The Petersen Automotive Museum welcomes a new exhibit this summer to celebrate McLaren and its founder, acclaimed New Zealand racecar driver Bruce McLaren.
Famed not only for being impressive on the track, Bruce McLaren carved a sport for himself in the automotive racing industry as a designer, engineer, inventor, and team principal. This feat was extraordinary in and of itself, but his contributions to the sport did not stop there. After establishing Bruce McLaren Motor Racing, this enigmatic personality and company went on to design what are considered some of the most outstanding and creative racecars in the motor racing world. Furthermore, the legacy built by McLaren endured even after Bruce passed away in the early seventies. So much so that the McLaren racing team still maintains the title of the second-most successful racing team in Formula 1 history.
The exhibit, called “The Color of Success: McLaren’s Papaya Livery”, just opened June 18th to the public. In addition to the cars representative of several racing disciplines, The Color of Success also features vital moments of the team’s 60-year history. Automotive enthusiasts can experience this exclusive look at the iconic racing and road creations in the Charles Nearburg Family Gallery, located on the museum’s second floor.
The principal focus of the display will be McLaren’s ‘papaya orange’ period. Even though there are a couple of theories as to why McLaren chose this distinctive color, there is no doubt that it made these cars stand out and quickly became a representative trait of this team’s automobiles. The ground-breaking racecars displayed are examples of the early racing vehicles created and constructed by McLaren from Can-Am, Formula 1, USAC, Formula 2, and Formula 5000.
Among the crown jewels is the 1967 McLaren M6A. This historic car was developed in only eleven weeks. It was the first to be characterized by the now familiar and beloved papaya orange, not to mention that it also marked the start of McLaren’s Can-Am racing dominance era.
Other more modern cars will also be exhibited. In fact, the last racecar Fernando Alonso piloted, the 2018 MCL33 Formula 1 racer, will also form part of the show. The striking new livery for this car was inspired directly from the classical papaya orange but also included blue, yellow, and red stripes as an homage to Spain, Alonso’s country of origin.
Additionally, unique creations like the 1969 M6 GT and the M16 will also be part of this diverse collection. Even if the M6 GT project was unfortunately canceled after the untimely death of its creator, it was still the blueprint for all McLaren road cars. The M16 showcases the span of knowledge McLaren possessed regarding motorsports and was the winner of the Indianapolis 500 in both 1974 and 1976.
The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles invites visitors to take a closer look into the life and work of an important racing figurehead whose racecars and company have led the way in design and performance.