McLaren, one of the most famous names in the motoring world, will soon open its sole New Zealand dealership in Auckland, selling road-going supercars.
The outlet comes almost 50 years to the month in 1963 when Auckland-born race driver and engineer Bruce McLaren founded the Formula One construction company.
The all-new operation will also be the 50th McLaren dealership in the world since McLaren Automotive, the road-going arm of the company based outside of London, unveiled supercars the F1 in 1998 and the MP4-12C in 2011.
Jan McLaren, who runs the Auckland-based McLaren Trust dedicated to her late brother’s memory, said from a motorsport get-together in Holland: “It (the dealership) is so exciting, especially as it’s the 50th anniversary year.”
Motor industry identity Sir Colin Giltrap’s company, the multi-brand Giltrap Group, has the McLaren franchise for New Zealand. Sir Colin wasn’t available for comment.
International distributor Sime Derby reportedly chased the NZ rights, but those in the industry say Sir Colin’s case was helped by his long-time involvement with the McLaren Trust.
Sime Derby handles McLaren in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Kuala Lumpur. In Australia, McLaren is handled by Sydney’s Trivett group, the country’s largest prestige distributor.
The McLaren outlet will be at 19 Great North Rd, next door to luxury brand Lexus, in the inner city. Work is underway on the building for the upcoming opening. The showroom floor will be laid with tiles from the UK carrying the McLaren logo.
On show will be the MP4-12C coupe and flop-top Spider, both built around a carbon-fibre tub and powered by a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 delivering 460kW and 600Nm to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
They are likely to be joined at some stage by the hybrid P1 flagship, a petrol-electric flyer based largely on the MP4-12C but delivering 673kW/900Nm.
• Bruce McLaren died in Britain in June, 1970, when he lost control of the CanAm sports racer he was testing on the Goodwood circuit. A rear section of the car fell off at high speed. The McLaren company is the most successful in Formula One and is second only to Ferrari in terms of length of involvement in the sport. It also had countless successes in CanAm racing in North America.