The world has many unique supercars, and while many of them have a great history that’s known around the world, the McLaren has an excellent saga of gaining attention from the public. From the ground to the garage, the evolution of the McLaren supercar involves an interesting history that many will respect. For more information on why this vehicle is one of the greatest in the world today, we'll look into its progression from its origins to present day.
All wonderful machinery has an origin story of testing that eventually lead to great success. The McLaren supercar was originally a Formula 1 racer; to this day, the McLaren Racing Limited stands as one of the oldest Formula 1 racing teams. Bruce McLaren founded the McLaren brand and was interested in vehicles from a young age. The idea for a great racing car likely came from his first win at age 15 when he entered an uphill race with an Austin 7 Ulster.
McLaren traveled from New Zealand to the UK to begin racing with the help of his mentor Jack Brabham. Brabham introduced him to a small group of racers known as Cooper Cars. McLaren led the team to victory at the age of 22 after winning the US Grand Prix, making him the youngest driver at the time to win. The team of Cooper Cars won three more Grand Prix titles thanks to him. He also drove for Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Ford to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It wasn't until 1963 that Bruce McLaren founded his company, Bruce McLaren Motor Racing, which built the first McLaren a year later—the M1.
The First Model That Started It All
The M1 was the original model that led McLaren to greatness. However, this model was a prototype that was replaced with the M1B for racing. This model had a bulky design similar to most cars of the ‘60s. The mid-engine design and V8 engine had a maximum speed of 160 mph, which was considered quite fast for cars of the mid-1900s. Some of the most prominent features of the M1A, M1B, and M1C were the fiberglass panels and steel-alloy chassis that made the vehicle lightweight and capable of handling great speeds.
The unique design was part of McLaren's claim to fame; models and other variants would continue featuring similar designs to other materials we use today. Lightweight cars with great speed are the staple of McLaren vehicles, and this trait kept evolving well into the future.
First Time on the Track
The M1B was the unofficial racing model for McLaren and the brand's first vehicle to make it on the track. Bruce McLaren drove the company's first self-designed car at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1965 to show the world this unique and successful vehicle. The same vehicle would win the 1968 Grand Pix in Belgium, giving a great reputation to the brand-new company and its engineering.
Rise to Fame
The McLaren name began to rise amongst the ranks as more victories in F1 races came. Before his death in 1970, McLaren was in the process of developing a road-ready sportscar prototype with a lightweight frame called the M6GT but was unable to finish it. Afterward, Teddy Mayer took over the company and led the brand to victory in the 1974 World Constructor's championship. In 1980, the company merged with the Project 4 Racing team, which brought designer John Barnard onto the team, who suggested using carbon fiber composite in the cars. The idea was a great success, as McLaren became a leading innovator in using carbon fiber in vehicles, which had only seen use in aerospace manufacturing at that time.
The use of carbon fiber eventually led to the production of the MP4/1, the second F1 racing car to use carbon fiber. This vehicle would change the design methods of future racing cars and numerous other luxury cars decades later.
Production of Supercars
In 1988, Ron Dennis of Project 4 Racing Team and McLaren’s Team Principal Gordon Murray worked together to create the F1, one of the most notable McLaren models and a valuable car of the ‘90s. This vehicle looked and performed excellently thanks to the aluminum V12 engine developed by BMW.
This elite car was a milestone in the evolution of the McLaren supercar, using high-end materials such as carbon fiber, gold, and kevlar. McLaren only produced 106 models, making it a valued car and a rare find. At the time, it was the only road-legal vehicle that could travel at speeds over 200 mph.
Later, the company would coordinate with other companies, such as Mercedez-Benz, to create wonderful vehicles. Combining great engineering and business strategies to join forces with other luxury car companies would propel McLaren forward into producing more supercars for the world.
Collaboration amongst luxury brands aren't common, but when such companies do join together to produce a product, it will often be of the best quality. In 1999, McLaren and Mercedez-Benz worked together to manufacture the SLR convertible with a V8 engine and 3.8-second acceleration. The union sadly ended almost a decade later when McLaren became a solo manufacturer under the name McLaren Racing Limited.
Within the last decade, McLarens have made a name for themselves on the road and the track. Numerous people born during the ‘80s and ‘90s know of the luxurious F1 and its limited availability.
Racing fans during that time will remember the many victories that McLaren achieved as their vehicles improved and continued to take charge in areas of automotive innovation. Some collectors will seek out old models of the McLaren M1 series since these cars were the ones that kickstarted the elite brand of cars.
Notorioty of Supercars
Supercars are known for being some of the best vehicles in the world, and McLaren is within the top bracket of famous luxury vehicles. McLaren continues to follow its product model of making lightweight cars that boast great speed and durable materials. People associate the supercars of McLaren with grace and elegance, given the car's appearance and excellent speed.
Many people seek ownership of a McLaren. The older models still have great speed on the road and the track and have an appearance that will match the luxury of modern supercars produced in the last few years. People continue to improve their luxury cars using supercar body kits; a McLaren with a body kit looks and performs great, with aerodynamic features that perfectly complement its lightweight body.
McLaren in the Future
Like many automotive brands, McLaren will continue to produce better cars with new features. The brand wants to offer its fans electric car options and some hybrid models, and their combustion-engine varieties will continue to amaze the world when released.
There is no doubt that the evolution of this supercar will continue into the future, as it has come far from its personally manufactured origins. Try to drive a McLaren yourself and feel the speed of an elite car that was decades in the making.