McLaren P1 Wags Its Tail Goodbye

A swan song for the vaunted hypercar, and a tribute to the man who made it possible.

It’s been called “possibly the most exciting road car ever built,” and today the McLaren P1’s glorious run ends. At the start, the company said only 375 of these 903-horsepower, million-dollar-plus hybrid supercars would be produced. Now the last of them has rolled off the assembly line at the Woking headquarters in England. We’ve had a chance to spend some time around these cars and have felt privileged just to sniff the interiors.

Decades hence, the P1 will stand near the top of the automobiles that defined our here and now, along with the other two hybrid supercars of today—Porsche’s 918 and Ferrari’s LaFerrari. But McLaren’s not done yet. With the end of P1 production, the company will now begin an even more exclusive and more powerful car: the P1 GTR, a non-street-legal track version named for the McLaren F1 GTR that won Le Mans in 1995. We’ll take two!

As we say farewell the departing P1, there is one man for whom thanks is due. Bruce McLaren, founder of the company, was born in New Zealand in 1937 and suffered a bone disease as a child. His first races on wheels were in a wheelchair, competing with other kids in a home for the disabled. He went on to become a champion driver and engineer. His ambition was unlimited, but not even he could have imagined that his name would someday, over 40 years after his death (he was killed testing a race car in 1970) grace such a beautiful machine as the P1.

McLaren’s most often quoted line: “To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one’s ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”

Let’s hope the company that bears his name keeps those achievements coming.