1971 McLaren M8F Can-Am - click above for high-res image gallery

These days, McLaren is mostly known for the silver and red Mercedes powered Formula One cars and the SLRs it has built for its German partner. However, founder Bruce McLaren started building his own race cars in 1964 and five years later, he opened up a shop in Livonia, Michigan to focus on developing engines for his Can-Am cars. This year marks the 40th anniversary of McLaren Engines and to celebrate the owners of three classic McLaren racers brought them them to the Meadowbrook Hall Concours this weekend.

In their time, all three of these machines were often dominant in their respective series. In the classic Can-Am series the various McLaren M8 models and then the M20 were truly the cars to beat in the late 1960s up to 1971. That, of course, was when the mighty turbocharged flat-12 Porsche 917s arrived and ran away with the series.

The open wheeler on display here is a 1974 M16-C/D, variations of which ran at Indy and other other USAC Champ car races from 1970 to 1982. Forty years on, McLaren Engines is still around but no longer affiliated with the U.K. company.

Photos Copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Max Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

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