McLaren gives its windscreen-free Elva... a windscreen

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Words: Matthew Hansen   |   Photos Supplied / Alex Schultz
28 May 2021

Overnight McLaren unveiled a new version of its mega-rare Elva supercar. A car that was seemingly designed specifically to not have a windscreen has now been given a windscreen by the British marque.

The new windscreen appears very traditional, making the Elva look a lot like other drop-top models in the McLaren line-up. Along with the visual change, McLaren also confirmed a reduction in production run. Initially 399 were going to be built, then the number was dropped to 249, and now it’s been dropped to 149.

As per the last Elva, this tweaked version gets the Senna's 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. Here, it makes a neat 600kW of power and 800Nm of torque. This sends the screen-free Elva to 100km/h in under three seconds and 200km/h in 6.7 seconds — although this new windscreen is likely to have added a few tenths to the tally.

On a ‘normal’ Elva the lack of a windscreen means the bodywork drips into the cockpit via the gloss surfaces that make up the dashboard and tops of the doors. But it’s slightly different here, with a traditional black dashboard having been recruited to sit behind the windscreen.

A traditional McLaren steering wheel is complemented by a portrait touchscreen infotainment system and a digital instrument cluster.

“Roofless and without windows, whether you opt for the screenless model with its sophisticated AAMS technology that provides an invisible barrier of air, or the windscreen version with an additional level of enclosure, this is a roadster that rewards owners with the most exhilarating of open-air driving experiences, delivered as only a McLaren can”, said CEO Mike Flewitt.

One has to question whether the Elva has been a successful project for the brand, given the drop in production run and the new windscreen’s dilution of the original concept (presumably in the hopes it will attract more customers).

The looks of the new model were a keen talking point in the NZ Autocar office this morning. Our in-house designer Alex Schultz had an interesting idea — why not fit the car with an ‘aero-screen’ style windscreen like the old McLarens racers it was initially designed to pay homage to? His above render is the result.

The curved glass would undoubtedly be an expensive exercise to produce, but the result is a car that still looks unlike any other McLaren and still honours the brand’s old-school past in a clear manner. Paired with a picture of McLaren’s old Can-Am machines, it makes a lot of sense.

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