McLaren didn’t just find success in Can-Am racing — between 1967 and 1971, the organization dominated the series so thoroughly that it came to be known as the “Bruce and Denny Show” after team founder/driver/mechanical mastermind Bruce McLaren and driver Denny Hulme. So it’s fitting that McLaren is paying tribute to one of the greatest teams of one of motorsport’s greatest eras with a limited-edition vehicle: The 2016 650S Can-Am. Just 50 will be made.
Before we dive into what sets this car apart from your typical 650S Spider, we’ll get the obvious questions out of the way: No, it does not come equipped with velocity stacks. No, it it does not come in classic McLaren orange (but we’re sure if you asked really, really nicely…). And no, it is not powered by a small-block Chevy V8 like the M-cars of Can-Am legend.
McLaren-Chevrolet M1B at the 2014 Goodwood Revival.
The engine and transmission mirror those of the regular 650S: a 3.8-liter, 641 hp, 500 lb-ft twin-turbo V8 and seven-speed dual-clutch. But the Can-Am also gets a carbon-fiber retractable hardtop, which McLaren says is a first for the company, and there’s lots of carbon everywhere else — including the unpainted hood. The black five-spoke forge alloy wheels are said to be inspired by the racing four-spokes of yore, and yeah, we can kind of see it. Brakes are carbon-ceramics. Quad stainless steel exhausts poke out the rear, just below the adjustable rear wing.
And the colors? There’s the Mars red shown here, onyx black and something called papaya spark, “a modern and heavily metallic take on the famous Can-Am racing McLaren orange.” Hmm. McLaren will add period-inspired livery to your car if you desire.
This isn’t the first special-edition McLaren to come out of Woking recently; previously, we saw the 650S Le Mans and the 675LT. The 2016 650S Can-Am comes out spring of next year, just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its namesake series (never mind that Team Surtees took the trophy that year).
Again, just 50 will be made — and even at $334,500 plus an unspecified destination fee, you might want to get that order in sooner rather than later.