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McLaren Elva honours first orange McLaren

Another Ultimate Series one-off, now paying homage to the M6a Can-Am racer

By Matt Bird / Thursday, March 26, 2020

Orange is very quickly becoming a colour as synonymous with McLaren as red is with Ferrari and silver is with Mercedes. Look to those cars for sale and everything from a £65k 12C to a million-pound P1 can be had in McLaren Orange, Ventura Orange, Papaya Spark or similar. Obviously the Formula 1 cars carry it as well, and four of the F1 LMs were painted in you-know-what.

It's a significant colour for McLaren, then, so much so that this latest one-off Elva - don't be surprised if more are to follow - celebrates the first orange car from the brand. Normally that might be a bit naff, but given the first orange McLaren was the M6a, it sounds a little less like gratuitous nostalgia.

Why? Because the M6a was the car that began McLaren's incredible Can-Am domination. Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme went to Road America in September 1967, each driving an M6A competitively for the first time; McLaren put his car on pole and Hulme won the race. They followed that up with a double one-two at Bridgehampton and Mosport. McLaren himself won at Laguna Seca and Riverside, meaning John Surtees was the only driver not in an M6A to win in the 1967 Can-Am season. McLaren had announced itself to the world of motorsport, beating Lola, Ferrari, and Chaparral along the way, and it had done so in a McLaren Orange M6A. The team then went on to dominate Can-Am for five seasons in more orange cars. So there's your link.

This Elva is in fact painted Anniversary Orange, a new colour specifically for the car. Indeed McLaren goes as far as to say that the Elva is "more than a homage", since it "replicates that Can-Am slaying icon of 1967 in every detail of its external paint scheme." A build by McLaren Special Operations, it follows the M1a Theme in harking back to the sports car racing past that the Elva's design aims to emulate. We look forward to the Ueno Clinic, Harrods and Fina themes in due course...

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