If you’ve ever sat in a convertible and thought you couldn’t feel the wind in your hair strongly enough, McLaren might just have the car for you with its newly revealed Elva – a true open-cockpit supercar inspired by one of company founder Bruce McLaren’s 1960s racecars of the same name.

Starting at a whopping US$1.69 million – that’s getting on for $2.5 million Australian – just 399 examples of what McLaren bills as “a ferociously fast open-cockpit car” are set to be made, which, if anything, almost seems like a surprisingly high number for a car like this.

And by a car like this, I mean a car that has no roof, windscreen, or side windows at all, with these savings adding up to make this the company’s lightest car ever, helping out the weight reduction efforts already made with its carbon tub, fully-carbon bodywork, and single-hinged doors that are the smallest and lightest McLaren has ever fitted to a car. Curiously, its actual kerb weight hasn’t been confirmed, but they have still laid this claim out there regardless.

There are a few very exciting numbers that have been confirmed, however. Power? A round 600kW and 800Nm from a mid-mounted 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8. 0-100km/h? Less than three seconds. 0-200km/h? A mere 6.7 seconds.

Of course, these figures would change if you option on a windscreen – something customers will be able to do in certain markets, and it wouldn’t be surprising for some stricter countries, like here in Australia, to mandate the fitment of one – but the Elva’s design has clearly been oriented around there being a lack of one in front of the open cabin.

To protect occupants from having their faces turn inside out at the blistering speeds its capable of, special air channels through the nose of the car that direct air over the passenger’s heads is intended to keep occupants from being blown about too much, and an active air deflector positioned after the air channel exit in front of the dashboard rises around 15cm out of the dashboard to counter for the wind at higher speeds. Hopefully, it’ll be to the benefit of taller drivers out there, too.

The Elva, right, pictured alongside its namesake, the McLaren-Elva M1A

The aerodynamic details don’t end there, either, as the Elva also features an active rear wing and a completely flat undercarriage to help it cut through the air and stick to the tarmac like glue.

Aside from a lack of window switches, the Elva’s ‘interior’ looks pretty par for the course for the current McLaren range in terms of the portrait-oriented infotainment system and digital gauge cluster. However, more unique options such as six-point race harnesses and extra-grippy and hydrophobic ‘Ultrafabric’ upholstery are available. The small storage space behind the cockpit is billed as being able to fit two helmets, by the way.

If you’re lucky enough to ever see one of these things on the road, which will no doubt be a very rare occurrence, don’t expect it to be until around this time next year, with initial deliveries scheduled for late 2020. There’s no word as to whether it’ll be available – or even legal – in Australia as yet.

Patrick Jackson
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