McLaren. Say it again out loud. McLaren. It sounds like the name of a pub you’d find on Yonge or Crescent street. Fine, it would be called “McLaren’s” but you get the point…
Actually, McLaren is one of the biggest, most storied and successful racing brands you’ve never heard of. If you’re a car or racing fan, you’re well aware that this Woking, Surrey, United Kingdom based firm has fathered some incredible technology and a few very exceptional and highly coveted road and race-bred cars.
The story behind the brand is that of genius breeding success. Bruce McLaren, the company’s namesake, was an accomplished racer and laid the foundation for what McLaren is today. While McLaren continued on with its racing program, it was Gordon Murray who was at the helm of McLaren when the highly advanced F1 road car was born.
The legendary F1 was built between 1993 and 1998 and instantly became a poster-child for “fast and exotic.” All 64 examples of this clearly rare car are worth millions, even Mr. Bean’s (that he famously smashed, and on more than one occasion). The hiatus between it and the MP4/12C may have been nearly 12 years, but the wait was well worth it. Instantly, the MP4 began knocking boots with and knocking out some heavy hitters like the Ferrari 458 and Lamborghini Gallardo.
2,000 MP4/12C were made and consequently sold ($240k US base price) to a well-heeled crowd of discerning luxury and supercar buyers. A Spider version was also offered (production 2009 to 2014). Its popularity and the hype surrounding the car egged the brand on to expand their portfolio.
The 650S (build one for fun) took over from the 12C, inspired in large part by the fantabulous P1 hyper-car. The 650’s success is undeniable, especially as a Spider. This explains why it will solely be offered in this body-style very shortly. The 675LT is next, and will be the brand’s newest supercar. If you want one of these make haste, as only 500 will be assembled.
About the P1: only 375 were made and all are spoken for. The one you see in the pictures was just sold for more than twice the original asking price (yes, for over $2.5 million). If you’re lucky enough to see one in the flesh in Canada, know that it is 1 of only 10 in this country.
As for all McLarens, there are currently 200 on the road in Canada. The market share is of 30/30/20 TO/VAN/MTL respectively. In the next little while numbers are expected to triple thanks to the 540C (only available in Canada) and 570S (US and Canada).
The Sport Series of McLaren cars will make this happen. The 540C will be the entry-level McLaren (LOL) with a retail price of $196,500. The 570S will tip the pricing scale at $219,750. From there, sky’s the limit, especially if you delve into McLaren Special Operations; these are the origins of the word “bespoke.”
Now, it’s fine if the company has cars to offer, but if you can’t see or test-drive a car before you buy it, this could be a problem. At the moment, there are 2 McLaren dealers in Canada: one in Toronto and one in Vancouver. A third dealer will open in Montreal by spring of 2016.
Unlike niche brands such as Fisker and Spyker, McLaren is here to stay, and not only because their name doesn’t end in “ker.” They’ve got the clout and desirability factor that all luxury makes aspire to achieve.
At this point, I just hope to achieve some wheel time in the near future…