As we know it, McLaren is one of the best automotive companies around. This incredible car company started in 1963. In 1953, Bruce McLaren was 15 when he designed an Austin Alcester (type of car) to be used for racing. He did this all by himself. A few years later, at age 22, he was the youngest person in history to win the F1 Grand Prix. After all his success, he decided to start his own motor company. That was the beginning of McLaren Motor Racing.
In the start, McLaren Motor Racing only made cars for racing. They did not make cars that were meant to be driven on regular streets. Bruce McLaren wanted to change that. Sadly, in 1970, when the company was still in the testing stage, Bruce died testing a race car. He was 32 years old at the time. After that tragic event, the company stopped the project they were working on and never finished making what could have been one of the world’s greatest street legal cars.
In 1980, Ron Dennis took over the company and combined it with his own racing project. McLaren was doing very well because of him. Ron Dennis, Gordon Murray, and Mansour Ojjeh came up with the idea that led the company into a whole new direction. They were in the airport one day waiting for their flight, and they were talking about the old idea McLaren had about making a car that could be driven on regular roads. At first, they were talking about that topic because they were just waiting for their flight, but the idea stuck to them and they ended up making a car that was able to be ridden on the streets.
In 1990, McLaren Cars, the sister company to McLaren Motor Racing, had a meeting that lasted 10 hours. They had this meeting to come up with an idea for the street legal car. The company also decided that if they were actually going to try to make that car, that nothing would be able to be compromised. They planned to do certain things to this car with parts like the engine and the weight of the car. McLaren wanted to make this car lighter than any other supercar around and make it the fastest supercar around.
McLaren wanted their car to be known as the fastest supercar for many years. Since they did not want it to be the fastest for only a year or something, they needed to get help. They went to BMW for help. BMW was able to make a 6.1 L V12 engine that could produce over 600 horsepower. McLaren had to figure out how to make an engine bay that was able to handle all the heat that the engine made. They soon realized that the best material for them to use for this was gold. They used actual gold for this piece. Since McLaren wanted to make their car super light, they made the body of the car out of carbon fiber. It was the first production car to do that.
Since McLaren was a race car company at first, they made their car with the driving seat in the middle. It also had two passenger seats, one on each side of the driver’s seat. This car they made is known as the McLaren F1. The McLaren F1 cost a little bit over a million dollars. Only 100 of these cars were made. McLaren’s first car for the streets got the title of being the greatest performance machine of all time.
That is a little bit of how McLaren became one of the greatest car companies around.