McLaren’s meteoric rise back into the supercar prominence came as a result of a disruption of the norm. The MP4-12C stepped in to face established competitors from others such as Ferrari, and squared off against the Italians heroically.
The brand’s second true road car was a sort of start-up for McLaren Automotive as a legitimate manufacturer of full-production supercars, following on the technology and inspiration of the F1 road car. If it didn’t win over the public, there’s a good chance McLaren wouldn’t have stood over time.
But McLaren was bold, they made a statement and they delivered on it. As a result, McLaren now stands as an elite competitor in the ultimate supercar contest.
McLaren Philadelphia has been putting the surging mindset of McLaren Automotive into practice at the Pennsylvania Concours sponsored by Ferrari for several years. By name, it’s an event that has no place for McLaren. But it was also believed that there was no place for new competitors of Ferrari. McLaren insisted on nudging its way into the picture anyway.
The dealership eased its way into the scene, bringing a 12C Spider, 650S Spider and 570S in successive years. With the increased accessibility of the 570S in 2016, it was expected that it would be the returning representative for the McLaren brand. And it was.
But not alone.
The inventory of McLaren Philadelphia had plenty of gems to pick from, with possibly its crown jewel being the McLaren P1 in the rare, purple-in-the-right-light color called Amethyst Black. With only about 400 miles on the clock, the car had seen very little sunlight. That didn’t exactly change at the Pennsylvania Concours in 2016, but not for the lack of trying.
The P1 was trucked out to the Ferrari-dominated event at the Reading Country Club, where it touched down in the rain before being ushered into the protective cover of a white tent – aside from the Ferraris, of course. The sparkle of violet went unnoticed in overcast conditions, but the P1 made its presence felt among the Prancing Horses, of which there was no notable competitor. Even during the noon-time revving in honor of former show organizer Pietro Castiglioni, the broadcasting voice on the public address system noted that the dominant exhaust notes came from the McLaren tent. The quartz-inspired jewel of a P1 then posed afterward for glamor shots in front of the iconic castle-style clubhouse at Reading.
Aside from the British marque was a more familiar feature of the Ferrari-sponsored show. With Maserati’s long sisterhood with Ferrari, there was always a brand heritage of passion that existed across its line. The GranTurismo and Quattroporte had a V8 sourced with help from Ferrari, as well as styling from the same Italian design house, Pininfarina.
The GranTurismo, in MC trim, has all the appropriate spice of Ferrari, from its exhaust note to its carbon fiber-laced exterior, but still maintains the luxury and drivability of Maserati’s regular tourers. Alongside the Quattroporte, the pair represented the present state of the brand from Maserati of The Main Line. The future of Maserati is, however, the Levante.
The Maserati Levante SUV was on loan from corporate headquarters, making its local public event debut in a perfectly Italian setting. It was open to exploring for event-goers, with some being buyers already and others being interested prospects.
The interest came as a result of disrupting the norm, and setting a new one. Maserati’s Italian roots fit perfectly into the landscape of a Ferrari concours, but its new SUV is both unfamiliar and intriguing.
As for McLaren, well this is the sort of thing they’ve been doing since coming back onto the scene in 2011.