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Bonzo's Big Banger: The 'Led Zeppelin McLaren'

Bonzo's Big Banger: The 'Led Zeppelin McLaren'
Photo by Derek de Jager

Led Zeppelin's John 'Bonzo' Bonham was a simple soul. Not for him the mysteries of the tarot pack or Aleister Crowley's Magick, Book 4. When at home at his Worcestershire farm, a few pints of beer and his close family nearby were enough to keep the band's powerhouse drummer more than happy. He also liked cars and bikes. So much so that, in the band's 1976 film The Song Remains the Same, while Plant, Page and Jones choose mystical adventures for their 'fantasy' sequences, Bonham is seen content to be at home on his Harley, playing snooker and running an AA Fueler dragster to 260mph at Santa Pod. The background music to this pastoral scene is Bonham's 'own' Zeppelin number, Moby Dick. Bonzo's Big Banger: The 'Led Zeppelin McLaren'
Photo by Derek de Jager

In 1974, Bonham had been the prime mover in the band's famous Zeppelin image appearing on British driver Kaye Griffiths' McLaren M8E/D (chassis 80-08). The car had already been running in the usually undersupported Interserie series in 1971-72, when it was owned by the Belgian VDS team. Griffiths bought it in November 1972 - minus the fearsome twin-turbocharged Chevrolet engine - and, for the following two years, entered it in several Interserie and British Formula Libre events. The car appeared in 'Led Zeppelin' livery for the May 1974 Martini International Trophy Supersports event at Silverstone, a round of the Interserie. An occasional chart-topper in Formula Libre, Griffiths spun out of contention in the big race at Silverstone. Bonzo's Big Banger: The 'Led Zeppelin McLaren'
Photo by Derek de Jager

The car's dark blue with white stars and grey 'airship' paint scheme looked stunning – seemingly straight from the airbrushes of the Hipgnosis design agency. (It was, in fact, designed by Richard Evans Design & Art Direction, Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire – not far from the drummer's home.) In recent years, the 'Led Zeppelin McLaren' has been seen in historic motor racing, in the hands of its current owners, the Moritz family in the USA.

From: Classic Driver
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September 07, 1968 - The band fulfills some old Yardbirds dates in Scandanavia
September xx, 1969 - Jimmy Page is reported saying the second album will be harder than the first
September 19, 1970 - Led Zeppelin gross over $100,000 for two performances at Madison Square Gardens on the same day
September xx, 1971 - Jimmy Page is furious over a live Yardbirds release. It was forced off the shelves
September xx, 1971 - The band vacations in Hawaii
September xx, 1972 - Discussions to play various countries ends with a decision to play Japan again
September xx, 1973 - Jimmy Page considers a live release of material before releasing a new album
September 14, 1974 - Led Zeppelin and CSN&Y jam at an after party
September xx, 1975 - Jimmy meets up with Robert in Malibu, where he is staying on a tax exile
September 12, 1976 - Page and Bonham return to Switzerland and record a drum piece title Bonzo’s Montreux
September 08, 1977 - Page takes to the stage with other well knowns at a WEA records sales conference
September 15, 1978 - Zep road manager Richard Cole and Bad Company’s Simon Kirke get married in a double ceremony
September 17, 1979 - Promoter Fred Bannister forced into liquidation over Knebworth Sales with Led Zeppelin
September 18, 1980 - Jimmy reviews a new stage set up and technical details for the Eighties Part One tour at Swan Song offices
September 25, 1980 - John Bonham is found dead in Jimmy Page’s Windsor mansion by sound technician Benji Le Fevre
September 12, 2007 - It was announced at a press conference by Harvey Goldsmith that the remaining members of Led Zeppelin would reunite with Jason Bonham on drums.
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