McLaren M8F #4
The McLaren Can-Am racecars of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s were some of the most dominant cars on the track.
And on my track, this black McLaren #4 was the dominant slotcar and my favorite choice to race when I first got into racing slotcars as a kid in the 1970’s.
The Canadian American Challenge Cup (Can-Am) series was debuted in 1966. From 1967 through 1971, every championship was won by a driver in a McLaren. From Bruce McLaren winning in 1967 and 1969, to teammate Denny Hulme winning in 1968 and 1970, through Peter Revson winning in 1971, McLaren was the car to beat in the series.
The black #4 McLaren on my track was produced by Tyco and mine ran on the Curve Hugger chassis with the white rear tires that were supposed to grip for better traction. White rear tires were all I would ever run on my cars.
Looking at the Tyco McLaren now and matching it to the full-size raced vehicle, it looks to me like the slotcar takes a little bit from each of the cars in the early seventies. The body style mostly matches the 1970 M8D racecar from the small grill on the front through the air intakes on top of the body (rather than on the side on the full size M8F) to the “Batmobile” fins and wing on the back, this is one smooth flowing beautifully designed speedster. The graphics match the Carling Black Label paint scheme on the 1973 David Hobbs driven M20 Can-Am racecar, of course without the Carling Black Label decals. The #4, to me, is a great honor to Bruce McLaren, the inventor, designer, engineer and driver of the dominant car. McLaren tragically died at the age of 32 when testing at the Goodwood Circuit in England.
Not a lot of toys survived my childhood, but my slotcars and even my slot car track did – including my favorite black #4 McLaren. The McLaren remains one of my favorites and now, knowing the history, it has a little more meaning and a special place in my collection.