McLaren was founded by one of the best Formula One drivers of the time, Bruce McLaren, winner of the United States Grand Prix at the age of just 22 in 1959. He also went on to win the Argentine Grand Prix in 1960 and Monaco Grand Prix in 1962, before founding Bruce McLaren Motor Racing the following year in 1963. Bruce McLaren sadly passed away due to an accident whilst testing one of his own cars in June 1970.
As founder Bruce McLaren was from New Zealand, the first logo for McLaren Motor Racing featured a kiwi bird. This was designed by artist Michael Turner in 1964, though was increasingly streamlined in later redesigns as McLaren grew bigger on the global stage until it eventually became the one we are familiar with today.
McLaren went through several colour changes in the early days before settling on its trademark colouring, including white and green, silver, and red. It wasn’t until 1967, 4 years after its founding, that the idea to go orange was first introduced.
Bruce McLaren’s business partner at the time, Teddy Mayer, had spotted a car with a similar orange colouring at a British race meeting and believed that adopting a similar colour would help their cars stand out on black and white TVs at the time. The new-look made its F1 debut in March 1968 at the Race of Champions, which Bruce went on to win – not a bad start!