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If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ’em, says the new McLaren Elva

If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ’em, says the new McLaren Elva

Dejan Jovanovic 1 year ago

A lack of road going tradition doesn’t seem to bother McLaren – Woking’s solution is to just buy the rights to other brand names. Hence, the new ultra expensive McLaren Elva…

Although the racing side of things goes back decades, McLaren Automotive has quite a short history so the Woking manufacturer kind of has to clutch at straws when it comes to production heritage. This time the Brits decided they can lay claim to the historic Elva name, celebrating a design from the 1960s developed by company founder Bruce McLaren.


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Elva used to race near the front of the pack 50 years ago, powered by anything the chassis could fit – Elvas came with DKW, BMW, Cooper, Coventry Climax, Porsche, Ford, MG, and Lotus engines, but it’s the McLaren-Elva M1A we’re talking about today.

This connection was dusted off to inspire the new 2020 McLaren Elva roadster, designed for the most committed and most moneyed enthusiasts around. After acquiring the rights to the name, McLaren developed the new Elva into the lightest road car the company ever put out – they went as far as ditching the roof and even the windshield entirely.

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Made top to bottom using carbon fibre, the Elva utilises what the Brits call the McLaren Active Air Management System, which shelters your mug from bugs by manipulating air to flow over the occupants, so they can enjoy the open cockpit without all the associated hassle.

McLaren’s familiar, and only, V8 twin-turbocharged engine develops 804 horsepower here, like the Senna, to deliver zero to 100km/h acceleration runs in under three seconds and a zero to 200km/h run quicker than the ballistic Senna.

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Woking’s people say they’ll only produce 399 examples, with each one priced from $1,690,000 before you start fiddling with the personalisation options from the company’s McLaren Special Operations department.

Engineers went to great lengths to keep the weight to a minimum, although McLaren isn’t revealing any final figures. In any case the 2020 Elva won’t challenge the 1960s original on that front since the old M1A flatters the scales with a kerb figure of just over 550 kilos, complete with a hulking Oldsmobile V8 engine.

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As standard your millions don’t even get you a sound system (although you can pay extra to have one installed) all in the name of saving weight, and the front clamshell is made of 1.2mm thin carbon fibre. They didn’t even bother with any carpet, so you just get a bare carbon fibre floor instead, while titanium brake callipers save a total of 250 grams per corner.

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That kind of attention to detail will cost you dearly – still, if you want one of the 399 McLaren Elvas you’d best get on the blower sharpish because these things are about to become instant collectibles.


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