- Image from Bringatrailer. Photography by MCarter.
Image from McLaren

Image from McLaren

McLaren recently revealed their new limited edition roadster, the Elva. Powered by the 4.0L twin-turbo V8 from the Senna, the lightest car in the McLaren lineup can accelerate from 0-200kph in only 6.7 seconds. Now that is how long a Ford Fiesta ST200 takes to reach 100kph. The car is definitely charming, but the cost is not really good for your mental health; it costs a whopping 1.7 million dollars. However, if you could buy the ‘original’ McLaren Elva M1 at a fraction of that price, would you still buy the new Elva?

Image from Bringatrailer.com. Photography by MCarter.

Image from Bringatrailer.com. Photography by MCarter.

This McLaren Elva, or to be precise, the McLaren Elva M1B, is currently listed at Bringatrailer.com, a popular auction site. If you see a resemblance between this Elva and ‘that’ new Elva, you are correct. The new Elva is built as an homage to the 1960s McLaren Elva M1 series that raced in Can-Am. The McLaren Elva M1 was the first sports-racing car McLaren had built and was designed by the mastermind, Bruce McLaren. The McLaren Elva had raced in various championships, including Can-Am.

Image from Bringatrailer.com.

Image from Bringatrailer.com.

It was the McLaren M1B that raced in the inaugural season of 1966 Can-Am. Bruce McLaren himself finished third in the season with an M1B with a Ford V8, while this car driven by Peter Revson with a Ford V8 finished tenth. Peter Revson later raced as McLaren’s Formula 1, Indy Car, and Can-Am driver and achieved two F1 race victories in the McLaren M23. In 1967, this car raced in the United States Road Racing Championship and Can-Am by Jerry Entin.

Image from Bringatrailer.com. Photography by MCarter.

Image from Bringatrailer.com. Photography by MCarter.

This McLaren M1B is currently powered by a 6.1L Chevy small-block engine instead of the rather uncompetitive Ford/Traco V8, which was swapped in the 1967 season and is mated to a four-speed Hewland gearbox. The engine is equipped with quad Weber 48 IDA carburetors and a Callies crankshaft producing around 500~550hp. The bodywork is done in fibreglass, further reducing weight.

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However, it is not the numbers and the facts that makes this car special. Like any other Can-Am cars of the era, this car is a savage monster. There are no TCS, ABS, and all the electronic gizmos, but rather pure automotive thrill. Of course the car requires a lot of experience to drive it properly around a track. But, the reward that it gives you will be incomparable to any other contemporary supercar.

Image from Bringatrailer.com. Photography by MCarter.

Image from Bringatrailer.com. Photography by MCarter.

This McLaren is one of 28 M1Bs ever built and carries significant racing pedigree and history. The car is officially registered on the HMSA logbooks and is approved as an original by the Bruce McLaren truth documentation. Despite the amazing story the car carries, the current bid is at a rather modest $200,000. So, if you are a McLaren enthusiast but do not have the wallet to buy the new McLaren Elva, go and make your bid right now.

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Image from McLaren

Image from McLaren

At the end of the day...

When comparing the new McLaren Elva and this M1B, it seems that the new McLaren Elva has no justification for its price. Yes, the new Elva is road legal and has some fancy tricks that create a ‘virtual windshield’, but that does not really justify the $1.7M price tag. Of course it will be faster than the M1B around the track, but the question is, “Is it going to be fun as the M1B?”

Image from Bringatrailer.com. Photography by MCarter.

Image from Bringatrailer.com. Photography by MCarter.

McLaren boasts that the new Elva is the lightest in the current McLaren lineup, which means it will be lighter than the 1224kg Senna. However, the M1B only weighs 590kg, which is about half the weight of the Senna. When comparing the power to weight ratio, the M1B scores 932hp/t while the McLaren Elva comes to a modest 670hp/t. Of course, power to weight ratios are not the definitive measurement of the fun you will have in a car, but we already know from experience that the lighter the car, the more fun it is.

Image from Bringatrailer.com. Photography by MCarter.

Image from Bringatrailer.com. Photography by MCarter.

To conclude, the new McLaren Elva is for the rich. I mean like ‘really’ rich people who have $1.7 million to spare. In contrast, the M1B is even cheaper, while providing a higher feel of speed and power. The M1B shows that it does not require you to be a billionaire to experience the sheer savageness of a McLaren. $200,000 is not a small sum of money for a lot of people. However, when you can be a part of McLaren's history, I am pretty sure it is worth every penny.

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