McLaren Special Operations hit up Twitter to show a version of its new Ultimate Series speedster, christened with the full name of Elva M1A Theme by MSO. The Elva takes its design cues from the M1A race car that Bruce McLaren developed for sports car racing in the 1960s. McLaren first entered his black #4 racer in the 1964 Canadian Grand Prix and put everyone on notice; the M1A equaled the lap record at Mosport Park four times and broke the record seven times. As buyers lined up, McLaren commissioned English firm Elva to build replicas for privateers. Although the historic M1A was an advance on the McLaren’s “Jolly Green Giant” Cooper-Oldsmobile, the M1A inaugurated the McLaren lineage that would soon dominate sports car racing. This modern Elva M1A goes about as far as it can to channel its inspiration, adopting the black exterior and red seats of the original — but not the 4.5-liter Oldsmobile engine.
Instead of painting the speedster black, MSO took the much better option of coating the carbon fiber bodywork in clearcoat. The only touches of paint are the silver slash and red pinstripe running front to back, splitting into a low runner along the sills, and the white roundel with the race number. We’re not sure what’s going on with the wheels, though — they’re the same design as those on the Elva that launched in November, but in mirror image. The other big splash of color appears on the seats, topped with crimson Alcantara.
MSO didn’t mention any limitations on this theme, so it’s possible there could be more than one among the 399-unit Elva production run; Bruce McLaren built three works versions of the original M1A, and Elva produced 24 customer cars. And yes, the historic car was powered by an all-aluminum 3.5-liter Oldsmobile V8 that Traco bored out to 4.5 liters, producing 310 horsepower breathing through four Weber carbs. Oldsmobile not being an option anymore, the Elva homage goes with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 804 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, which helps ensure buyers get their $1.69 million worth.