It ruins the looks but makes this a more liveable car to drive.
Speedsters seem to be all the rage lately. Aston Martin has one, as does Lamborghini with the SC20, Ferrari with its SP twins, and McLaren has the Elva. The Elva was designed as a tribute to Bruce McLaren's M1A racer of the 1960s and is limited to just 149 units, although we originally thought that this number would be a little higher. Regardless of how many will be made, one thing is for sure: chopping the roof off just about any car really grabs your attention. But there are some US states and other regions where a windscreen is an absolute necessity unless you want your $1.83-million car to be impounded. Enter the McLaren Elva in roadster flavor.
Disappointingly, adding a windscreen back to this makes it look far less dramatic, but what did we expect? There's also a weight penalty to take note of. The screenless Elva is McLaren's lightest-ever road car, but adding the glass and its carbon fiber surround that bugs can be squished by also adds roughly 44 pounds to the curb weight. Nevertheless, with 803 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque from the familiar 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, the added weight will hardly be noticeable, although you will notice that you no longer need to carry a toothbrush with you to rid your mouth of splattered bees and butterflies. Then again, most buyers will notice nothing as these Elvas are all likely destined for a cozy garage and will rarely if ever see a public road.
McLaren provides few details on the roadster version of the Elva beyond the obvious power figures, but the Woking-based manufacturer does say that the slight weight increase includes not just the structure of the windscreen (which is heated), but also the rain-sensing wipers, washer jets, and sun visors. Since there's no need for it, the Active Air Management System, which directs air above the cabin, has been deleted. McLaren gives no word on how much this version of the car will cost or how many will be made but does say that the total production run will still be 149 units. The screenless Elva is certainly getting rarer and more valuable by the day, but does this modification prove that open speedsters are pointless? Perhaps, but we still enjoy looking at them while the fad lasts.