By Angus Frazer
This story originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.
From the timeless to the technologically fantastic, we have selected the very best in automobile innovation. Highlighting the classic cars that created a legend, alongside the latest offerings on the road that will turn heads, our rundown of top cars is sure to inspire those in the market for a new ride.
New Zealander Bruce McLaren won the 1959 US Grand Prix for Cooper at 22 and formed his own racing team four years later. Following Bruce’s death testing at the Goodwood Motor Circuit in 1970, the team continued, winning its first of eight Formula 1 Constructor’s World Championship in 1974, and securing the Drivers’ title 12 times for the likes of James Hunt, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Lewis Hamilton. McLaren launched its first production road car, the F1, in 1992. Returning to road car production in 2009, it now offers a wide variety of high performance coupe and spiders. mclaren.com
In 1988 McLaren could do no wrong, winning 15 out of 16 Grand Prix races. So when the team’s executives dreamed up the idea of building a road car, it was obviously going to be something very special indeed. Four years later the 243mph, 627bhp, 6.1-liter, V12 mid-engined, three-seat, carbon-fiber chassis McLaren F1 arrived. It set supercar standards that many rivals still struggle to surpass a quarter of a century later. Just 64 pure road car versions were produced, and if you want one today you will probably have to spend at least $10m. But you do get a gold leaf-lined engine bay.
The clue, as they say, is in the name. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 720PS 4.0-liter V8 engine, McLaren’s new 720S musters — yes, you’ve got it — 720PS. With a 212mph top speed and the ability to accelerate to 124mph in a mere 7.8 seconds, performance is eye-watering and matched only by the sheer sense of driving involvement provided by the carbon fiber chassis. And if the standard $268,677 720S isn’t extreme enough for you, then the McLaren Special Operations division will happily create something bespoke, as this MSO 720S Velocity model, which costs around $431,481, illustrates.