British supercar maker McLaren recently unveiled the Elva open-top roadster. It starts at around $1.7 million and comes with an optional windshield.
No, we’re not kidding. The Elva is a true roofless car, meaning it’s not a convertible with a folding roof mechanism. With this car, you literally don’t get a roof. You also don’t get a windshield, but McLaren will install one for additional dollars.
Despite this, the Elva is undeniably the most desirable supercar in McLaren’s stable.
The Elva has no windshield, but McLaren came with a clever solution
The standard Elva has no windshield. But in some US states, motorized vehicles are legally required to have one, and McLaren is happy to oblige when required. But even if the standard car has no windshield, McLaren came up with a clever solution to prevent oncoming air from destroying you and your passenger’s faces at higher speeds.
The McLaren Elva is equipped with an active air management system. It’s essentially a system that directs air from the nose of the car towards the cabin using a high-velocity sheet placed ahead of the cockpit. It also comprises of a small carbon fiber wind deflector that automatically rises up at the front of the vehicle. As the system forces oncoming air around the cabin, it creates which McLaren describes as a ‘bubble of calm’.
It also comes with an automatic rollover protection system
With no roof and windshield, one can only imagine how the driver and passenger will fare in the event the car flips over in a gruesome crash. However, McLaren said the Elva comes with an automatic rollover protection system, although the company didn’t specify how the safety system works.
In other convertibles, you’ll find a pair of metal roll bars behind the headrests that automatically rise up and deploy if the system detects a rollover. We assume the Elva has the same kind of system given the abundance of space on top of those gorgeous rear buttresses.
Ultimate power is standard
The McLaren Elva is the fourth model in the Ultimate Series lineup including the Senna and Speedtail. As such, it needs a mighty powerplant, and it comes in the form of a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 motor producing 804-horsepower. The engine is bolted to a seven-speed automatic feeding the rear wheels.
With this much power, the Elva accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds. In fact, it races from zero to 124 mph in 6.7-seconds, which is faster than the Senna – which is incidentally a car with a roof, windshield, and large rear wing, so the Elva is mightily impressive, indeed.
The body shape is inspired by the McLaren-Elva racecar from the mid-sixties
The new Elva pays tribute to the McLaren-Elva racecar with the same roofless, windshield-less, window-less, and rear-engine design. But instead of a race-bred turbocharged engine, the old racing car settled for an Oldsmobile-sourced V8 mounted behind the seats.
If you’re old enough to remember, no less than Elvis Presley drove the McLaren-Elva in Spinout, a musical racing movie released in 1966.
The Elva is a limited-edition model
McLaren said only 399 Elva supercars are slated for production, and it won’t come cheap. Prices are expected to start at a whopping $1.7 million, not including a roof, windshield, and exposed carbon-fiber body panels.
However, you do get a couple of niceties like an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen display, rear storage space to accommodate two helmets, and that’s basically it. We don’t even know if you get air conditioning in the Elva (given the absence of air vents in the cabin), but what’s the point?
With low production numbers and a knuckle-biting design, the McLaren Elva is destined to become a classic. The first deliveries begin near the end of 2020.