|Our first McLaren. It gave us the McLaren bug. The M1C was the last tubular frame chassis car built by Elva as a McLaren customer car. In total, 25 were built and they were sold in the USA as the McLaren-Elva Mark 3. Most of these went on to race in the USRRC and Can-Am championships. The M1C was again based on the space frame design of the M1A and M1B. The M1C was to be the last of the M1s; the McLaren Team had already moved on to the all conquering monocoque M6A.
The M1C was Elva’s further development of the M1B with a separate spoiler wing at the rear to replace the airdam. On many of the American M1Cs this spoiler was adjustable to help with setup at the vastly different circuits around the States. The M1C chassis was constructed from large diameter round and square tubing in a space frame form with light alloy sheets riveted and bonded to it, which formed the undertrays and bulkheads. The frame work was strengthened and stiffened from the m!B by additional tubes in the front and rear bays. The body is formed from four reinforced polyester resin sections with side sections housing the Twin 25 gallon rubber fuel cells. The ducting for the brakes, the radiator and oil coolers are all built into the body shape to help with weight saving. The M1Cs were most commonly powered by Chevrolet engines although it was possible to fit the optional Ford or Oldsmobile power units. The whole thing ran on custom made wide McLaren-Elva cast magnesium wheels, 15 inch diameter at both front and rear.
The M1C in the Mathews Collection was originally owned by Jerry Hansen of Minneapolis. He entered it in the 1967 Can-Am series and it had its debut in the first race of the season at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on September 3. The race was also the first time out for Team McLaren’s two M6As and the initial installment of what was to become known as the “Bruce and Denny Show”. Thirty-two cars started the race, of which 17 were McLarens. The pair of M6As romped home first and second, while production M1Cs finished 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th. Hansen was placed in the highly respectable 6th position after starting on the seventh row of the grid. He didn’t race the M1C again in the 1967 Can-Am series but the one point he got from Road America meant he finished 15th in the year’s final pint standings.
The M1C was the Mathews’ first ever McLaren. It was such a special car and they had such a good time racing it that it inspired them to start the Mathews McLaren Collection and set them on the road to getting at least one car from each if the series that official Team McLaren cars raced in.