Peter Revson was a wealthy playboy type, but a talented racer. McLaren was a noted and successful race car maker. Their link-up in 1971 was historic and launched a successful era for both at the Indianapolis 500.
Revson, the heir to the Revlon cosmetics fortune had tried his hand at F1 racing in Europe, but to no success, so returned to the United States. He hooked up with Brabham in 1969 for the Indy 500 and barely made the show, starting last but finishing fifth. He was onto something.
Meanwhile, McLaren was getting ready to dip its toes into the IndyCar world and was rapidly seeing success in Can-Am racing. McLaren’s M16 IndyCar racer that borrowed its wedge shape from Lotus came to Indy in 1971 via Team McLaren, with Revson and F1 World Champ Denny Hulme, plus Roger Penske’s team with driver Mark Donohue.
This Replicarz 1/18 die-cast gem is of Revson’s 1972 model, which is similar to his successful 1971 mount, and nearly identical to Donohue’s car, that won the 1972 race. Replicarz also recently released that Donohue car.
Revson would qualify the M16 at a record 178.696 mph to win the Indy 500 pole position in 1971, while Donohue would start second and Hulme fourth. While Al Unser Sr. would win the race, Revson finished second. And later that year Donohue would win the Pocono 500 in his M16. Variations of the M16 would race at Indy for several more years and Johnny Rutherford would win the Indy 500 twice, in 1974 and 1976 in a McLaren. He was second in 1975, so the car has a rich IndyCar history.
The M16 upped the downforce ante in 1971 and for several years to come with its sleek wedge-shaped nose and nose wings and a giant rear wing that extended well back of the rear wheels to help balance the car. It was powered by the then dominant 2.6-liter Offenhauser 4-cylinder engine. The Offy was mated with a Hewland 3-speed gearbox, which was one more gear than most traditional Indy cars ran at the time. The extra gear was to give it more torque and oomph leaving the pits.
For 1972, the McLaren’s nose was shortened and new wings designed, plus the suspension reworked. It proved a winning formula. Donohue won the race in his McLaren, but teammate Gary Bettenhausen dominated the race, leading 138 laps. Revson qualified second that year at 192.885 mph, but dropped out after 23 laps with gearbox problems. He finished 31st. Ironically, polesitter Bobby Unser dropped out a few laps later to finish 30th, so the quickest two cars were eliminated early.
This die-cast beauty is bathed in McLaren’s famous Papaya Orange paint scheme with blue trim to reflect the Gulf Oil sponsorship colors. The front wings are blue and the nose’s No. 12 are blue, as is the Gulf McLaren logo. Side and wing numbers are blue too, but atop a white circle. Rear wing end plates are white with Goodyear and Gulf logos.
There are a few other logos, such as Champion spark plugs, but really the cars of this era were still relatively free of sponsorship clutter. Revson’s name is in script on either side of the cockpit and there’s a white Goodyear sticker on either side of the windscreen.
There’s wiring from the dash down into the racer’s nose and more wiring and tubing running alongside the driver’s cockpit to the engine and cooling units in back. The cockpit itself is simple, with a reclining black seat and safety belts with photo-etched clasps and buckles. The wheel is a black flat-bottomed number and there are just three dash gauges and an orange-handled shifter to the right of the wheel.
PE radiator covers are at the rear of the McLaren’s sidepods and suspension pieces, while plastic, are painted a matte silver to give a realistic look. Mirrors, roll bar and the header cover and tube to the turbocharger are all chrome. The exhaust pipe is more of a darker weathered silvery gray to appear as if the engine has been run.
Engine detail is among the best yet from Replicarz and you can see the orange shock towers below the rear suspension, complete with black springs.
The car rides on branded Goodyear slicks and the wheels are four-spoke blackened chrome.
This is a beautiful racer right down to the tiny radio antenna atop the cowl just in front of the cockpit. Cool car, cool color and loaded with Indy history. You need one!
Stock No.: R184826