiful but there was always something wanting doing on it and each visit to a shop seemed to cost twenty grand!"
In 1977 the car also became "steet legal" in California. The California D.M.V. title still exists and though the car is currently in Europe (with European taxes paid), the California title is included with the purchase.
In 1986 Larry Crossan sold the M12 to Michael Shoen, the head of "U-Haul" Truck Rental who kept it until 1987. Shoen had two of the Daytona Cobras at that time and planned on entering the M12 for the Carrera PanAmericana but when he drove it on the road for the first time, he called Larry Crossan, saying that: "This is the scariest son of a bitch I've ever driven!"
Michael Shoen sold it to Steve Forristal (a dealer of classic and racecars) in Texas. Steve Forristal recounted that, " I was never going to sell it but one day I gave a ride to my shop manager and at about 130 mph, the nose started to lift and the car started
to wander, taking up the full width of the road! I backed off gently and the car settled back down but it had unnerved me enough to make me want to sell it..."
In 1989, Steve Forristal sold the M12 coupe to Charles Gnadinger in Switzerland, Gnadinger imported the car to Europe. In 1994 the car became "street legal" in France (Carte Gris # 72CA31 and F.F.V.E. certificate). Gnadinger entered the car in several some races.
In 2007 the car was sold to "Classic Motor" (an Italian car dealer) in Milan. In 2008 the car was sold to an Italian collector who kept the car till 2011 when he sold it to the current owner.
1969 McLaren M12 60-14
1969 - Sold to Shelby - rolling chassis
1970 - Sold to Holman & Moody - rolling chassis
1971 - Sold to Victor Franzese - chassis plate removed. Rolling chassis- built up at Franseze's shop in Montauk Falls entered to be raced once by Kris Harrison, never arrived at the racetrack.
(note: Victor also bought M12-60-12 as a rolling chassis, built up in gold and green, Great Western Champagne Car No.18 raced by Ron Goldleaf, Gary Wilson and Bob Nagel. Victor still owns that car)
1972 - Sold to Pete Sherman - Raced in the Can Am series (finished 17th at Road America and 9th overall at Donnybrooke)
1973 - Sold to David Pearson - He may have raced the car in some local SCCA races in the West/Mid-west of the U.S
1976 - Sold to Larry Crossan. He had the car couped by John Collins of Santa Ana and registered for the street on it's SCCA Rollbar number: 72CA-31 / SCCA number: 72, (for 1972 inspection), CA (for California, where inspected), 51 for the fifty first car inspected
that year. "steet legal" registration CA - the D.M.V. California title
1986 - Sold to Mike Shoen
1987 - Sold to Steven Forestall
1989 - Sold to Karl Gnadinger, Switzerland (French title "Carte Gris")
2007: Sold to an European dealer "Classic Motor Milano"
2008: Italian Collector
2011: Current owner
The M12 Coupe #60-14 is today still the only Coupe that was fitted with a correct big block engine. The car has been recently shown and awarded at various concours events and was on loan for several months to be shown in the McLaren factory in Woking.
This is a very rare opportunity to purchase a real piece of McLaren history as well as the first road legal McLaren.