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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

McLaren's! Hot Wheels McLaren P1 and Matchbox Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

One of the most awesome, and unused, castings would be the McLaren.  Every time one is made, it's limited and in Mattel's terms disappears quickly.  Strict licensing agreement?  Possibly, considering the precision that McLaren is accustomed to when it comes to racing.  Still they do allow castings to be made in diecast, as shown by these two.  However, the Matchbox SLR has a brief life thanks to a licensing disagreement with Mattel and Mercedes-Benz.  Either way it was a good opportunity to pull the SLR out with the newest Hot Wheels McLaren, the P1.

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From SLR to P1

McLaren has been more focused on racing than production vehicles, as evident of brief runs with the F1 supercar in the 1990's and the SLR teamed up with Mercedes-Benz.  The initial concept started in 1999 with the SLR coupe and then followed by an SLR roadster a year later.  No one predicted this car was going into production, more like a styling exercise of the 2002 SL500 (which did use the SLR's design cues), yet in 2004 that's exactly what happened.  The SLR draws inspiration from the SLR road racing cars of the 1950's, right down to the pointed snout with the integrated 3-star logo and quad headlights to the outside of grille vents.  The lower bumper has more cooling ducts and foglights.  The long hood, which opens forward, has the famed hood scoops, side fender scoops to extract heat, and the novelty side exhaust right below the side scoops.  The short rear-end has wrap-around taillights with a silver LED strip for the brake lights inside and a rear spoiler that pops up at speed and also doubles as an air brake.  The doors open upward at an angle to reveal the SL-like interior with brushed aluminum accents and red and black two-tone seats, if equipped.  With the two-tone color setup, you can see some of that styling was evolved in the SLR's successor, the SLS-AMG.   The body uses carbon reinforced plastic ti curb weight to an already heavy car (3,858 Ib's), and is powered by the 5.4L Supercharged DOHC V8 that produces 617 hp. and 580 Ib-ft. of torque through a 5-speed automatic with three shift modes over a dual-clutch setup.  0-60 takes 3.4 seconds.  Production ran from 2003 to 2010.

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At the end of production of the SLR it was time for McLaren to make a move and start their own road-going track machines.  The first was the MP4-12C, a mid-engine sports car designed to go after the Ferrari 458 Italia.  Problem was the styling was boring and the fun factor was not as impressive as the 458, so the car was updated to the 650S, using the same styling elements of the flagship P1, a superhybrid sports car.  The styling is gorgeously-smooth and tuned for aerodynamics:  The front headlights curve with the shape of the cooling ducts, masked by the blacked-out central bumper.  The sides have cutouts for the front extractor and rear inlet scoops, nicely masked off and barely visible.  The roof has a seamless spine with integrated engine scoop to the rear flared fenders.  It's out back where the LED taillight bar outlines the opening where the engine, silver central exhaust, and rear spoiler strut are free to breathe.  Speaking of rear spoiler it deploys at speed when in use and hides nicely along the rear fenders when not in use.  Like the 650S, the interior is bare at a minimum with carbon fiber dashboard with supportive seats using a 5-point racing harness.  The dashboard only has three air vents, a central touch screen, and a 3-spoke wheel, flat-bottomed, with paddle shifters behind and a digital racing-style gauges just ahead, and just like the SLR forward-angled opening doors.  The carbon fiber structure uses adaptive suspension tuning to tune the car towards specific track feel and allow the car to raise itself to clear speed bumps, all covered in an ultra-smooth undercarriage.  The engine is a 3.8L twin-turbocharged DOHC V8 paired to an electric motor attached to the side of the engine by a chain, produces an additional 176 hp and 192 Ib-ft. of torque bringing total output to 903 hp. and 722 Ib-ft. of torque through the rear wheels by a 7-speed dual clutch transmission.  With only 3,411 Ib's of weight to move it is one super fast car that, oddly enough, can also be driven on the streets quietly in electric mode for 19 miles.  It's super fast, super efficient, and very nice to look at!

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The limited Matchbox SLR

This casting was introduced in 2009 in silver, followed by a black recolor, and that's it!  Thanks to an licensing disagreement we have not seen much of this car.  The details are nice, from the detailed headlights to the finely-combed grille, 3-point star, and lower grille.  The sides also show the crosshatch scoops and exhausts that are part of the smooth base.  Door outlines for the swing-open doors are perfectly outline.  While the rear has the detailed taillights, lower grill, and spoiler outline, and the silver paint has a blue tint similar to the first release of the Matchbox Bentley Continental GT.  The interior has the correct seats, console, and dashboard layout even though the actual car does not show much.  The 10-spoke wheels look good on this car, though my tester has a somewhat loose base that moves around a little bit.  Performance feel of this casting is more akin to a GT sports car than a true exotic.  So while its a cool limited piece, it's not a huge deal for me.

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The sexy Mclaren P1

Now the P1 on the other hand amazes me with its metallic orange paint showing off those glorious curves.  The front has the detailed headlights that surround the scoops and bumper that is part of the lower base.  The sides show off the scoops (the inner panel is part of the interior piece), hood scoops, and the smooth roofline with integral intake scoop.  The rear has the rounded corners with the taillight surround, black paint for the vented panel, and silver exhaust tip; lower diffuser panel, and the spoiler which Hot Wheels decided to leave in the up position.  The 10-spoke wheels in dark gray finish off the sleek and sexy look of this casting.  Amazing!  The base is lack of details, the interior piece shows off the correct dash and seat layout, and while the engine bay is detailed it is barely visible and hard-to-see in the slim and tinted back window (similar problem found in the LaFerrari).  Performance feel is smooth, fast, tight, and all-around what a hyper supercar should feel like.

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While most will be hunting down for the Matchbox SLR Mclaren, i'll focus on the variations of the P1 just as long as it stays this clean and good-looking!

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