An early production McLaren “High Wing” model the M10A was produced for the F5000 racing series and featured a cigar tube shaped monocoque based on McLaren’s excellent M7A Formula 1 car, whilst designed by the McLaren team based at Colnbrook, Middlesex, the customer cars for sale to privateers were constructed by the Trojan factory in Croydon, south London.
This M10A was the mount of George Eaton, the youngest son of the famous Eaton family of Canada. Eaton had ordered two McLarens for the 69 season, this M10A for the F5000 series and an M12 in which he would campaign the Canadian-American or Can Am challenge. Hit by delay after delay in delivery, the engineless M10 would finally make its way across the Atlantic to Canada by way of New York and with only weeks to spare before the start of the racing season. The story goes that it almost didn’t make it, held up again, this time by Customs officials at the border, the season was very much in doubt, but a tenacious Eaton soldiered on and campaign it he did, although it turned out to be a bitter sweet F5000 debut, DNF’s and crashes littered the season but the highlight was a well deserved win at Trois Rivers circuit in Canada.
To read the story of George Eaton’s adventures in the 1969 F5000 Championships and the Can Am series there is an excellent book entitled “Five Minutes to Green” by the famous Canadian sports journalist Frank Orr.
History of the M10
The M10s became highly successful in both A and later B guise winning the vast majority of races in the US, British and European F5000 series, the works M10B’s were driven nose to tail by Peter Gethin and Howden Ganley around the 1.8 mile Castle Coombe circuit in southern England breaking the lap record in a blistering 56.6 seconds, a record whichy still holds to this day. Like Gethin and Ganley, Eaton would go on to drive Formula 1 for the BRM team in England.
We found this M10A in a sleepy little place called Sunol, it had been owned by an Ex F5000 club racer who’d bought the car in 1976 and had kept it in his garage in pieces ever since, one of those “when I get around to” projects, that’s the smiling chap in the top right picture, Mr. Jim Jensen, an ex-Peterbuilt truck designer and privateer racer, Jim’s owned and driven a plethora of great racing cars back to the late 1960s. When we bought the “10” it had no chassis plate and no identification, it was whilst pouring over photographs of the 1969 season that it was noticed that Eaton’s car was unusual in that its ignition coil was mounted on the Roll hoop, this we were to discover was because Ryan Falconer of Falconer Engineering had been commissioned to build a one-off Fuel Injection system employing a Mercedes 500 Bosch Fuel Injection pump and an inlet manifold of his own design, fitting required cutting the body tub just aft of the drivers head to clear the required drive belts, hence the coil was mounted on the hoop, apparently the Eaton team were friends with Carol Shelby and this work was performed at his shop in Southern California. Like pulling a thread on a cotton sweater the coil mounting was a clue that led to other pointers proving the cars identity, such as damage sustained during a race at Sonoma’s Infineon Raceway which left part of the front left monocoque cut and repaired, excellent help from both Howden Ganley and Jerry Entin and the trail led all the way back to George Eaton who kindly signed both the steering wheel and my copy of “Five Minutes To Green”
This car has been sold and is currently in New Zealand