May 4, 2015 By Mike Lee
Last updated on July 29, 2021

McLaren LogoBrief History About McLaren

McLaren Automotive was founded in 1989 in England by Ron Dennis. It produces road cars for McLaren, which was originally founded in 1963 by New Zealander Bruce McLaren as Bruce McLaren Motor Racing. There are several off-shoots (divisions/groups or whatever you may want to call them) of McLaren which is complicated to explain and write down.

Bruce wanted to build endurance race cars, but regulations required a number of roads cars (at least 50) for homologation, which was a problem, so was born the idea to transform the project into building a super fast car. The car that was built was the 1970 M6GT, but unfortunately when Bruce was tragically killed at Goodwood that same year, the project was cancelled, with few cars built.

Not much happened with McLaren road car development for the next 20 years, although in 1980 McLaren partnered with Ford and built the McLaren M81 Mustang.

McLaren Racing Limited was very successful though with Formula 1 world championship racing, but McLaren needed to build a sustainable business, so they set about to build the 1992 and aptly named McLaren F1 (the world’s fastest production car with a 243 mph top speed set in 1998).

In 1999 a joint venture between McLaren and Daimler-Chrysler saw them build the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

McLaren have continued to develop their road cars and have built several more models, listed below. They also setup McLaren Special Operations (MSO) to create personalised bespoke specifications for their customers.

McLaren F1
F1 1992-1998

McLaren MP4 12C
MP4 12C 2011-2014

McLaren P1
P1 2013-2015

McLaren 650S
650S 2014-2017

McLaren 675LT
675LT 2015-2017

McLaren 570S
570S 2015 on and 570GT 2016 on

McLaren 570S
540c 2015

McLaren 720S
720S 2017 on and 765LT 2020 on

McLaren 600LT
600LT 2018 on

McLaren Senna
Senna 2018

GT 2019

Elva 2020

(See Mercedes for Mercedes SLR McLaren)