A few months after Mclaren’s Elva low-volume speedster was revealed, the company’s MSO division has gone a step further and painted one orange. I gotta tell ya, it works, even though I never really liked the Elva.
Though I’ve had a little more than four months to work on assimilating the Elva’s windshield-less image into my mind, I still didn’t really get it or care about it. Ferrari and Bentley have both joined this whole “massively expensive and insanely impractical limited-run roadster” game recently with the SP1 Monza and the Bacalar respectively. It seems like a fad that’ll be around for a bit. And while they are no doubt exciting cars to drive, I just never really got it. Until now.
This Elva brought it all together for me. Painted to honour Bruce McLaren and his Chevy-powered M6A from his winning 1967 Can-Am season, it really shows that Mclaren was born from open-top racing, that even when doing its hardest to impress its top customers with something outrageous, it has to keep itself tied to the designs, ethos, and emotions that motivated Bruce in his quest for speed.
Painted like a Can-Am car, the Elva’s shape looks a lot more impressive to me than it did when we first saw the car earlier this year. Andrew was wowed but I found it hard to care. Why should we get excited about a car like this, which is nothing like anything we will ever drive and which will probably sit in a garage until time immemorial?
Still, the specs were nothing to laugh at. According to Motor1, The M6A-liveried Elva by MSO, or Mclaren Special Operations, are the same as the regular Elva. A turbocharged four-litre V8 making 804 horsepower. That’s a great deal more than the original M6A made from its Chevy V8 back in 1967, so I’m sure this thing will be an awful lot to handle. Maybe it’s a good thing this car will probably sit in a collection, then.
So even though I didn’t really get it at first, I think I’m back on track. Now, though, I understand why Mclaren, whose line has largely consisted of rather cold and calculating cars like the original MP4-12C and the more recent 570S might have its hand at something so seemingly frivolous. Because it really isn’t so frivolous after all. The Elva is an honest attempt to recreate the kind of cars that Bruce built and drove before his last name would be attached to road cars. And I think that’s awesome. The only thing that would make it more awesome is seeing it race. Maybe someday…