Anthony Taylor’s 1965 McLaren M1B raced for the very first time this weekend – and was only built during a (frantic) four-week period leading up to the event. Its history goes that it was sold by McLaren in bits to the person who fabricated exhaust headers for the company. It was such a basic package that it didn’t even have engine mounts, as nobody had specified what engine would be fitted.
It stayed in unassembled form until it was sold to the boss of Wolfrace Wheels… who also did nothing with it, other than gathering parts with the intention of one day building it. Anthony Taylor is well known in McLaren Can-Am circles, and for 15 years tried to buy it. He eventually did but, well, you know the pattern by now: for about another 10 years, the car remained in bits.
When the entry for this year’s Revival was accepted, there were lots of long days and late nights to get the car built within just four weeks. ‘We had to make new wishbones, and some of things aren’t quite right… it will have chrome roll bar soon, for instance,’ says Anthony. In many respects, though, this is a very period-accurate car. Anthony’s son Richard: ‘It has cast exhaust headers, straight spark plugs. It’s as it should be.’
Given the rush to get the car ready, the team didn’t have high expectations: ‘If it had done three laps, I would have been happy,’ says Anthony. In fact, the car completed Friday’s Whitsun Trophy practice session with almost no issues: the only problem was that gearchange linkage came loose. Of more significance is that the gearing is too high, as the new ratios didn’t arrive in time. It then went on to complete yesterday’s race without a hitch.
Now they just need to change the gearbox and add some spoilers for the next outing…
Photography: Dom Romney