Monday, April 23, 2018

McLaren in the wild.

It was probably coming back from Santana Row, and if I'd seem it there I wouldn't have even given it a second look. They are at every car show. I see them ~all~ the time. But seeing it in the wild made it better.


  1. Capital of Texas RefugeeTuesday, April 24, 2018 5:35:00 PM

    So many McLarens that I seen have that color scheme, and I think I know why.

    You can walk into a McLaren dealership and they'll tell you about all of the custom options you can get, but I think that if you want one right then, you'll wind up with one that looks like the test drive vehicle or the one that's on the dealership's showroom floor.

    So I'm guessing from the lack of a vehicle number plate on the back that this is someone who didn't want to wait for McLaren to produce the custom body panels and colors that you can order for a personalized model ...

    Now if you happen to see a dandelion yellow McLaren P1 GTR, I want to see photos. :-)

  2. Come to think of it.... orange has shown up on the blog a bunch. The closest I got to an off-color was green P1. The P1's are still pretty in any color.

  3. I remember that McLaren won't let you buy the P1 GTR until you buy a P1 first ...

    That's why the dandelion yellow P1 GTR is like finding that last Pokemon.

    Should you be that lucky, I want to see photos. :-)

  4. uh -uh! Are you sure that it isn't just that people who have already bought McLarens get preferential treatment and are in line first? Or is that really a rule?

  5. Capital of Texas RefugeeThursday, April 26, 2018 10:55:00 PM

    Ultimate Pokemon time: McLaren ultimate series -- P1™ GTR.

    "Available only to McLaren P1™ owners, production of the track-focused GTR began upon completion of the 375th and final road car."

    That's really a rule -- you have to buy a P1 before you can buy a P1 GTR.

    I know of at least one of these in the US that's been licensed for road use, so although it's "track-focused", there are people who can actually drive these on the road. I'm pretty sure you can't drive one on the roads in England as delivered because you'll cause the local constabulary's Subaru WRXs to melt down if they ever have to chase you. :-)

    You can probably find a lightly used one for around $3.5 million or so.

  6. Capital of Texas RefugeeThursday, April 26, 2018 11:19:00 PM

    While we're on the subject of English cars ...

    I'm seriously thinking about retiring to an island eventually (no joke, hence the B&B idea) where I won't really get the benefit of something with huge horsepower -- that'd most likely put me off a cliff, into a ditch, or over something even worse.

    Despite Caterham never winning any racing events, they're a plucky little car maker Straight Out Of Surrey:

    Caterham Seven 270 SV S-Pack

    I know what you're thinking: my god, that crazy Texan likes an actual affordable car!

    But what's incredibly nice is that Caterham has as a focus of its business selling cars that are available in kit form, meaning that you can buy this as a partly assembled kit and then do the rest in a conveniently stocked garage if you're into that sort of thing.

    If you are the kind of person who built a Grand National (or simply wished you had) when that was the big kit car splurge, then this is the small version that would be fun to tool around in on an island where more horsepower isn't going to work to the advantage of your continued survival.

    Also, a 1.6 litre Ford engine in something that light is in practice an absolute beast -- I've been in amusement park bumper cars that weigh more than the Caterham Sevens. In a place where the high temperature peaks at a comfortable 80 degrees Fahrenheit and tends to stay around there year-round, I won't need air conditioning as much as a really good razor so I can remove the rest of the hair from my already semi-bald head for "purely aerodynamic purposes". :-)

    The Dynamic Trio of old Top Gear drove some Caterham Sevens, but I think they had the "R-Pack" versions, and it showed: bugs, road grit, filth, and damage to corrective eyewear are the inevitable result of driving any of those on a rainy day.

    I drove a Caterham Seven once on a visit to Victoria, British Columbia and thought it would be very good in an environment with much less everyday moistness ...

  7. Oh man. I hope you have a good roll bar. Those light peppy cars can really do unexpected things in rain. The commuter car is a Pontiac Solstice and I literally won't let it be driven in the rain because while making a right turn once - the tail end completely lost traction and all of a sudden I was sideways in the road heading towards a curb. I was able to correct which sling shotted me 180 degrees towards the curb in the median. I managed to avoid both curbs and luckily the light was red at the time - so I was the only one in the road at that moment. But I vividly remember thinking if I was stopped at that light and saw that whole scenario I would have been really impressed because I don't even know how I got out of that without chunking that car.

    Get those kit cars while you can. The come in waves and tend not to stick around for long. This is my favorite kit car I thought they were going to take off for a while there and there was even a dealership in my town. But it looks like they have all but vanished.

  8. Capital of Texas RefugeeFriday, April 27, 2018 6:42:00 PM

    Did you ever watch the old TV show "The Prisoner", the one with Patrick McGoohan in it?

    Have some fun with this: "The Prisoner" 1967 introduction to final episode.

    There's a lovely little "village" built by a slightly eccentric classical architect in Wales where most of this was filmed, and they have a nice little hotel where they're also nice enough to come pick you up from the nearest railway station as a courtesy. They even put up with me as a vegetarian for a few days back when I became one as a New Millennium dare.

    If you have a long vacation coming and a few thousand pounds burning in your pocket that you'd like to spend on a vacation unlike any other, especially if you're into odd mishmashes of classical and traditional architecture, I highly recommend it, but expect the hotel rates to be comparable to Claridge's in London rather than Travelodge. :-)

    Anyway, the Caterham Seven is an evolution of the old Lotus Seven that was in that TV show, and it's been in production for over fifty years. I'm not at risk of that particular kit car going out of production anytime soon.

    But the closest dealership for a left-side drive vehicle is in Fort Worth, and as for a right-side drive vehicle, I'd have to get one exported from the UK. What I'd also expect to need to do is to buy a second complete unassembled spare because of the remoteness of parts and service, and so this would be a bit of a challenge because it's a kit car that I'd have to maintain almost entirely myself.

    There's an "R-Pack" for racing that includes safety harnesses, extra roll bars, and so forth, and I'd like to get a hybrid of that with the "S-Pack", but I don't know if that can be done, whether you have to order both packs and figure out how to do the hybrid yourself, and so forth.

    The 270 is by no means the fastest or most nimble of the Sevens -- that model is actually mid-range and tops out at what you'd expect from a mid-range vehicle these days. I don't expect I'd be able to drive flat out for more than a mile where it's most likely going, and even then it'd be on slightly twisty roads, so it's somewhat unlikely I'd be able to get it up to the top speed of 122 mph.

    They also tended to overheat in traffic, which Caterham has mostly fixed, but the solution was to drive one where there isn't any.

    But can you imagine how glorious it would be to tool around somewhere like Bridgetown, Barbados in one of these? It's a fifty year old car that someone still makes.

    Number Six says: "Be seeing you ..." :-)