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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What a summer! The Spider is here, the Mega Mac is on the way. But what of our humble 12C coupe - the embattled carbon soldier that paved the way for this global conquest? Still doing so, I should say. Yes, the discussion is now dominated by opinions about residuals. And non-swipe doors, or the odd remaining teething issue here, and there. But will history care about any of that? I was 10 years old when I saw my first Ferrari. Probably smelt it, too, running rich as they were. I remember the moment clear as day. So, who is writing for the kids, or the fans? For those searching for any vicarious fix and indeed any answer to the ever-nagging thought - what is it like to own and drive a McLaren? I'll try...

It is ethereal. Utterly so - but I will get to that in a minute. There is an analogy that needs exploring, first. Remember the first time you drove an automobile? Not necessarily a sports car, but the first time you literally put hand to shift lever and foot to clutch. What sensation, this! You'd already imagined how it would feel, through hours of studying Dad's gear-changes from the passenger seat, watching his every move, feeling the car react underneath you. Yes, you'd known you were a "petrol-head", a "car guy" for years already, anxiously waiting for the day when the car would respond to your own meticulous gestures. For Dad was good, but you could do better - inside you knew it, no question. So, now here you are! But what are these linkages I'm feeling? Of course! How could I not realize that the parts beneath the gear lever and pedals, the parts attached all the way from the steering wheel to the very rolling wheels at each corner - they are all connected! And, in an instant, something that was seemingly so familiar was exploded - like a supernova - into a world of new possibilities. The known became unknown, again, and you changed that day, didn't you. This car, this object of our species' creation, it is so much more than I thought!

That is what it is like, the McLaren. It takes your inputs and throws them in the face of your predilections. It says simply Yes I am aware that you were expecting something familiar and relatively relaxing for your brain to consume, but we have more exciting topics to cover today. Like the older kid on your block that beckoned, "meet me after school, we'll blow this joint and I'll show you some things you've only heard about." Indeed, the first few weeks will be spent running in the motor, the next few after that spent exploring the redline. What does 8500 RPM feel like on a twin turbo V8? Well, you have to clarify - do you have a seamless shift gearbox at your disposal, or not? If you do, then this may be your orientation, like Neo seeing the Matrix for the first time. Because seamless gear shifts mean that the boost never drops off. See? Things have changed, now. When you change up a gear, the car accelerates harder.

When you come to mental grips with that, you'll start exploring the subsequent dimensions of your new reality. Cornering, for example. Be prepared to have your conventional assumptions dusted, yet again. The body will not roll. You can drive it in deep and yank the wheel, or take it in fast and smooth to load it up, but the car will turn and mock you with its flat-ness. Even when you get the Brake Steer working, the nose tucking in impossibly further the faster you go, it will resolutely refuse to tip you towards the outer two wheels. And, of course, your brain flip flops at the idea. This opens up new possibilities...

If, up to this point, it all sounds a bit cerebral, then we are on the same page. There is no denying it, this McLaren is foremost an assembly of technologies. Technologies that must be experienced and understood - in fact, several times over - before the true intentions of their collaborative use can be realized. But there will come a day, for every 12C owner, I am certain, when the revelation will be every bit as strong and life-changing as that first time behind the wheel, as a child. It happened to me the day that I felt, as you naturally do with any vehicle that you drive often, as "one with the car". Because, to get to that feeling in the McLaren means that your brain has finally adapted to the new sensations. Your nervous system has been re-programmed and your communication with the car is now autonomous. You will know when it happens because you will feel like you and the car can do anything. Like you are riding a dragon in a mythical world of unlimited potential. Like I said, it's ethereal. The only downside is that is also precisely the moment when driving your other cars will suddenly feel one-demensional. But such is the casualty of a paradigm shift.

So, at 8 months and 7500 km, that is what it felt like, for me. This post will gradually make its way down the list of threads, superseded by newer thoughts and musings, perhaps some more about residuals, until it is gone and forgotten forever. But this Internet is a pretty neat technology itself, isn't it? Maybe one day, a long time from now, a search query will cause a resurfacing. What was it like, I wonder, for those first 12C owners when McLaren started selling cars...

This is my account. I'd love to hear yours.
 

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Kudos on an awesome post--the love, the passion, & respect all clearly evident.

This is why, gentlemen, we drive--McLaren should not forget that there are men and women who have MANY choices on which to spend time, energy, and currency.

The brand should begin a campaign to show that they are aware of these passionpistionheads--to ignore, would be at McLaren's peril...
 

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It happened for me last Sunday.

The next door neighbours 11 year old boy is a complete petrol head......sits in his Dad's car practising gear changes, steering through chicanes and planting the throttle in preparation for his driving test in 5 or 6 years time. Time to be co-pilot in a Mclaren.

It was a warm and dry 28c as we left home early to avoid the Sunday Car Boot Sale wanderers ambling along.

We drove along my favourite twisty country road, no traffic, disregarding Government guidelines on speed, noise and emissions. We reached 8 mpg, says it all.

At the end of the run I could not tell you what gear, what speed or much else other than everything just gelled...........best run to date after 7000 miles........high revs and noisy with lots of air brake........my petrol head co- pilot not missing anything with total recall.

We both returned home in awe for different reasons and with different stories , he to tell his Dad and school mates he had hit 140mph in a Mclaren, me to tell my wife WE owned a bargain super car, she knows I cannot tell a lie.
 

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Lots of stuff about how the 12C was conceived as an 'and' car. For me, 3,500 miles in, I think it's a 'still' car.
She still makes me stop and stare when I catch a glimpse of her from a distance whenever she's parked.
She still makes me pinch myself she's mine.
She still feels like an occasion to drive
She still feels special at 2000rpm in 7th
She still makes me stop and just look at her before getting in
I'm still not bored of the attention and sharing her with drooling petrolheads
I'm still doing my bit to inspire the next generation and hooning whenever I see kids
She still inspires a sense of reverence and savour when I first close the door before firing up
On the road, each time I think I've acclimatised myself to the pace and then I hook it up and nail it she still takes me breath away
I'm still nowhere near the cars handling limits and I still love that
I still don't care about depreciation
I still don't mind Doris hasn't become Iris
I still wouldn't buy a 458.;)
 

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brotherharry. Your not still wearing a dog-collar are you? Like the post.......still don't care about depreciation sums it up........Sunday donations must be good!
 

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What was it about this weekend??
Its not often that you come across anything worthy in this part of the country,mostly superbikes that give up after a couple of miles (twisty B roads) and the odd exotic that dosent want to embarress itself.
But this sunday,pulling into the B road infront of me,a current GT3RS.This was going to be memorable provided he wanted to play.
I must say over the next 10 miles he played right on his limit,just about wagging his tail around every tight bend.
I drive my car very hard most of the time,but apart from the obvious sensations of speed and grip and my preivous cars on the same stretch of tamac its difficult to judge where you are compared to other top end cars,WOW my eyes were truely opened.The guy infront was honestly on the limit (as he professed to be latter on).Whereas i could sit behind watching his abilities,pulling level on straights,and even having to back off on some corners.I have no doubt that had the roles been reversed i would have been some way up the road ,it was akin to a cat playing with a mouse!!!
I am also aware on a track with the same driver it would have been alot closer.
After said 10 miles,he indicated into a layby and we discussed the last few minutes,he was in awe of the fact that he had been on his limit,but that the car behind was so composed.I did give him his dues in the fact that we both knew the road and i backed off for him on a couple of dips that i knew would have taken his front end off,and where i could have easily sailed past.
He did have the last laugh in the fact that my car had about 500 stones embedded in the venture shield,thank goodness for this self healing stuff.And we both agreed that any Italian would have been too wide or too tail happy to not have had to give up 9 miles ago.
So the conclusion to all this for me is that there is no car on the planet that could keep up on a british twisty road,not by a long chalk.
Oh,its 8000miles now!
 

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brotherharry. Your not still wearing a dog-collar are you? Like the post.......still don't care about depreciation sums it up........Sunday donations must be good!
The church of fast cars is an expensive one, but rewards the faithful.
 

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I am STILL blown away every time I do Decker/Latigo better/quicker than last time. It's been a LONG time since I'd finish a canyon and realize I had the shakes!

And I've gotten to the point where I don't even play with other cars any more. Now I hunt sport bikes. I can often win/tie in a straight line... ...if we're in a canyon I just flat blow by them.

And then, I'm still blown away when it gets 30mpg during my relaxed drive home while cranking Underworld on the Meridian... Sublime!
 

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mmmm Underworld, good but a bit sparse for my taste.
If you fancy something a bit more symphonic check out Hybrid's album Wide Angle
 

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It's all there. Passion, the beauty of physics, machine as an extension of man. A tool that is also art. Inspiring, 6E, you are a true enthusiast. Thank you.

Coincidentally I'm heading to the Lake Forest dealer tomorrow for some prelim spec and 12C admiration.

I'm thinking ceramic brakes, graphite gray, super light silver wheels, orange calipers, stealth, minimal carbon except mirrors and engine bay. The lighter the better. :)
 

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