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McLaren Can-Am 1967 Speedster Is a Winner

By David Popp, Model Railroader Video Plus producer
Published: October 14, 2010
McLaren M61 #5 Denny Hulme

Product: The 1967 Canadian-American racing series was dominated by Bruce McLaren’s brand new M6A cars painted bright orange. McLaren’s teammate Denny Hulme easily won the M6A’s debut race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Revell Model Racing has released a 1:32-scale analog slot car decorated for Hulme’s victorious McLaren M6A, the No. 5 car.  

Performance: The model faithfully captures the styling of the McLaren car. The plastic body shell features numerous separately applied details, including etched-metal vents. Perhaps my only complaint, and it’s small, is that the shell is molded in orange plastic and isn’t painted like many of Revell’s other cars — a fact that is only apparent upon careful examination making the car look a little less detailed. The printing on the car, including the number and sponsor logos, is crisp and well done.  

The chassis is a one-piece plastic molding, and it includes a screw-attached down-force magnet bay that provides several options for adjustment, including height placement using thin plastic insert plates. If you want less down force, take out one of the plates. You can also place the magnet closer to the center of the car if desired.

The car is driven by a can motor that is set in the angle-winder position (approximately 30 degrees). The motor is held in place by plastic clips molded in the chassis. During my chassis-only tests, I discovered the clips don’t securely keep the motor in position, and at full speed, the motor tended to pop free of its mount. Fortunately, with the car’s body installed (held in position by screws), it acts as a lid for the motor, keeping it locked in.

I test-drove the car on my four-lane track, made from SCX and Scalextric Sport and Classic parts. As with many of the Revell cars I’ve tested, the guide blade is too deep for these brands of track, and it will cause the car to bump along the supports inside the track slots. This is easily fixed by clipping approximately .050" off of the depth of the blade, but it’s something retailers should take note of, as inexperienced slot car customers may not know what to do to fix the problem.

With the guide corrected, the car performed well under various driving conditions, although it drifts quite a bit in the corners. Silicon tires will be one of the first things I’ll add to the vehicle before racing it.

Marketing: There’s been a recent surge of interest in Can-Am racing by a couple of the slot car manufacturers. Revell has released a number of Can-Am cars in the past year, and Carrera has also put several Can-Am cars on the market, which is great for retailers as there are some cross marketing options. My own slot-car club has taken an interest in these products, and we now regularly feature Can-Am races. If you’re a store that has a track and offers race nights, you may want to consider adding a Can-Am racing class to your lineup. The cars look great together, making for some exciting racing.

In nosing around on the web, I discovered that there are a number of Can-Am racing videos on YouTube, including footage of the 1967 Road America race featuring Denny Hulme’s winning McLaren M6A. If you’re a store that has an Internet newsletter, you may want to include links to a couple of the videos. I know that my slot car club gets really psyched for racing after watching racing coverage, so this may be a way to promote interest in Can-Am series slot-car products, and you could try similar things with Indy, F1, and NASCAR.
Also, for those wishing to collect both 1967 McLaren M6As, Revell has announced that it is releasing Bruce McLaren’s car No. 4 later this year. Although Bruce didn’t finish in the Road America race, he did win the ’67 Can-Am series, with Hulme placing second.

The Revell car is a great subject for those interested in historic auto racing, and is a good addition to the growing field of Can-Am slot car racing products.

Product: McLaren M6A slot car decorated for No. 5 Denny Hulme, 1967
Maker: Revell/Monogram
Scale: 1:32
Stock No.: 85-4838
MSRP: $49.95
Availability: Check with your favorite Revell or slot car distributor

Historic racing car
Etched-metal parts
May require minor adjustments

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