Having owned four McLarens in a row, we catch up with SCD member Luke about his love of the brand and his fourth car in a row from Woking, the outrageous 765LT.
Where does your passion for cars come from?
From a young age really. I had an F40 on my wall when I was younger, and even though I thought I would never have any sort of supercar, I always jokingly said I would have a Ferrari by the time I was 30. I didn’t quite manage that and I’m still a long way off an F40, but I did have a couple of R8s and McLarens in my 20s.
My first car was a 1994 Ford Mondeo diesel in burgundy — a 17-year-old’s dream car… not! It was given to me by my dad when I passed my test, I put some alloy wheels on it, took the tape deck out and put a CD player in it, but it didn’t last long as I worked and worked to save up to buy a Golf GT TDI which I had for about two years.
After a couple of fastish diesel and petrol cars, I moved on to a Focus RS, and after that, I got myself a two-year-old red GT-R for my 23rd birthday in 2011. I don’t know if it’s classed as a supercar, but it felt like one to me; I loved it, put a stage 2 tune on and it kept pace with things two, three or four times the price. After I sold the GT-R, I had three Audi R8s, and it was when I had my third, a red 2014 V10 Plus, that I joined SCD in 2015.
I was very happy with the R8, and if I hadn’t joined SCD, I probably wouldn’t have changed it so quickly, but you go to all the events and see a whole array of different cars and it gets you wanting something bigger and better all the time — such a bad influence! In 2016, I bought my first McLaren, a 12C, and haven’t had a different brand since.
How did you get so into McLaren?
I was always a keen F1 fan and McLaren always won when I was young, and apart from the F1, they never made a production road car until the 12C in 2011, although I never thought I’d be in the league to afford one. It was a pure mistake why I eventually got into owning one though. I never liked the 12C when I came out as I thought it was ugly, but in late 2015, I drove one at a dealership in Harrogate and fell in love. It was fast, very fast compared to my R8 at the time, and it had the dihedral doors which made it feel even more special If I hadn’t driven one, I probably wouldn’t have bought one as I was still unsure about the looks, but after driving one, I was hooked!
I thought about it, and in January 2016, the dealership found me a great spec, low-mileage car and I took the plunge. It set me back £101,000 and I tried my hardest to get the extra £1,000 off, but they wouldn’t budge! I owned it for about eight months before selling it back to the same dealership for £108,000. It was the only McLaren I’ve ever made money on!
After the 12C, I moved onto a 2015 650S in Tarocco Orange which was a big step up from the 12C in terms of ride and performance, but it still lacked sound even though it had a sports exhaust. I test drove a 458 while I had a 650S, and in my opinion, the 650S was just an all- round better car. They were the same price at the time, and although the McLaren didn’t have the noise of the Ferrari, everything else was better in my opinion. After owning that for around 18 months, I sold it to another SCD member and I bought a 675LT from McLaren Manchester.
The 675 was a big step up for me, not only in monetary value, but in performance as well. It had a better sound to it with the pops and bangs, but on the day it was delivered, it decided to drop all of its oil out onto the floor, so it was here for about two hours before a truck came to take it back to Manchester. It was like giving your child an ice cream and taking it back off them before they could taste it! It turned out someone didn’t tighten the oil filter up which was a bit poor, but it was fixed and I got well looked after so I couldn’t moan too much.
Once it came back, I fell in love with it. The sound, looks and performance were brilliant, but in 2019 I sold it on. I was disappointed when I did sell it but, I got a half-decent price for it so I made the decision to let it go. I was without a supercar for a while as I knew the 765 was due sometime in 2020 but not sure exactly when. This turned out not to be a bad thing as Covid hit in early 2020 and I don’t think I would have got much use out of one when you combine that with an extension to the house and a lockdown baby.
Overall, McLaren ownership up to selling the 675 had been good. I have a good relationship with McLaren Manchester, and even though Leeds has since opened up closer, Manchester have always looked after me. Like all cars, I have had a couple of issues, but they have always been sorted quickly and efficiently.
Why the 765LT?
I was told about the LT version of the 720S when I purchased the 675 in spring 2018. Nobody knew anything about it or what it would be like, but I put my letter of interest in at the same time and didn’t really think much about it.
I was then invited to buy one from Manchester and they offered me the first one into their dealership. I agreed, and after the car was released, I was invited to Manchester in June 2020 to see the car and spec it whilst I was there. I was never a massive fan of the 720S, but like the 12C, I warmed to it over a period of time. When the 765 was released though, I was a fan straight away, not so much of the front, but the rear of the car was what drew me to it.
I didn’t really look seriously at anything else apart from a Huracan Performante, but with the chance to get such an early car, I thought I would bite the bullet and go for the 765, so I locked in my spec, it arrived just before New Year and I registered it on 1st January 2021.
Tell us about the spec.
I didn’t go too mad on the spec, but like my last two McLarens, I went for orange even though I was very nearly swayed by a light blue colour. I do like the orange and black colour combination as it shows off the lines and shapes of the car. I specced the P1 bucket seats as I’m not a fan of the Senna seats since I personally find them uncomfortable after a period of
time driving, and with me wanting to do a European tour in this car. I thought the slightly more comfortable seats would be the better bet. Apart from a couple of carbon packs and carrying on the orange seatbelt theme from the 675, I stopped with the options there. I do wish I’d specced the carbon front splitter and rear diffuser, but it was £12k and they are made from carbon anyway, so it was purely aesthetic. The roof scoop was something I looked at as well, but that was £30k!
What is it like to drive?
I have only done 650 miles in it up to now as the weather hasn’t been too great, so I am waiting until I can give it a proper go to get a better idea of how it is. Up to now though, it seems like it has so much to give. The pick up is instant and the turbo whistle on full throttle is amazing.
The pops and bangs on the downshifts are like a gun going off and I think that will get better the more miles I put on it. The handling feels similar to the 675 but I haven’t driven it too hard so far, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it can do. It is very tail happy and spins up in low gears; it’s quite controllable but you certainly have to think about it.
Whilst I haven’t done many miles so far, it hasn’t missed a beat. There are a couple of silly things that should have been picked up on in the pre- delivery inspection from the factory and the dealer, but hopefully they will be getting sorted soon as it doesn’t affect the car. I don’t daily the car, but if you had to, it would be capable of it as it’s very comfortable considering what it is.
How does it compare to the 675?
In comparison to the 675, I find the 765 more comfortable on the road but not as easy to drive. In my opinion, like in the 675, you need the traction control in at least dynamic to get the most out of the power delivery as it cuts power too easily, but then I have only driven it on cold roads so far. When in dynamic, the tail end is very happy so I imagine it will be a handful when I have more of an experiment with it fully off on track.
The performance is leaps and bounds above the 675 but I wouldn’t say that’s to much of an advantage. The 675 was more usable under full power but the 765 keeps you on your toes a lot more, which can be a good thing at times, but you just have to respect it. It is just as noisy in the cabin as the 675 with road noise from the stripped back interior, but you can hold a conversation no problem, albeit with slightly raised voices.
I think if you compare the 765 to other cars of similar spec, it is good value for money, but I honestly believe the 675 is amazing value for money at the price point they are at now. If I had the opportunity, I’d love to own both cars as they offer such a different driving experience, but that’s just not possible at this point in time.
Any plans with the car?
I’m hoping to do a European tour next year and will be attending SCD events this year. I have a couple of track days booked and hopefully they will be able to go ahead to give me a proper experience of the 765 on a track.
Is it a keeper?
It’s too early to tell. I’d like to think I will keep it for a few years as it’s the first supercar I have ever bought new. I hope it doesn’t drop in price like other cars do, but let’s be honest, none of us buy new cars as good investments. If we made decisions when buying cars like we do in business, we would never buy new.
This feature was taken from issue 39 of the SCD magazine, you can get your own copy using the button below.