If you gotta ask…

I’m not crazy enough to ask the price of the 1969 McLaren M12 Coupe. It was the company’s first foray into consumer vehicles. Based on the M8A series Bruce McLaren used to win the Can-Am season in 1968, it is one of eight road cars produced.

Of the eight, the one up for auction screams rare. It was converted into a coupe in 1976. The owner at the time decided to make it street legal, causing whiplash every street it turned down.

If the fact there’s only eight and the street legal conversion wasn’t enough, it is the only one of the eight to be fitted with the correct Chevy big block V8. There are rare pieces of automotive history, and then there is this McLaren.

McLaren M12 Auction

Hosted by Jan Luehn, the upcoming auction is where bank accounts go to die. The auction is not only a chance to own a car that no one else has, but it’s also a piece of history.

McLaren M12 auction

The McLaren on the block should have its own biography. Its history is as storied as the brand itself. The M12 spyder found its way into the hands of Larry Crossan, who bought it without even laying eyes on the car.

The coupe conversion was handled in Santa Ana, CA by a shop run by the late John Collins, an ex-Shelby employee. Yeah, that Shelby.

Crossan would remark in an interview about having the car worked on. “It looked beautiful but there was always something needing to be on it, and each visit to a shop seemed to cost twenty grand!”

After converting it street legal status in California in 1977, Crossan would maintain ownership until 1986. That year he sold the M12 to Michael Shoen, the head of U-Haul. The plan was to enter the car in the Pan-Americana, but Shoen backed out, telling Larry: “This is the scariest son of a bitch I’ve ever driven!”

1969 street legal mclaren m12

It was sold in 1987 to Steve Forristal, who would sell it to Karl Gnadinger in 1989. Karl kept it until 2007 when it was sold to Classic Motor Milano, a European classic car dealer. From there it changed hands in 2008 and 2011 to private collectors.

Today? It’s with the current owner in Europe and up for auction.

Price? The reserve hasn’t been announced yet. If it’s a scary son of a bitch to drive, it’s a safe bet the price tag will be just as scary. Learn more about the history and the auction at Jan Luehn.


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