Gallery: Europe in a 207mph McLaren 12C
Paul Horrell continues our world tour with the only continent that can lay claim to the supercar title…
Posted: 18 Apr 2013
Anyway, this remains mostly a European freehold. America’s deep-seated pragmatism means it isn’t really interested in making supercars. The way they see it, if the new Corvette Stingray can deliver so much for £40k-odd, why pay more? It’s no coincidence the phrase ‘bang for your buck’ is denominated in US currency. This is a country built on migration, where social mobility is a touchstone, and that’s reflected in their attitude to carmakers: the first Viper came from a manufacturer with no relevant genes, but still it was welcomed as a superhero. And if its engine hadn’t been large and mounted in the front, then it would have been castigated as subversively un-American.
And Japan? It has an ancient imperial past, but, from the post-war years to the Eighties, it was a nation of extraordinary cohesion. That put haughty and exclusive supercars off the common agenda. As the country developed its technological leadership in the Eighties, though, eventually a few companies figured they’d bring the might of their boffinry to bear on a candidacy for the supercar club. So were born the NSX and the GT-R and now the LFA. But they came up against the usual snobbery. People said they were too digital, not soulful enough. It was actually just a way of saying they were merely a Honda and a Nissan and a Lexus, so they had no right to be there.