Having passed through several owners, in the 1990s McLaren’s car was put up for sale by international blind tender, with single sealed bids. The highest bid was the winner.
“I’d wanted a Jaguar since I collected cereal-box cards of the Le Mans-winning Jaguars as a boy,” Bruce says. “Moving around so much in my career, I’d never been able to indulge that passion until settling in Melbourne. When I heard a Mk2 Jaguar first owned by Bruce McLaren was for sale, I couldn’t resist it.”
McLaren reputedly availed himself of all the performance options available. “He used it as his reconnaissance car, to familiarise himself with circuits,” Bruce says. “Later his father owned it in New Zealand, where Stirling Moss and Denny Hulme drove it, before it came to Australia.”
Bruce, an industrial economist, did his sums. But his wife Anne told him not to bid like an accountant, but to “add a thousand to your bid”.
Soon after, there was a call to say the car was his, with a bid $1000 higher than the next.
“Now I treat his car like a mobile shrine,” Bruce says, “although I am sure that McLaren tinkered with it for maximum performance.”
Photos: Shannon Morris