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Hooniverse Asks- Could McLaren Trump Ferrari in the Status Symbol War?

Robert Emslie March 7, 2014 Hooniverse Asks 34 Comments

Ferrari vs McLaren

For many, Ferrari is autodom’s most venerated and aspirational marque. Oh sure there’s Rolls Royce, but that’s more popular with the driven-around set than those who prefer to DIY it. Ferrari has done everything they can to have kept their mystique alive, including limiting production numbers and maintaining an aura around the brand, even to the point of enraging potential buyers, that pretty much all other makers envy. But could they be toppled by an upstart company from Great Britain?

McLaren of course has already secured its road car bona fides with the F1, a limited-production no holds barred super car from the nineties that was for a time the quickest road car on the planet. Very few have had the opportunity to sample that amazing performance realization in the metal, but the marque has now brought a pair of cars to series production – the MP4-12C and P1 – that are considered by many to be Ferrari rivals, in perhaps everything but that mystique.

But could they capture that title as well? Could McLaren topple Ferrari as the ultimate dream of every teenage boy and girl, and the unparalleled expression of social and financial obtainment? What do you think, could McLaren trump Ferrari in the status symbol war?

Images: e90 Posts, TheRichest

  • Van_Sarockin

    This is the single, most useless question I've heard in a very long time. Stop trying to crowd Tiger Beat and TMZ.

  • desertfox
  • nanoop

    No. McL is for technophiles. Otoh, even Barbie has a….

    <img src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516SBvPAh7L.jpg&quot; width="300">

  • They already have in my book. Mostly because I have never held Ferrari in high esteem.

    • Sjalabais

      I agree. I have never managed to understand the appeal of Ferrari, and have voiced my lack of understanding somewhere else recently. McLaren seems at least to have a consistent philosophy.

      Anyway…who cares in the real world?


    Until the P1 came out, I would have said definitely not. McLarens have always been a little fiddly and almost…nerdy for the general public to really take to. Ferrari has always had a lot more passion. But the P1 is really turning that image around. A couple years back I got most of my non-car friends watching Top Gear just because it's a really funny show, so they are exposed to most of the new cars that debut. They didn't give a fart in a high wind about the MP4-12C, thought it was boring. But they can't stop talking about the P1. Every single one of them has commented to me about how frickin cool they think the P1 is, whuch NEVER happens, with any car. They talk about it way more than the LaFerrari, the 818, or pretty much any other car. So I think McLaren really might be turning their image around with the general populace, and maybe generating more excitement than Ferrari.

  • OA5599

    Kind of a toss up. I'm not going to run out today to buy a McLaren. I'll wait until the ashtrays get dirty in the Ferrari.

    • nanoop

      Do you smoke?

      • SSurfer321

        No, but Ferrari's do

        • Scandinavian Flick ★
        • nanoop

          If my F-car filled its ashtray with its own ashes… it's indeed about time to get something else.

          • Sjalabais

            There's poetry hidden somewhere in this sentence.

  • HSA❄

    Frankly, I couldn't care less, but there is an answer.
    We know it has happened when MiMicLarens outnumber Fauxerraris.

    • Vairship

      But… there aren't enough Fieros and MR2s left!

      • HSA❄

        There will always be Beetles.
        <img src="http://hooniverse.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/March-Hare-650×431.jpg&quot; width="325">

        • Manic_King

          Air-cooled sewing machine and 300- width tires. Nice. Rims are OK but there's not many Beetles in the whole world one could fit these wheels. Just one potential question to the enthusiast who built it: why?
          I've never met any kit-car owners so I've got no idea what they're like. Leopard print shirt? Probably not all but makes me wonder.

  • The only correct answer is "Whatever."
    I care about this like I care about whether One Direction or Justin Bieber is more popular with teenyboppers.

    Now, I personally *LIKE* McLarens much more. The new 650S Spyder is pretty freakin' hot, while the F430 Scuderia was the last Ferrari that possessed even a modicum of allure for me. But which nameplate carries more equity with society as a whole? Couldn't care less. I'd take some funky homebuilt 2-stroke Locost Seven over either one without a second thought.

  • I Think Not

    Suspending reality for a moment, let's say that I'm a multibillionaire who has already bought all of the interesting and obscure old metal he could possibly want, to the point that he's somehow gotten bored with it all and just wants an apeshit fast car for track days and nights on the town with Mrs. Multibillionaire.

    I seem to remember hearing anecdotally that one cannot buy a new Ferrari until one has purchased and loved a pre-owned Ferrari, regardless of availability or ones ability to pay. Ferrari apparently carefully curates its owner base.

    That alone makes me want to give my middle finger to the Prancing Horse and take my money to that relatively-young upstart from Britain. But even then, I think I'd want an old F1, not an alphabet-soup or a technophile P1, amazing as those vehicles may be.

    Allow me to illustrate the reason:

    <img src="http://media.caranddriver.com/images/11q1/384192/1994-mclaren-f1-pedals-photo-384584-s-1280×782.jpg&quot; width="700px">


    <img src="http://image.motortrend.com/f/roadtests/exotic/1203_2012_mclaren_mp4_12c_first_test/37187326/2012-McLaren-MP4-12C-pedals.jpg&quot; width="700px">

    • Just look at the original McLaren!

    • Scandinavian Flick ★

      I'll never get enough of seeing that F1 pedal setup. Such a thing of beauty. You can tell by the craftsmanship of that alone just how much thought and purpose went into the entire car. Those pedals are a primary point through which the driver interacts with the beast they pilot. I can practically feel it from here…

  • wisc47

    Well if it's any input, as far as modern cars go I prefer McLaren to Ferrari, but in general I just prefer older cars so the comparison to me is moot. A fast car is a fast car, though, and I wouldn't turn my nose up at either a MP4-12C or a 458 if one were offered to me, but if I got the choice I'd take the McLarry. Now, if I were offered the monetary value of one instead you would likely to see a Lancia Delta Integrale, Moto Guzzi, Alfa Romeo 4C (I need at least one new car, guys) and Ferrari 512BB in my imaginary garage, because that's just how I roll.

    What was the question?

  • Hard to say. Does either company have a racing pedigree?

  • Scandinavian Flick ★

    Damn, some people up in this thread are pretty vocally insistent about how much they do not care. Which in itself… is kinda ironic….

    That said, I honestly don't think the MP3-12… whatever it's called, has enough road presence to present the status symbol image. I live in an area that is very status oriented and see plenty of each on a daily basis in nice weather. Ferraris continue to be noticeable to me, as in, I actually see them. The MP$-12¢ makes me think, "oh, hey, it's one of those", after doing a somewhat dismissive double take.

    I dunno. McLaren is knida new to the higher production supercar market. They need some more models to gain the market saturation to get on the same level as Ferrari and Lamborghini. But frankly, I would prefer that they didn't.

  • Felis_Concolor

    How many cars does McLaren bring to road tests?

  • Buickboy92

    No and nor do I want McLaren to.

  • Maymar

    Admittedly, most discussions of wealth just lead me to thinking Rage Against The Machine was probably onto something, so I'm not really prone to caring about what rich people think about the things they buy, or the rich people themselves unless they've produced something tangible and good. I'm probably not the most valid person to consult on this.

    That said, Ferrari had a captivating ambitious bastard figure in Enzo, someone to lend an air of mythical to the company, something the more clinical McLaren doesn't really have. Also, Ferrari makes a shooting brake, so there's that.

    • Rover1

      And McLaren had the Bruce and Denny show in Can Am before moving into Formula 1, and Enzo didn't die in a high speed car testing crash like Bruce McLaren did. Arguably Ferrari has a stronger history of bending the rules and competing without winning than McLaren. McLaren has a pretty compelling backstory as well.

  • Rover1

    Ferrari will only trump McLaren if they have to detune their production model and then win Le Mans with it, filling 4 of the first 5 places. Oh and it's now too late for them to do it with their first production model. And too late for them to take a five year old car, and set a normally aspirated production car top speed record that holds for twenty plus years ( it is still current ! ). And too late for them to make a car that doesn't depreciate at all from new.
    People that really know cars already know that McLaren trumps the Italian marketeer of all things red.
    The late great Paul Frere amongst them<img src="http://www.elperiodicodelmotor.com/imgp/2003/06/06/bdepmc579.jpg"width="500"&gt;