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1964 McLaren M1A

Building on the success of the ‘Zerex Special’, Mclaren made a production run of Group 7 racecars known as the McLaren Mark 1 or M1A. After designing and racing the prototype, Elva was commissioned to a series of M1As which were raced by private teams.

The M1A used a spaceframe chassis with a tuned version of the aluminum Oldsmobile V8. Other details included Cooper wheels, uprights and steering arms, Girling disc brakes and a Hewland Gearbox.

Traco was responsible for engine development of the Oldsmobile V8. It was increased from 3.5 to 4.5 liters and when fitted with four Weber carburetors, produced 310 bhp.

The chassis was multi-tubular and square-tube spaceframe that was reinforced with sheet aluminum. The main chassis tubes also fed oil and water to the front-mounted radiators.

Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd debuted their own M1 at the 4th Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport Park. It was fastest car on track that weekend, but suffered teething problems in the pitlane to finish 3rd overall.

After a returning to England, Frank Nichols of Elva Cars was commissioned to produce a run of replica cars known as the McLaren-Elva Mark 1 of which 24 were built. Meanwhile McLaren continued development of the car to produce the M1B.

Story by Richard Michael Owen

In Detail

tags canam, group7, elva
submitted by Richard Owen
type Racing Car
built at England
engineers Tony Hilder
production 27
succeccesor 1966 McLaren M1B
engine Traco Oldsmobile 90º V8
position Mid, Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
valvetrain OHV, 2 Valves per CYl
fuel feed 4 Weber Carburettors
displacement 4500 cc / 274.61 in³
power 231.2 kw / 310 bhp
specific output 68.89 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 373.49 bhp per tonne
body / frame 4-Piece Polyester Resin body over Tubular Steel Spaceframe
driven wheels RWD
wheel type Cooper Discs
front brakes Girling Discs
rear brakes Girling Discs
steering Rack & Pinion
f suspension Wishbones w/Adjustable Coil spring/Shock Units
r suspension Trailing Arms & Lower Wishbones w/w/Adjustable Coil spring/Shock Units
curb weight 830 kg / 1830 lbs
wheelbase 2311 mm / 91 in
front track 1295 mm / 51 in
rear track 1295 mm / 51 in
length 4166 mm / 164 in
width 1626 mm / 64 in
height 762 mm / 30 in
transmission Hewland LG400 4-Speed Manual