Ex-Peter Revson – 1972 McLaren M20 Can-Am

can-am gulf

The orange cars from McLaren were the ones to beat in the glory days of Can-Am, as the M8 and its derivatives steamrolled the competition and as its two star drivers, McLaren and Hulme, put on the “Bruce and Denny Show”. That kind of dominance in racing never lasts forever, of course,  and in McLaren’s case it was Porsche, a late comer to the Can-Am party, that posed the biggest threat yet seen in the series. McLaren stood up to the turbocharged German challengers with the all new M20 for summer testing in 1972. The most noticeable departure from past practice in the M20 was the elimination of a front radiator in favor of two F1-style side radiators. The nose of the car was therefore now a clean, closed wedge between the front fenders that was painted a contrasting dark blue. The added downforce front and rear, as well as moving parts lower and closer to the car’s center of gravity, made up McLaren’s hopes of making up for the significant power deficit compared to Porsche.

Denny Hulme and Jackie Stewart were slated to campaign the new M20 in 1972, but Stewart’s illness saw American talent Peter Revson take the car for the season. This car, M20-01, was the Revson machine that year. Hulme won the opener at Mosport as the Porsche ran into mechanical problems, then took another victory at Watkins Glen. Revson, meanwhile, managed a third at Mosport as well as second place finishes at Watkins Glen and Riverside. McLaren then left Can-Am, leaving Porsche to dominate the 1973 championship, but M20-01’s career was not over, Painted in Carling Black Label livery, it was campaigned by David Hobbs and Derek Bell in 1973, by Scooter Patrick in 1974 (when it won the last official Can-Am race at Road America), by Milt Minter in 1975 and by George Follmer in 1976.

After intermittent excursions to vintage races and events during the late 1980s and 1990s, M20-01 was restored during 2005 and 2006 just in time for the 40th Can-Am Reunion at Road America. Owned by the same owner since 1987, it has since been shown successfully at several events, including winning the competitive 50th Anniversary of McLaren class at this year’s Amelia Island Concours. This car is one of only three made by McLaren, a company that is identified with Can-Am series more than any other. That the M20 represents McLaren’s last onslaught on that legendary series makes it that much more important.

This ex-Peter Revson 1972 McLaren M20 Can-Am car is available at the upcoming Mecum Monterey sale, scheduled for August 14-16, 2014.

Comments

  1. One beautiful car. Perhaps unsuited for a daily driver?

  2. Depends, I suppose, on where that daily drive take place. Start to finish seems about right.

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