1969 McLaren M8B
Posted 09 June 2006 - 06:51 AM
Bruce McLaren was a genius who crammed an enormous amount into his short life, he was a racing driver, engineer and a businessman. A very likeable and enormously popular New Zealander who as a teenager raced a tiny Austin 7 special and just a few years later in 1959 was driving and winning grands prix for the works Cooper F1 team.
After a few seasons international racing and not satisfied with just driving for others he started modifying and racing sports cars with his own team. As his activities developed it eventually led to him leaving Cooper at the end of 1965 and becoming a full time constructor of F1 and Can Am cars.
He always particularly loved big-engined sports cars and his team dominated the Can Am championship for several years. Fittingly it was McLaren who scored the first victory for his F1 team when he won the Belgian Grand prix at Spa in 1968 and he remains to this day in a club of two with just himself and Jack Brabham who have achieved this particular feat.
Sadly Bruce was killed at Goodwood in a testing accident in the spring of 1970 while preparing a car for the Can Am series of that year and I can still remember the shock when I saw the awful headline on a newspaper vendors roadside stall as I was driving home from work. By then Bruce McLaren had laid the foundations of one of the most successful Grand Prix teams in history. As we all know the team has continued to this day, winning races and championships in most major international series including multiple F1 world championships, multiple Can Am championships, the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Indianapolis 500.
I felt that a fitting slot car to remind me of Bruce was the 1969 Can Am M8B as it was the most successful McLaren built during his lifetime. His team annihilated the opposition winning every race that season and Bruce triumphed over team-mate Denny Hulme to emerge as the Can Am champion.
The Slot Car
I bought a couple of Charlie Fitzpatrick’s Betta McLaren M8A vacform bodyshells, a thick white polycarbonate one for the mould and a thin clear one to use for the windscreen. I simply slush cast with Alumilite resin to achieve a hard shell. This picture shows the beginning of the clean up to remove the moulded on detail and the opening up of the various vents, wheel arches and the cockpit area, this is to improve the look of the slot car and to convert the car to the M8B specification. The marbled look of the shell is a result of using the dregs of a container of resin so it's a bit rough but should clean up ok.
The chassis needed to be a sidewinder to allow a full interior so I sketched out a design having had a look at the Can Am Proxy website to get some ideas. I’ve used a Slot it motor, axles and gears – a TSRF guide and BWA wheels.
I made up the cockpit interior out of plastic; the dash panel, driver’s seat and monocoque panels are from plastic sheet. The gear lever and linkage are from piano wire, the driver figure and engine intakes are from the Maxi-Models range and the steering wheel comes from my spares box.
I sprayed the cockpit with Halfords aluminium car spray and detail painted with Humbrol enamels. I added some wiring and represented some riveting in the monocoque by twisting a fine drill bit on the surface. I extended the seat belt from the figure’s shoulder to the rear bulkhead of the cockpit. The drivers head is one of the “laughing boy” Revell items as it doesn’t have a peak and McLaren always raced with an open face Bell helmet without a peak, but I added a flame proof face mask with Milliput putty.
I built an aerofoil out of sheet plastic sanded to shape, again added rivet detail with a fine drill bit and used aluminium Bare Metal Foil to cover it.
This is the completed chassis, cockpit and rear aerofoil. The next stage to finish the car is to complete the clean up and detailing of the resin shell.
Posted 09 June 2006 - 07:01 AM
Groovy looking chassis there.... I'm still figuring out the flex points!
Posted 09 June 2006 - 07:01 AM
What an utterly fabulous build. Don't be shy with the progress David, its looking magnificent. Look's like a 'bookmark job' for the old reference folder! Nice also to see such a fitting tribute to one of your heroes
Posted 09 June 2006 - 07:08 AM
Pooooooh, great work, David!
I would like to know more about the moulding process.
Would you like to share the info?
All the best,
Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace.
Posted 09 June 2006 - 07:27 AM
I can't wait to see the finished item.
Posted 09 June 2006 - 08:45 AM
look forward to the finished product
Posted 09 June 2006 - 11:47 AM
wonderful car love the interior detail. A car for Pendle?
Posted 09 June 2006 - 01:20 PM
A lovely car .. and thanks for sharing all of the pictures and techniques .. it is really inspiring and pushes the rest of us to improve our modeling!!
Really looking forward to more pictures and the finished car!!
A real masterpiece!!
all my best
Posted 09 June 2006 - 01:22 PM
outstanding work as always...... love the chassis and the body work is beyond most of use...... a master at work
Posted 09 June 2006 - 02:34 PM
Posted 09 June 2006 - 03:32 PM
Posted 09 June 2006 - 06:12 PM
This, the Eagle-Weslake
Great looking M8 as well by the way.
Posted 09 June 2006 - 06:37 PM
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