Some believe Formula 1 enjoyed its golden era during the ’70s and ’80s. If that’s when you grew up, there’s a good chance you spent more than a few summer Sunday afternoons glued to the grand prix coverage on the family television set – and if your parents were sufficiently well-heeled to own one which received images in glorious colour, the red and white livery of the Marlboro-sponsored McLarens will undoubtedly be etched on your memory.
In those days, every F1 meeting seemed to hold a thrill around each corner, and the 1982 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch was no exception. In a scenario that currently seems alien in our post-Covid world, the event attracted a record crowd of 100,000 on a perfect sun-soaked July day – and the drama started even before the race got underway, with Keke Rosberg being forced to relinquish pole position when his Williams refused to move at the start of the warm-up lap.
No sooner had the flag dropped on the race proper than Riccardo Patrese’s Brabham stalled on the grid and was slammed into by René Arnoux’s Renault. Not long afterwards, Chico Serra’s Fittipaldi-Ford turned over, causing John Watson’s McLaren to spin off the circuit – and then race leader Nelson Piquet’s Brabham ground to a halt on lap 10, having started with a half-load of fuel in a strategic bid to build up an early-stage advantage.
That opened the door for Niki Lauda to dominate the race for the remaining 66 laps having started from fifth on the grid, and he took the chequered flag a full 25 seconds ahead of second-placed Didier Pironi’s Ferrari.
Now, almost 40 years later, that actual McLaren MP4/1B-6 driven to victory by Lauda is up for sale with London dealer Fiskens in on-the-button, ready-to-race condition.
As well as being important due to the win (which helped McLaren to second place in that season’s Constructors’ Championship) this MP4 is historically significant in being an example of the pioneering ground-effect design conceived by John Barnard of Ron Dennis’s Project Four Racing, which made it the first ever F1 car to feature a now de rigueur carbon fibre composite chassis.
In its current ownership the car has won two FIA Historic F1 Championships, having been meticulously restored by TAG-McLaren for the company collection, complete with a brand new monocoque.
And with its correct Ford Cosworth 3-litre V8 engine emitting its legendary banshee wail, the car is nothing if not evocative, as demonstrated in the recent video footage of dealer Gregor Fisken driving it in anger on the Fiskens TV YouTube channel.
If you didn’t feel nostalgic for ’80s motor sport before, you almost certainly will after watching it. If not, well – there might be something wrong…
1982 McLaren MP4/1B-6 (M10). Ex-Niki Lauda
On sale with Fiskens, 14 Queen’s Gate Place Mews, London SW7 5BQ
Tel: 020 7584 3503