Arguably the coolest car McLaren has built in the last two decades, the roofless Elva, is getting a follow-up. As you probably know, the Elva up to this point has been available without a windshield, including instead a small rectangular air deflector at the nose to push air up and over the cockpit. With a weight of just 1,300 kg and engine output of 804 horsepower, the wind-in-your-face audacity of this machine kicked all kinds of arse. Well, now McLaren is neutering that experience by offering the Elva with a goddamn windshield. The one thing that made this car cool is gone, and it sucks shit now.
These days Hollywood is more or less known for finding something that works and grinding the concept into the ground. Two of my favourite movie experiences in recent years — Knives Out and A Quiet Place — are unique ideas which worked extremely well and told fun stories in a landscape of sequels, reboots, and cinematic universes. And now they’re both getting fucking sequels. Can’t you just leave a good thing alone and let it stand on its merits? Nope, that’s not the way the world works anymore. Whether you’re Lionsgate or McLaren, you need to squeeze as much blood from the stone as you can muster.
The windshield apparatus adds a whopping 20 kg to the ostensibly flyweight McLaren supercar. And while this windshield Elva won’t have a roof or side windows, this feels like a total bastardization of the original intent of the car. As these ridiculously expensive hype machines get more powerful, faster and quicker with every subsequent model, it’s impossible to make a car which provides driver engagement at sane legal road speeds these days. The Elva doesn’t have the fancy suspension tech or hybrid systems of its hypercar siblings, but it gives the driver a level of oneness with the vehicle not provided by those others. Take away the one thing that helped provide that, the thing that made this car much more like a motorcycle in that respect, and what’s the point?
Only 149 examples of the Elva will be built in total, and McLaren says the windshield models will be among the rarest McLarens of all time. If you’re buying an Elva, do you really want to half arse it? Don’t buy this windshield bullshit. Save your money and get a convertible 720 instead. If you want an actually cool McLaren, get the one that will make you feel fucking alive. Get some bugs in your teeth. I bet you aren’t cool enough to do it.