News: McLaren Cuts 150 Units From Elva Production Run

McLaren Cuts 150 Units From Elva Production Run

James Gent By James Gent
April 4, 2020
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McLaren has confirmed that its original 399-unit production run for the new Ultimate Series Elva will be slashed by 150 as a means to increase exclusivity and in response to the changeable market. Simultaneously, McLaren Special Operations has also introduced two new heritage themes for the new two-new seater based in tribute to Bruce McLaren’s early racing career.

Production of the new Elva, inspired by and named after the UK-based company that manufactured and supported McLaren’s successful M1A in the 1970s, is set to begin when Woking’s planned run of 106 Speedtails draws to a close in early 2021. The lightweight, two-seater – which apes its M1A forbear by going without a windshield – joins the P1, the Senna and the aforementioned Speedtail in the marque’s top tier Ultimate Series, and retails at a suitably herculean £1.4 million (around $1.83 million USD).

Customers can now also choose between two limited edition themes for their new Elva courtesy of Woking’s customisation arm, McLaren Special Operations. One, the ‘Elva M6A Theme by MSO’, pays homage to the M6A that took Bruce McLaren to the first of his five Can-Am titles in 1967. Finished in ‘Anniversary Orange’ in deference to the company’s original racing colours, the M6A features a Dove Grey stripe, 10-spoke Diamond Cut wheels, and the ‘4’ race number he took to the title in 1967. This would be the first of two Can-Am titles for Bruce as a driver (’67 and ’69), and the first of five in succession for Bruce McLaren Motor Racing.

The other, perhaps more notable theme however is the ‘Elva M1A Theme by MSO’. This features a Magnesium Silver racing stripe on top of the base black paint that runs along the flanks, across the front splitter and up the bonnet, an Accent Red pinstripe and the same ‘4’ race number. It’s also the theme that pays closest tribute to the original Group 7-spec M1A of 1964.

Replacing McLaren’s successful though heavily battle-scarred Zerex Special, the M1A, designed by McLaren himself, featured an innovative, tubular steel magnesium alloy reinforced spaceframe chassis as rigid as it was lightweight (the whole car weighed just 551kg). Mounted to that was a 4.5-litre V8 sourced from Oldsmobile capable of a mighty 340bhp, while fully independent wishbone suspension raised few questions about maneuverability. As indeed did the M1A’s shakedown test at Goodwood in early 1964: the Kiwi’s 1m 21.6s laptime was more than THREE seconds faster than his previous best with the Zerex Special, and undercut Graham Hill’s lap record aboard an F1-spec BRM by almost half a second.

Unfortunately, though the M1A equaled the Mosport Park lap record four times and smashed it a further seven times on its debut at the 1964 Canadian Sports Car Grand Prix in Ontario, Canada, McLaren could only finish 3rd overall and a couple of laps adrift of the all-conquering North American Racing Team-entered Ferrari 330 P1s of Ludovico Scarfiotti and winner Pedro Rodriguez. That didn’t stop customer demand quickly overwhelming McLaren’s seven in-house mechanics though, and just two months after the M1A’s debut, the company had outsourced most of its orders to sports car specialist Elva Cars Ltd, a stone’s throw from its HQ. In total, just over 20 of the McLaren-Elva Mark 1s were produced, most of which were still racing in 1970 – while Bruce began development of the follow-up, M1B and, later, the M6A. Can-Am history awaited.

*Images courtesy of McLaren Automotive.

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