McLaren Elva production cut from 399 units to 249

Jonathon Ramsey


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In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt revealed the production quota for the new Elva speedster will drop from 399 units to 249. The boss explained lopping volume by 38% with, "the feedback from our customers is that they think the car should be more exclusive than that, so we’ve capped it at 249.”

While it's to be expected that owners investing $1.7 million in a specialized road car would promote exclusivity — and thereby residual values — it seems dubious that McLaren would return 150 down payments if the automaker had 399 orders. More likely, the global market for windscreen-less roadsters, no matter how technologically advanced, couldn't absorb all 399 Elvas on top of 500 total Ferrari SP1 and SP2 Monzas, 88 Aston Martin V12 Speedsters, 40 Pagani Huayra BC Roadsters, and 12 Bentley Bacalars.   

The production revision puts the Elva in company with the McLaren F1. Ron Dennis would have built more F1 road cars, but the market (just 20 years ago!) wasn't ready for a supercar that cost $810,000 before special requests, so production ended after 106 road and racing chassis' and a complete set of parts for another. The Elva represents technical high points for McLaren, too, being the company's lightest-ever car outside the F1, able to hit 62 miles per hour in under three seconds, and announcing its presence with the dual-exit "Nirvana" titanium exhaust. The handling, designed to be less intense than that of the Senna but more supple than that of the Speedtail, kept engineers up late due to the Elva being lighter than the Senna yet more powerful.

Nevertheless, even without sharing its rear lights with an Italian bus, as the F1 did, the Elva may have had a hard time convincing shoppers it deserved to be the second-most-expensive model in the carmaker's Ultimate Series range, at the same time as being the least practical. The Elva runs about $700,000 more than the Senna and $500,000 less than the Speedtail. A lightly used P1 can be had for as low as $1.2 million.

Autocar writes that build slots are still open for the model Flewitt called "a uniquely modern car that delivers the ultimate connection between driver, car and the elements," and if you're in the market, their values just went up. McLaren will begin building Elvas when Speedtail production ends later this year or early next.

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