McLaren’s first-ever customer racecar was the M12, which were purpose-built racers with an engine bay designed specifically to house a Chevrolet Big Block V8. Many buyers of the M12 fitted their own engines in the bay of the car, though, leaving very few in existence with the intended Chevy eight-cylinder still sitting behind the driver.
This M12, which is car number 60-14, is one of the M12s that has retained its Chevy engine. Its racing career began when Vic Franzese bought it and M12 #60-12 as rolling chassis with the intent on racing them in the 1971 Can Am season. Franzese ended up racing 60-12 and used 60-14 as the backup car before selling it to Pete Sherman.
In August 1972, Sherman raced the car at Road America and qualified 22nd out of 34 cars and finished 17th in the race. He drove the car again at Donnybrooke three weeks later and finished ninth overall before selling it to David Pearson, who entered it in small SCCA races in the West and Midwest. The car again found a new owner in 1976 when Larry Crossan bought it and had its spyder bodywork converted to make the car into a coupe.
In 1977 the car became street legal under California law and in 1986 it was sold by Crossan to Michael Shoen, boss of the U-Haul transportation business. Shoen turned around and sold the car shortly after, concluding it was “the scariest son of a bitch,” he’d ever driven. It found another new home in the way of Steve Forristal, who was also spooked by its driving characteristics and sold it to Swiss enthusiast Charles Gnadinger.
In 2007 the M12 was sold to Italian automotive dealer Classic Motor, who found a home for it in the way of an unnamed European owner. Now it’s up for sale again, this time by Munster, Germany-based automotive dealer Jan Luehn. The price isn’t listed, but if you have to ask…