Published on September 30th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair


McLaren Elva Production Reduced From 399 to 249 and now 149

McLaren Automotive really can’t catch a break. Earlier this month, it was reported that the company was looking to sell (and then lease back) its Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey. But there was already some signs of bad times a-coming much earlier this year. Back in May, the company cut over 1,200 jobs across many of their divisions.

A month before that, McLaren explained that one of their upcoming ‘Ultimate’ Series cars, the Elva, would have its production numbers cut to be more ‘exclusive’. When first announced, it was said that they would make 399 of these roofless hypercars. But then when April came around, they used the excuse that their clientele wanted the car to be more exclusive than that, so they dropped 150 potential sales from their final figure.

Looking back, it doesn’t quite make sense that McLaren Automotive would willingly give up over 37% of their total sales unless they were already having trouble filling up order books. Well, it looks like trouble with finding buyers for this US$1.7 million hypercar has reached a new peak.

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That was more or less confirmed when they issued a press release on their new ‘McLaren Advanced Visualiser’ (a digital configurator for their cars). In this press release, the company states that no more than 149 McLaren Elvas will be produced. That makes it one of the rarest cars from McLaren Automotive, only behind the Speedtail, which only had 106 examples made.

The official reasons why the final production number has been dropped are related to supply or production line limitation. After all, McLaren are now 1200 employees down, so making this ultra rare machine will be a bit of a challenge.


The latest car in the Ultimate Series, the McLaren Elva follows the McLaren P1TM, McLaren Senna and McLaren Speedtail in delivering a unique experience – in this case the purest expression yet of open-air driving pleasure.

Developing and finalising the exact specification of each Elva is an integral part of the purchase process, with customers assigned an MSO Bespoke Liaison Manager and Visualisation Specialist to assist them. The new McLaren Advanced Visualiser (MAV) is a key technology in bringing to life ideas and concepts as ultra-high-quality virtual images that show a customer what proposed design themes would look like in a finished car. 

Created by McLaren from software originally designed for gaming purposes, the MAV uses ultra-HD resolution rendering to display individual Elva elements and then combine them to create a full specification, with near-immediate visualisation of the result. The system also allows rapid and accurate demonstration of how different colour combinations radically change the Elva’s appearance.

The MAV’s level of functionality and detail enables customers to open and close doors in virtual reality to get inside the car and experiment with different interior features, from seat colours and materials to finishes and stitching. Aerodynamic elements can also be closely examined, and the visualiser even allows users to look under the bodywork to discover more about the Elva’s suspension and brakes.

The range of exotic materials carefully curated for Elva customers by McLaren’s design team and MSO can also be showcased with ease. Notable amongst these is Ultrafabrics®, a durable, lightweight and weather-resistant material that draws inspiration from high-end performance materials used in private jets and luxury yachts. Soft coverings can be embellished with reflective micro-piping to create unique flourishes of light in the dark, while on harder surfaces, carbon fibres and precious metals can be used individually or combined to spectacular effect, as pioneered on the McLaren Speedtail.

To further inspire customers by shaping existing visions and seeding new ideas, McLaren’s design team has released two new Elva design concepts, Timeless and Explore. Each includes a range of visual themes, incorporated into the MAV programme, to generate ideas and prompt discussion.

The themes in Explore evoke the spirit of adventure expressed by Elva ownership; Magma, for example, suggests the power of a molten lava in a Satin Azores and Satin Memphis Red Velocity blend of exterior colours, a look that continues inside with Caviar Black Ultrafabrics® to create an unapologetically dramatic appearance.

Timeless, meanwhile, focuses on the sense of history encapsulated in the Elva’s design, balanced by a fascination with the future. The laid-back Urbane combination of Liquid Alloy Gloss exterior paint and Cortado Tan Enhanced Full Aniline leather interior is one of the themes, visually suggesting elegance coupled with relentless performance.

Those customers looking to re-create an iconic McLaren racing livery may also be inspired by the MSO M1A and M6A themes – an homage to Bruce McLaren’s legendary race cars. The M1A Elva theme features a Magnesium Silver racing stripe that sweeps along the sills, runs around the front splitter and up over the hood, accompanied by an Accent Red pinstripe and completed by Bruce McLaren’s iconic number 4 racing graphic. A fitting tribute to the fastest car at the 1964 Canadian Sports Car Grand Prix.

Alternatively, the MSO M6A replicates the McLaren Can-Am icon of 1967 in its external paint scheme. Anniversary Orange recalls the moment this legendary racing color was adopted, and is adorned with a Dove Grey stripe, McLaren Cars decal and Bruce McLaren’s signature in blue, as well as his race number 4. Full Satin carbon fiber bodywork and 10-spoke Diamond cut wheels seal an edgy 21st century effect.

McLaren has also confirmed that with the production shutdown experienced during the global Covid-19 pandemic that no more than 149 Elva’s will now be built, given the limited production slots available on the recently re-opened line and compromised availability of parts. This will make it one of the most exclusive McLaren’s ever produced – second only to the Speedtail – and help to protect the investment of customers in this unique car.

More information on the Timeless & Explore inspiration Guide is available on the website:

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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